Rebranding is a phase that most entrepreneurs consider as they strive to grow bigger and better. But when should this be considered? Brand experts tell DAMILOLA AINA in this report

Recently, a Nigerian singer, Kingsley Okonkwo, better known as Kcee, unveiled a rebranded look for his musical career with the signature cover of a mask overlaying his face to conceal his identity.

Stating his reason, the Limpopo crooner said his masked face is part of a strategy to present a new version of himself, reminiscing the fashion style of popular afrobeat musician, Lagbaja.

“Me wearing my mask, I’m all masked up. It’s just a new Kcee. It’s a new season and I just decided to cover my face.

“You guys have been seeing my face for almost 24/25 years. This time around I chose to cover it up and just give it some Lagbaja 2.0, Kcee 2.0,” he said in an interview.

Launching a new enterprise can be a thrilling experience but keeping a business afloat in Nigeria requires diligence, vigour and an unflinching determination.

While entrepreneurs often focus on creating innovative products, extraordinary services and captivating marketing plans, rebranding can unlock visibility and help re-establish a unique selling proposition.

According to Forbes, rebranding your business is a natural part of the life cycle of any company. Even the most successful businesses mull rebranding at some point, but it’s not an easy choice to make. You need to know when the time is right, and many business owners miss the warning signs until it’s too late.

A sign that you should consider rebranding your business is when you notice that your brand is outdated. “Outdated” in this sense can mean two things: You need a refresh to stay on trend, or you’re not staying up to date with customer preferences.

“At every stage in business, you understand when you need a new phase, a new look, new tone or voice and sometimes it comes at a stage when a company has attained a certain growth. And at that time, you want the new growth or current state of the company to speak some sort of language and perception to its audience,” a brand communication expert, Seyi Olaniyan, told our correspondent.

Olaniyan, who is the founder of a tourism company, Yellow Lyfe, said image renewal helps a company to be in vogue while communicating what your target audience listens to, and want to hear.

“Rebranding is not only about changing a logo or design, it could be from your brand’s voice and how you communicate your products, making it different from how you used to do it before. It could be a font size or a change of objective or vision.

“It helps to make your brand trendy and evolving with time. It also makes your brand unique and relevant in the market because over time you can see the effect. Rebranding makes your brand more intentional, makes the outlook better and it gives you a better perception and a loud voice in the market.

“For instance, if a business was built on shoes and you want to introduce a clothing line, you would have to rebrand to form a unique name that cuts across the new system to be introduced,” Seyi explained.

Additionally, when customer preferences change, this can also make your brand look and feel outdated, hence getting feedback from your customers to tap into their current wants and needs is a way to ensure you’re still hitting their preferences.

One sign you should consider rebranding your business is if you know your target audience has an incorrect or negative perception of your brand.

Sometimes your brand image will shift due to circumstances beyond your control. Whether it’s a scandal, changes in society’s views, poor marketing or just a bad business decision, if it doesn’t align with your values, rebranding your business can help correct the problem.

Another critical sign that it’s time to consider rebranding your business is when your customers can’t tell the difference between your brand and the competition.

Communicating what differentiates you from the competition is key to growth and success. Rebranding your business can help you define and market your differences to give you a competitive advantage. This way, your audience knows what sets you apart and why they should care about your product.

“How you communicate your product matters, so if there is a contradiction between a brand message and the brand objective then you have to consider rebranding because non-compliance will confuse their audience.

“At a stage where your message is not clear enough and the target audience is too wide, not getting results and your brand objectives are not achieved, then there should be a good consideration for rebranding,” a brand professional, Deborah Odeniyi, stated while highlighting factors that necessitate rebranding.

She adds that a contradiction between a brand message and the brand objective, expansion into new markets and clarity of business objectives, are factors that drive thirst for rebranding.

Speaking in a telephone interview, she said, “For small-scale business, rebranding should be considered when there is clarity on what the business wants, that is they have scaled through the survival stage and possibly want to achieve global reach.

“Also, when businesses want to penetrate a global market, they start considering rebranding and hiring a strategist to change their customer perception and psychology concerning their brand. For instance, a popular beverage company recently changed the colour of its chocolate wrappings and added a message that can be used to win hearts, so that goes beyond just selling but passing a message of love.

“Also, when you looking to expand into new markets, perhaps you have a company in another country like the United Arab Emirates, you have to do a lot of analysis to fit in their market, which may include rebranding occasioned by the peculiarity of the country.”

On other factors to be considered before making such an important decision, Seyi notes that business owners must self-reflect on several questions.

He queried, “Why do you want to rebrand in the first place, what do you want to gain from that venture? Branding is perfection and how you want people to perceive you and the new perception you want to create for your brand the moment you get this right.

“What is the brand voice you want to have and how do you want to be perceived in your market, why do you want to be unique? What is your why for rebranding?  Evaluate your unique selling point and what channels are you going to put this effort into.”

In conclusion, the more established your business and brand, the more you have to lose from a rebrand. If your business is more mature, a partial rebrand can help you retain the brand loyalty you’ve built, while refreshing your image to keep up with changing times.

Think of a partial rebrand as an adjustment focused on your visual brand identity to suit new offerings or markets as opposed to a complete identity crisis.

However, if you’re undergoing a complete identity shift and your company’s mission, vision, and values are changing, a total rebrand might be in order.

This option is typically suited to situations like mergers, product overhauls, and other similarly foundational shifts. Here, everything is on the table, from your name to your purpose, your market, or your brand identity.

If a partial rebrand is a quick touch-up, the total rebrand is a complete makeover.

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