When is it time to rebrand?
- If people can’t remember the name of your business it may be time to rebrand.
- If people can’t spell the URL for your website, it may be time to rebrand.
- If people recall your name and not the name of your business, it may be time to rebrand.
- If people start to think of you in connection with one product more than the one you started with, then it may be time to rebrand.
- If the market is disrupted and your business becomes passe, it may be time to rebrand.
There are other reasons.
Mergers. Acquisitions. Legal hassles. Reinvention of a product line. To apply new technology. To update the graphic representation of the company.
All those are valid. But the difference from that first list is in the viewer. Those first five reasons are all from the viewpoint of the client or customer. They might be asking you to change to build a better communications stream. It is all about them.
Your prospects, customers or clients are the heroes of the story.
Brand happens whether you like it or not. If you believe as I do that brand is the sum of all your interactions with a prospect, client or customer and an expression of their trust in you then you must pay attention to the signals they send.
I learned the hard way.
When I opened my consulting practice in 1990 I incorporated under the name Z-axis Marketing, Inc. like most entrepreneurs I didn’t research the company name. I just jumped in. Bad move.
I was slow to learn that people just couldn’t remember the name. Then one day a client and friend told me he couldn’t remember the URL for my website when he was trying to do a referral. That got my attention. But I didn’t do anything about it immediately. I took the time to investigate what other independent professionals did.
A basic rule.
I found that independent professional brands are locked to personal names. Over time the name may be shortened to just the last name of the founder/owner. Or if it is a partnership or ensemble the shortening may be to the first two names on the masthead or the first letters of the names. Examples abound:
- From the world of fashion: DKNY (which is Donna Karan New York)
- From the world of consulting: Ernst & Young
- From advertising: JWT (J Walter Thompson)
This is particularly true for small firms and start-ups. In initial phases of a business, the reputation of the founder(s) is what will lead the way to client acquisition.
These days when I’m asked to introduce myself at a networking gathering or even in response to the question, “What do you do?” Here’s how I respond:
“I’m Jerry Fletcher, the Brand Poobah.
You know how people are always telling you that you gotta have a brand to be successful?
What I do is work with independent professionals to craft a unique trust-based brand to build a business, a career and a life of joy.
I’ve found unforgettable brands for 127 independent professionals at last count.”
Now my name is a part of all my brands. All? Yes. I began speaking in 1993. The topic I selected was Networking. I became the Networking Ninja. By then, I was smart enough to know that my name had to be part of the brand.
Fast forward to this year and you can see how the logo has changed.
But another change is coming. Over the last two years I’ve been asked about Brand more than ever before. Google Trends shows me that interest in brand far outweighs interest in social networking and has done so over the last 4 years.
That is why you’ll begin seeing this logo. And why I’ve been blogging about Brand now for two years.
Are you ready to brand anew?
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.