As a business owner, are you thinking about rebranding your business to meet new challenges, embrace new ideas, or just refocus your current business? You’ve probably watched some brands go through this recently — IHOP, Dunkin’ Donuts, Facebook, and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese — and wondered if this might work to revitalize your business. But, should you rebrand, really?
Per the Cambridge Dictionary, “rebrand” means a company or organization works to change how the public sees it and/or its product. This move is both educational and informational for the public, so a process should be created and followed to ensure the correct vision is embraced vs. one that’s assumed.
Rebranding is more than just a simple renaming process. While renaming may have worked favorably for Facebook, keep in mind that just changing the name of your business may not be enough. It could also cause confusion of what your business or organization actually represents. The last thing you want to do is leave your audience scratching its head — especially those who are already favorable to your offerings.
Let’s review a few of the more recent rebranding efforts, both successful and unsuccessful.
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Boomerang, and other apps/services are now part of the Meta renaming venture. Did they add services? Yes, including Oculus, Spark AR, Shops, and others not yet defined or created. The biggest change, in our opinion, was the Meta Business Suite — perfect for managing posts and stories from either a mobile device or desktop/laptop. The concern is the creation of a “metaverse”, as has been the social media chatter, where that “universe” is undefined and could be anything. Interactivity, or augmented reality is a big part but could be easily confused with alternate reality, so do your research. Also, given the legal troubles Facebook has tried to steer clear of, it’s not clear if the rebranding was to avoid these issues vs. put all products under an umbrella to safeguard them and the parent company. Our vote: SUCCESS.
This brand briefly tried to rebrand to IHOb, or, International House Of Burgers, met with renowned disaster, then attempted to spin it off as a “just kidding” idea and went back to IHOP. Their first rebranding effort from International House of Pancakes to IHOP was a huge success, likely because public perception had already been using the acronym instead the name for years before the brand caught up. The IHOB fell on its face because the brand didn’t listen to public perception. Yes, people raved about the burgers, pasta, and other dishes that weren’t pancakes, but on the whole, their core product — pancakes — didn’t change, and the public didn’t embrace the change. Our vote: FAIL.
Around mid-2019 Dunkin’ Donuts rebranded to just Dunkin’. On its face the move seemed logical — their marketing slogan/campaign, “America runs on Dunkin’!” worked well for over a decade and was likely a test of the potential future rebrand. Their earnings fell in 2020, like many other businesses, but so far the company seems to be holding its own financially. So far the rebranding hasn’t taken a hit with its core audience; those loyalists continue to patronage Dunkin’. It does seem as though the brand wants to steer clear of what made it famous (donuts) and embrace new coffee crafts as it continues to take on Starbucks and similar rivals. The question is: can a younger audience discern what “Dunkin’” is? What is a customer “Dunkin’”? Our vote: SUCCESS (so far).
Kraft Mac & Cheese.
Yes, you read that right! Kraft Heinz Co. has made the decision to rebrand its iconic Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to just Kraft Mac & Cheese. The rebranding includes the coloring, font (typeface), and new logo to unveil a brand certain to warm anyone’s tummy. The new look will unveil in stores August 2022. Our vote: SUCCESS. Why? Kraft Heinz Co. didn’t change its core product, it just enhanced its appearance and went with an abbreviation that’s likely been used for decades.
Deciding to rebrand your business shouldn’t be taken with a cavalier approach; nor should you go with the “let’s-do-it-and-see-what-happens” mindset, either. Your branding decisions will influence your current and future audience either positively or negatively. Try to avoid analysis-paralysis when making your decision, but, be sure to take all aspects of your core product, company/organization and its employees, current market, and current and future consumers into consideration.
Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.
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