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3 Signs Your Company is Ready for a Rebrand

Don’t let market shifts put you in a corner


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About 2,500 years ago, the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus became famous for insisting that the only thing that is constant is change. He was right: Consumer mindsets, the competitive environment and market forces are in constant motion.

Don’t let market shifts put you in a corner. To paraphrase a more recent philosopher, Wayne Gretzky: If you’re looking to skate your organization to where the puck is going to be rather than where it’s been, your brand is a key asset for signaling to the world that you’re in control of your destiny.

If you’re experiencing one of these challenges, it’s probably time for a bold brand move. These three brands charted a new brand course with great results.

No. 1: Your Brand Mission Has Shifted

In 2014, CVS Caremark triggered a seismic shift in the retail drugstore market when it decided to stop selling cigarettes. This decision was a tactical but bold move to reinvent CVS from a “corner drugstore” chain to a multifocal healthcare brand.

Quitting cigarettes had a short-term negative impact on the publicly traded company. But its confident, visionary leadership was looking at long-term trends rather than short-term gain. They knew where consumer sentiment was going, and they had the passion and commitment to go with it. Their unifying purpose became “Helping people on the path to better health.” This missional change — and strategic moves like growth into pharmacy benefits management, easy-access clinical services and a merger with healthcare provider Aetna — have positioned CVS to lead the way in how we think about health and mass-market access to self-care.

Five years in, the renamed CVS Health is continuing its mission to inspire a healthier America with such initiatives as prevention programs for e-cigarettes and vaping and third-party testing of vitamins and supplements. CVS Health’s big, purpose-driven vision also makes good market sense — and I say good for them. 

No. 2: You’ve Undergone a Major Organizational Change

When I met Vendavo’s Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Brice, in 2018, he was facing an increasingly common corporate challenge: Vendavo had acquired a number of small-but-smart organizations that would transform them from a legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) organization into an agile, focused, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-driven organization. He knew he needed a whole new rallying cry to excite, motivate and unify his global team. As he said to me (paraphrase): “If all you do is give me a new logo and a pretty PowerPoint, we’ve failed.”

"He knew he needed a whole new rallying cry to excite, motivate and unify his global team."

We worked hand-in-hand with Ed and his team to merge the best of both worlds — trusted but fresh, structured but nimble — into a global brand message that would cultivate confidence, inspire collaboration and positively challenge employees and customers alike: Claim Your Commercial Edge.

A refreshed brand look and voice that reflected the new brand promise and values called both staff and customers to step forward into a new, exciting future — one where it could achieve more together than it could apart.

No. 3: You Have an Opportunity to Grow Beyond Your Current Brand

What do you do when the world has moved beyond the product or service that made your brand — but you’ve found a new path to relevance? That’s what happened to Dunkin’ Donuts.

In January of this year, the global donut giant shortened its identity to Dunkin’ to shine a bright light on its transformation from an old-school, carb-centric pastry brand (“It’s time to make the donuts”) to a modern, on-the-go coffee-driven brand (“America runs on Dunkin”).  

This change was an acknowledgement that the 70-year-old brand’s product mix had shifted dramatically in recent years; 60% of Dunkin’s sales are now in the beverage category, with coffee as its biggest draw. As the world’s ninth-largest retail coffee purveyor, Dunkin’ speaks to the hearts and minds of workaday coffee drinkers who want a high-quality coffee drink without the high price tag or fussiness of Starbucks. The refreshed brand fills a real, authentic consumer need and market gap.

Dunkin’ focuses on the company’s 21st-century passion for serving high-quality, affordable coffee drinks and grab-and-go food while staying true to its heritage with its standout pink-and-orange palette and childhood-familiar iconic font. I appreciate Dunkin’ for not losing who they are while reinventing themselves for success in an entirely new market environment.

Whether it’s due to philosophical evolution, organizational shifts, and/or growth opportunity, we should always be open, and ready for, change. Is your company ready for a rebrand?

(This sponsored content was provided by SIGNAL.csk.)

Cheryl Farr founded SIGNAL.csk Brand Partners in 2009 to help organizations of all kinds realize their real brand power. She empowers leaders who value fresh creative thinking, purpose alignment and the strategic pursuit of excellence to be strong stewards of their brands — and their people to be passionate brand evangelists. She is a noted public speaker, former travel and lifestyle writer, branding expert, mid-century modernist, passionate traveler, kickboxer, Fluevologist and New York Giants fan. If any or all of these appeal to you, chat with her at cheryl.farr@signalcsk.com

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