It is no secret that the startup world is tough. Some speculate that 8 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 18 months, while others believe the number is closer to 90 percent. Surprisingly, many businesses normally don’t fail because of poor products. Instead, they fail because they don’t communicate the company’s value clearly and consistently to the right audiences.
For instance, Apple was once nearly bankrupt but is now one of the most recognizable brands in the world and the men’s cologne brand, Old Spice, produced ads and online campaigns that made it a viral sensation. These examples demonstrate that with the right rebranding techniques, entrepreneurs might be able to save their business.
Keep in mind, a successful rebranding campaign requires more than just a new logo and tagline. Rebranding involves crafting a new story and communicating a vision that inspires customers and partners to see the company in a more relevant way.
If you are having trouble getting starting, below is a list of best practices on how to revive a brand:
Assess strengths and weaknesses. To move forward, sometimes it’s best to take a step back and honestly evaluate a company’s strengths and weaknesses. It is vital to understand what makes your business different and better than the competition. Companies that identify and demonstrate differentiation will better communicate that value to the market.
Reevaluate the target market. Rarely will a company introduce an offering that perfectly fits its original target segment. The product may need to be changed slightly, or the company may be targeting the wrong type of customer. Companies should reevaluate target markets and segment customers based on perceived needs and requirements. Aligning client needs with the company’s capabilities is critical.
Determine how customers benefit: Simply describing a product’s capabilities and identifying a target market is not enough. Companies should spend the time to understand how customers will use the product or service. What type of experience will delight the customer? How will they learn about your offering? How will they use it? Whether selling lemonade on the corner or a new gizmo, it’s critical to envision how customers will interact with your brand.
Craft a compelling story. As the leader of a business, entrepreneurs are often comfortable telling the company’s story. It’s even more important to document that story so employees, partners and customers can tell the same story. Take the time to identify and document the most important aspects of the product and brand that are special.
Secure customer testimonials. The best advocates for any business are satisfied customers. Charts and figures alone won’t easily convince a skeptical buyer. Spend time nurturing customers and ask them for a testimonial or to be the subject of a video case study or press release. Having customers tell the world how much they love your product is invaluable.
Get employees on board. Once the story and vision are clearly defined, communicate it to employees. Provide them with simple tools such as cheat sheets, elevator pitches and slogans that make it easy for them to communicate what makes the brand great. Keep it simple. The easier it is for employees to tell your story, the more they will.
Build a content factory. It’s impossible to sell to all customers in the same way. Today, buyers are sometimes better educated about products than a firm’s own sales people. Technical buyers are especially well informed. Providing information in a format that buyers want to consume at every stage of the sales cycle is critical. Marketers need to create a variety of marketing collateral. The best way deliver meaningful content is to create a “content factory.” For each piece of collateral created, firms should leverage different versions of it in various formats that appeal to different buyers.
Communicate widely. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Amazon have changed the buying experience. Reaching an audience now means communicating widely. Take the first step and begin building followers by engaging in conversations about what is important to them. Customers don’t just want to hear about products all the time. Become a thought leader and trusted resource.
Be consistent. Reviving a brand is as much about consistency as it is about creativity. Once the company defines the brand and determines how to communicate it, the next step is to consistently communicate key messages.
Believe in the business. Believing is contagious. Embrace the company’s vision of the brand and target market. The more committed leadership is to the company’s view of the world, the more people will believe in the brand.
Starting a business takes commitment. To revive a brand and put the company back on the right track, take the time to assess strengths and weaknesses, understand the brand’s value to customers and communicate that story consistently.