A company I’m doing some work with is going through a rebranding exercise. In our last meeting the CEO said that they want to really lock down what their brand is and then hone the culture of the company to mimic the brand. So far so good. But then he said something that struck me as just wrong: He said that as the company grows and morphs, "we’ll need to rebrand again in a couple of years." Huh?
When I worked in the beauty business, there was a competitor that was doing a lot of things right: Great store environment, great name, great product lines and great customer service. But they picked a bad location. As a result, the foot traffic wasn’t there. So in desperation, they brought in jewelry to try to attract more customers. Next was a smattering of clothing. But now, instead of walking into this cool, contemporary beauty experience, you walked into a world bazaar. Wrong move for the brand.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Great brands operate at a higher level.
They don’t change the essence of who they are as the business changes. That’s backward and that’s why companies fail. Instead, they make sure that they direct how the business changes so that it fits with the brand, from the new lines they bring in, to the employees they hire, to the competing company that they purchase, every move has to fit through the brand filter.
The rebranding of the company discussed above has to take place in a way that they find or determine the essence of the brand (their filter, their umbrella that everything fits under) so that as the company grows, it stays true to what it is. If it doesn’t, then the various divisions of the company won’t make sense to their internal staff and more importantly, to their customers and clients.
The beauty store move is just desperation. They picked a bad location and there isn’t anything that’s ever going to counteract that. They eventually ended up closing, and having a liquidation sale on their beauty products, jewelry, clothing and whatever else they were selling in the world bazaar.
Stay true to who you are and what your customers know you to be. It might not make sense in the short term but for the long-term viability and growth of the company as well as the price you can command when you want to sell, having a solid brand substantially increases the longevity and value of the company.