How to Evolve Your Brand and Ignite Growth in 2020
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How to Evolve Your Brand and Ignite Growth in 2020

November 26, 2019

Looking to evolve your brand in 2020? Start by building a strong insights foundation for great strategy work.

A woman standing in front of a red wall

For many consumers, the word “rebrand” might as well mean “new logo.” It’s something companies do every so often so they don’t look trapped in a previous decade. 

The truth, as we know, is much more complicated. Sure, a new logo can start to tell the story of who the brand is. But as the marketplace changes, as new competitors pop up and customers’ needs and expectations grow more complicated, brands must create new ways to stay relevant. They must evolve. And that’s what a rebrand is all about. The goal isn’t just to look more modern. The goal is to understand what can be done to make sure your brand becomes (or remains) essential to the people you want to reach.

Therefore, the challenge for marketers looking to develop a great rebranding strategy is to figure out how your brand can build an authentic and electric connection with your customers, both current and future. And that starts with better understanding two things: 1. Your position in the marketplace, and 2. Your customers’ opinions and motivations. Put another way, you need to build a strong insights foundation for great strategy work. Not an easy task, but we’re here to help. Kelton’s brand strategy consulting division — Salt Branding — specializes in using insights to reposition brands and reengineer how they creatively express themselves in the marketplace. 

In this post, we’ll tap into their expertise and cover some of the research methodologies you can use to build a strategy that reinvigorates your brand. 

How to approach your 2020 rebranding strategy 

  1. Master your category 

Before you can reposition your brand for success in your given category, you need to understand consumers’ current motivations, perceptions, and habits within that category. And while there are a number of different qualitative market research methodologies you could use to tackle such an investigation, Online Smart Communities provide a number of distinct advantages. Digital environments designed to encourage rich discussion, they enable you to interact with respondents across geographies, and they make it easy to track how viewpoints evolve over time.

Even better, Online Smart Communities allow you to deploy highly creative exercises to probe for the insights that will inform your 2020 rebrand. Some examples include:

  • My Philosophy: Participants articulate their “philosophy” on issues related to your business in a confessional-style video that expresses their deepest values, hopes, and desires.
  • Love Letter: Participants write a love letter (or a break-up letter!) to a brand in your category, using culturally resonant “romantic” language to generate an emotional portrait of the relationship: where it started, how it evolved, what’s satisfying, what’s frustrating, and whether they might want to “cheat” with a competitor. 

These exercises, combined with the more traditional modes of discussion that Online Smart Communities support, will give you the knowledge you need about how consumers engage with brands in your category — and how your brand can differentiate itself.

  1. Turn your discoveries into opportunities

The next step in the process is Quantitative Analysis — AKA, building on what you’ve already learned by fielding a custom survey to a large sample. In part, this survey should use the broader themes you’ve gathered from your Online Smart Communities to test and measure needs and opportunities. For the sake of example, let’s say a meal kit startup has identified that consumers are looking for more customization, and in response, the company comes up with several ideas for “mix and match” offerings. To test how effective such an approach might be, they could include a question in their questionnaire that asks, “How important is it that you get to select different recipes to combine for each meal?” 

Your survey should also be designed to accomplish the following:

  • Identify perceptions of your brand as well as competitors to shed light on what you own today and which whitespaces you may want to claim in the future. 
  • Profile current customers, lapsed customers, and non-customers to understand purchase motivations and barriers.
  • Test appeal of key brand narratives to consider and understand which resonates best with different audience types. 
  1. Illuminate the way forward  

With survey results in hand, you should have a much better idea of where your brand stands in the marketplace. However, the insights you’ve gathered must be shared across your organization before they can be turned into an actionable rebranding strategy. After all, true brand evolution means every department must evolve — not just marketing. 

To make this happen, we recommend working with your research team to create a Brand Evolution Guidebook — a final report that presents an insights-driven story in a concise, compelling manner. Depending on the exact nature of your research, elements of your guidebook could include:

  • Competitive Brand Attribute Mapping: Summary maps that show the relative strengths of your company’s brand vs. competitor brands. These maps provide an effective overview of the category landscape as a whole to help stakeholders understand what you already own, and which whitespace you may want to claim.
  • Profiles: Straight-forward profiles of demographics, mindsets, category interest/barriers, and affinities to understand who are you current, lapsed, and non-customer/user audiences. Which group can you attract and what will it take to win them over? 

Armed with such information, stakeholders across your organization will better understand the specific action they must take to reinvigorate the brand. In other words, they’ll have a clearer picture of what the brand wants to be and what it wants to say. 

The heart of your rebranding strategy

Evolution doesn’t happen in a vacuum —  it occurs in response to changing landscape. And if your brand doesn’t understand that landscape, you’ll be moving forward blindly. 

Looking for more ways to evolve your brand in 2020? Learn how to create a value proposition like the world’s biggest brands.

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