We get a lot of requests from companies of all sizes looking to “rebrand.” These requests can range from changing some colors and messaging, to completely overhauling a brand and website to address a new market or opportunity where the current brand identity may not be sufficient to address emerging corporate goals.
Enterprises across all industries face a lot of tough questions when deciding on the degree of their rebrand. Is the logo in play? Should the company consider a name change? Is there a mascot or other brand element that drives the culture? Have they gotten as far as they can with the current brand? Are there situations whereby they want to enter a new market and their current brand can actually be detrimental to future success?
To answer these questions we combine insights from both inside and outside the corporate walls, as well as the competitive environment and external market factors to define a path forward that helps them achieve their future corporate goals while addressing different budgetary requirements.
Sometimes there are brand elements that are so ingrained in the culture that tough decisions emerge. A great example was the first time we were asked to rebrand Sourcefire. Sourcefire rose to fame with the commercialization of its open source intrusion detection software product Snort in the 2000s. The product included a massive community of loyal and dedicated supporters who were passionate about Snort and its technical capabilities. They helped the company grow in terms of revenues and fame, and were closely aligned with the company’s mascot Snorty the Pig.
Snorty the pig was always associated with the brand, and all marketing materials including an annual calendar were very popular across the IT security community.
They engaged the Bluetext team to drive legitimacy for the company and brand as they looked to diversify their revenue base into Government. This was a new audience and there was a feeling that the Snort Pig mascot and company attitude would not play well. Following a thorough discovery process our recommendation was to tone down Snorty without eliminating him from their marketing efforts. Our goal was to present the brand as more stable and conservative. The results were tremendous. When they came back to us three years later to rebrand again, Snorty was playing a significantly less prominent role but they continued to leverage the pig in ways to embrace the old while expanding into new markets. The rest for Sourcefire is history as they were sold for $2.7 billion to Cisco in 2013.
The lessons learned from Sourcefire are quite valuable. Many factors need to be assessed to measure the value of your brand equity with your current and prospective customers, including search equity, brand equity and association, and name recognition. If your current customers are loyal and you are in a position of strength with them, but you need help entering a new market, they should understand the reasons for the rebrand and what it means to them without disrupting their relationship with you.
As brands mature, what has gotten them to one point may not be the best path to get to the next level. Many factors should be addressed. Weigh the pros and cons, and don’t make judgments based on gut. Look at the market, assess the opportunity, and make sure to give your brand the best chance at long term success. While you may be succeeding in many categories, it is possible that you have to take a step back in order to move forward. Here are six questions that must be answered when embarking on a “rebrand” effort:
1. How will this rebrand impact current customers?
2. Have you taken this brand as far as it can go?
3. How will your current brand play with prospective customers in new or adjacent markets?
4. Have you thoroughly analyzed the market to see what the outside world thinks about our brand and market positioning?
5. Are you positioning around how customers search for and consume products or services, or how you internally orient your business?
6. Do you want to zag if all of your competitors zig?
A rebrand effort can come in many shapes and sizes. Make sure you do a thorough assessment of your needs and growth opportunities, as it is critical to never disrupt your business as you embrace the market through a rebranding effort.