23 Feb The Repersonality
If I have one pet peeve in the marketing world, and we’re guilty of it here as well, it’s the use of the term “rebrand.” It’s akin to saying you can “repersonality” yourself. Is that really possible?
Unfortunately, the term brand has become synonymous with the change of an organization’s logo, colours, and general look. Though these are elements of a brand, they’re only a small part. As has been discussed in this blog many times, a brand is the collection of experiences, perceptions, thoughts, and images an individual associates with a particular organization. This collection is built over the duration of a relationship with the organization. You can’t simply change a logo and expect people to remember their experiences with you differently.
The true definition of rebrand then is to significantly overhaul how an organization is perceived by its stakeholders. This, however, would be a very daunting process. The entrenched nature of a brand is what makes it so valuable (or potentially so damaging). You can’t quickly remove from people’s minds what they think of you. It takes time. Air Canada can’t decide tomorrow it wants to be WestJet. It would take Air Canada years of procedural changes, hours of staff training, and millions of dollars to approach the type of customer experience that WestJet passengers have. The term “rebrand,” therefore, is one that should be dropped.
A more appropriate phrase could be brand modification or brand adjustment. Addressing what your office looks like to better suit the tastes of your client base or hiring to suit the level of experience your clients expect are manageable examples that can impact your brand. Those, too, will take time to be absorbed and understood by clients. New logos and brand colours are really modifications; such changes don’t amount to a rebrand.
So, my campaign to eliminate the term “rebrand” starts today. Brand management is a day-to-day, experience-to-experience process. Dropping “rebrand” may be mere semantics, but for organizations to truly understand the power of a brand, we need to start speaking about it in a way that doesn’t imply an overhaul with the snap of the fingers.