Are you getting the message across? Why it might be time to rebrand your business
Change is not something that's easy to adjust to. Many of us try to avoid it at all costs. But like it or not, the world is changing around us every day. Crucially for you and your business, that also means that more companies are entering the market, distracting your current and future customers away from your own hard-earned enterprise.
Communication, therefore, is key, and the most all-encompassing tool you have to speak to your customers is your brand. Strong branding is far more than just a stand-out logo. It covers everything from tone of voice to colour palettes, to an e-commerce website, to your customer service. And importantly for sustainable fashion brands - it includes your values.
Last year global research and insights consultancy, Kantar Consulting published their ‘Purpose-Led 2020’ report. According to the report, referenced by major companies around the world, brands with a high sense of purpose stand to grow twice the rate of ‘low-purpose brands’ or those without a ‘higher-order societal aim’. Simply put, if a brand has a strong mission statement and are taking the actions to back it up, they have more to gain.
"Understanding what it is about your reason for existence that is actually interesting to people and what it is that's going to drive people to interact with your brand and again, drive them to interact with it again and again." - Andrew Holder-Ross, Circus
Ethical and sustainable brands are in good stead to win based on this insight. Generally, their business will have been launched on the foundations of a strong mission statement – whether to tackle water pollution, unequal pay for female garment workers, to use vegan materials only in their manufacturing, etc. (we’ll let you, our fabulous members fill in the gaps with your own inspiring purpose). However, although you might be crystal clear on why you felt the market needed your product and what your business will contribute to this planet, communicating this to your current and future customers – and communicating it consistently – is a serious challenge for anyone in the business.
There are other pitfalls to avoid too. Two weeks ago, we had the privilege of hearing from Dare PR’s Jennifer Hakim, who shared fascinating insights into why it’s particularly difficult for truly ethical and sustainable brands to get their voices heard in an overcrowded market, particularly when greenwashing tactics from bigger brands are so rife. (Professional members can revisit this webinar if you missed the Live Q&A.)
A brand refresh might just be the boost your brand needs to get your messaging on track and ensure your brand is saying exactly what you want it to say, to the people it needs to say it to. Whether it’s a total aesthetic overhaul with a new logo, or just a few tweaks to your house style here and there, this blog post will help you to assess whether you might be in the market for a rebrand and how best to approach what might be a rather daunting task.
What is branding?
Far, far more than just a logo, your company's brand is the combined image of all your values, product and intentions put together for your customer to interact with. They may never meet the real you, but through your website, social media channels and emails, customers build a picture of who you are, why your business exists and, really crucially for growing your business - how it can serve them.
"Having a brand vision can really help steer you and keep you on the path you want to be on." - Barney Bryant, Bright Green Brands
A successful brand will offer value to its customers - and we don't mean value for money! For brands with a strong ethical purpose, this is especially important, and where branding gets particularly emotive. Value can be interpreted as the reason the customer needs you and your product and why they will continue to return to purchase or interact with your brand time and again.
When did you last assess the position of your current brand?
In today's tech-driven world, we’re collecting data all the time. Thanks to the smart tools offered by our social media and email marketing platforms, it’s practically unavoidable. But when was the last time you sat down to really analyse those engagement statistics and create actions from them?
Any good rebranding strategy starts by taking stock of your current communications and feedback from your customers. Every business owner will have their own perception of where their brand currently sits and to what extent people are engaging, but being data-driven will encourage you to be objective – and the facts will enable you to back up your strategy with cold, hard evidence. The facts might also just surprise you entirely! Be ready for this and plan to be flexible.
And don’t just focus on your customers! Get your employees involved too, from every level. They will undoubtedly have ideas you hadn’t thought of yourself and will be able to contribute their experience from all angles of the business.
"It's a shared world that we now live in and a lot can come from collaboration... instead of just always trying to be different." Simona Campli, Creative and Strategic Counsellor
However you go about collecting this data, make sure you find a neat way to present it all, so you have a brilliant tool to refer back to throughout your rebrand. Of course, there are plenty of companies and tools that can do this for you, but you don’t need to spend thousands to make some really quick-win assessments of your current position.
Forward planning for a forward-thinking brand
You might start by taking stock of where you are now but a truly successful rebrand will also take into account your business’s potential position five years from now. Forward planning is a sensible tactic to employ in order to maintain an aspirational quality within your brand strategy.
- Who you want to work with
- Which location you want to operate in
- Which media outlets you want to spotlight your brand
It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset of your current brand, which itself was a product of a much earlier time in your company’s lifetime (and your own!). Particularly for young brands, a lot is set to change in just the space of a year. Always ensure you are looking to the future and you’ll have a brand that will go the distance, making all the effort that goes into a rebranding process truly worth it.
Are you planning a rebrand, or just want to get to grips with your current one? We’ve got the tools you need to get started. Professional Members can head over to our Branding a Sustainable Business Masterclass to hear from a range of experts on everything from putting together your brand strategy, to crafting successful copy to effectively engage with more people.
Not a Professional Member yet? Professional Members gain access to our exclusive interviews with industry leaders and toolkits to support sustainable fashion entrepreneurs along their journey. Join today