We all like to be paid attention to. We like to be praised, appreciated and complimented. The length of our robe of humility doesn’t matter, we want to be seen. We desire to be known in a particular way; as the tech bro or sis, the rich aunty, the fire-brand Christian, the slay mama or even the faithful Yoruba man (even though we know that’s a myth 😂). We do all we can to project this image of ourselves into people’s minds daily.
That’s Branding and while this process might be unconscious to most of us, the most impactful businesses in the world take it very seriously.
Here is a practical example; What is the slowest mobile network in Nigeria? That didn’t take you two minutes to answer because that is the image you have of that network. The network company in question didn’t plan it that way but it is what it is. However, that could be fixed.
As humans, when we notice that the image we want to portray isn’t what it is giving (pardon the Gen Z slang), we try new tricks. This could be by using a new cologne or changing hairstyles or even being nice to the coworker we loathe. In business, that is called a Rebrand. A company or business knows it’s time for a rebrand when;
Every business exists to satisfy a specific need and that need is not theirs but of the general populace. The losses start to count if a business fails to fulfil that need. Do you remember the rage during the BlackBerry Age? ‘Everyone’ owned or desired one. It was a status symbol. You asked for a BB pin then sent a ping after. What’s left of that is nostalgia. Android phones came with cheaper data options and became commonplace while iPhones and Galaxy smartphones became the options for high-end users.
It is important for a business to know if its customers’ needs are still being met, if their preferences have changed, if products/services still appeal to them and if any developmental changes are required.
According to the MTN Group Executive for Marketing, Bernice Samuels, part of the reasons for MTN’s brand refresh was born out of the need to remain relevant in spite of evolving customer needs “We are living in a completely different world. We were born into an analogue era and our customers today live in the social and digital space”. MTN’s new look is a shift from its familiar yellow, white and red italics text and blue oval to just the letters M-T-N in a black oval with the signature yellow background.
Let’s say at the start of your business, you made only footwear and the name of your company was “The Footwear Experts” with the logo being a foot in sandals. It worked for you and you made massive sales. Five years down the line, your offerings have changed. You’ve started making and selling leather belts, bags, wallets, gloves, and even hats. Out with the old, in with the new. Your business name and its components can no longer accommodate your business growth. There is, therefore, a need for a rebrand!
Apple Computer Inc. rebranded to Apple Inc. in 1997 and changed its logo. With the removal of “Computer” from the brand name, there was no limit to what the company could specialize in. Since then, the iPad, iPhone, iPod and many more have been created.
We know of only one Nike and we know of only one Adidas, though they are both sports companies, you wouldn’t mistake one for the other. That is because each is easily identifiable. It’s a problem if other companies bear a similar name to yours. Your customers would be confused and would be unable to determine who you are exactly and what you offer.
This was the case with Kudi, a financial technology company that had a similar name with Kuda, a Nigerian digital bank. This identity closeness continually caused confusion amongst users. In April 2019, The company’s VP, Brand Marketing and Communications, Toluwani Ijogun promoted the rebranding from Kudi to Nomba because “I felt our name was too close to another fintech in the country and people started mistaking us for that other company although we had been around for a lot longer. When I came on board, I realized the brand was ready to expand and make a lot of noise about things and it would really have been unfortunate to spend a lot of money on a brand that would be mistaken for another brand because we would only have been adding equity to that other band and not differentiate ourselves”
See this as a marriage; a coming together and joining of two individuals. That’s how it works in a merger as each company ceases to be a separate unit but come together to form an entity. These changes may be announced with a rebrand to let people know that certain changes have taken place.
Access Bank did this after it acquired and merged with Diamond Bank in December 2018. The icons of each bank was merged together to form what is currently in use. The corporate design, marketing materials and other brand assets were changed.
With the numerous technological advancement across the world, any company that snoozes will lose. There was a time people only read newspapers but now people get news from social media platforms. That’s why these newspaper companies have also levelled up and now have websites that people can read from. Nobody wants to interact with a stuck-up company so a rebrand would inform customers that “Hey, we are also moving with the times. We are not stranded, we are always fresh for you”.
In 2015, Union Bank rebranded with one motive – “to depict a more contemporary and energetic institution”, this was after the massive influx of new-generation banks. The first significant change was the logo. The former logo had the stallion neighing and standing still while the new logo has the stallion in motion. The logo’s shade of blue was lightened and the tagline changed from ‘Big Strong, Reliable” to “Your Simpler and Smarter Bank”. All these changes signify the adaptation to technology and the move from a dull bank to an interesting, progressive bank for the millennial and Gen Z markets.
A rebrand is a big task but it’s possible and should be done only by a professional branding agency. It is like coating a car or a building with fresh paint. While this will make it more desirable, careful thought must be made so the company does not lose the brand recognition it already has.
If and when done right, a rebrand would open your business up to bigger opportunities – your existing customers will be pleased, you will attract new customers, and your services/products will be better showcased because you now have a more relatable and defined identity.