I had a client in real estate come to me once about re-branding all his design material to attract more potential condo buyers… when his units were already 75% sold. Re-branding corresponds to the creation of a new name, term, symbol, design or a combination of them for an established brand with the intention of developing a differentiated position in the mind of stakeholders and competitors. It baffled me, considering he wanted to change the look of the entire branding (logo, website, etc.) when it was nearing project completion for him. This, my friends, smells of indecisiveness and not knowing your own market or position as the brand from the beginning of your business venture. Even if you’ve been in the business for what seems like forever, you should always consider the impact of re-branding.
What’s problematic about this volte-face?
- You’re showing the clients who already bought from you that you don’t know what you’re doing and have no idea of the impact that re-branding will have on your customer base.
- You may make them uncomfortable about staying on in the end and they’ll turn to stronger competition.
- You’re showing potential clients who have interest in buying your units that you don’t know what you’re doing.
- You may make them uncomfortable about buying and they’ll turn to stronger competition.
- Okay, you might interest new clients with no prior insight with this new image, but is it worth it if you’re losing the ones who had interest prior to your image change?
These are some of the important questions you need to ask yourself on you re-branding journey.
Let’s keep in mind that the company I worked for hadn’t been using the same logo and imagery for years. This was after months and months of planning and blueprints and sales strategies. So why the sudden re-brand when things are going pretty swimmingly (à la Medium) since you’ve already sold quite a bit of your units which reinforces that what you were doing was probably pretty good? Why the shift?
The solution… be that as it may
So what did I do about this client? I strongly recommended not to make any drastic changes for the sake of their existing clientele and for the future of the condo building. Yet in the end, the manager still requested the changes. They were done, to the best of my ability, even with a strong re-recommendation that this was going to be confusing for their current and prospective clients. But they were confident. After all, who’s paying who?
In retrospect, I should have said no. Re-branding, all things considered, can be beneficial. However, re-branding can also be riskier than building upon the material you already have. Most major brands that have re-branded themselves usually kept much of the same elements that they’d had in the past, solidifying their roots while at the same time rejuvenating themselves.
The remaining 25% of the building still had trouble selling in the end. So then, the moral here is this: a drastic re-branding can be a great way for a company to attract a new kind of clientele, but too often comes a little too late, and with a tremendous impact. The solution would be to create a stronger branding presence from the beginning: understand your clientele from the beginning, and you’ll have fewer headaches along the way.