I often hear the phrases “We need rebranding” or “Last year we’ve rebranded”. “We need ‘refreshing’, we need a redesign.”
Anyway, redesign or rebranding? Similar words but two different meanings, which are big difference for professionals. In project management, these processes have different set of stages and roadmaps. So what is the difference between these two concepts and what is common? When we should carry out rebranding, and when we should do redesign? Let’s figure it out!
Rebranding and redesign are set of actions aimed at changes in your business, in your product / service and in visual communications.
The goal of any change action, such as redesign or rebranding, is to increase sales. The flip side of these processes conducted incorrectly is a sharp decline in sales.
Therefore, any changes should be carried out wisely without shooting from the hip, not based on personal impressions. Never base your decisions on personal impressions or feelings without confirming them with facts. This increases the risk of a sales growth decrease. A business can go into a tailspin, from which it will be very difficult or impossible to exit, if there is no required resource to eliminate the error.
Why should you redesign or rebrand if these activities can be a source of risk of reducing the money flow into the system?
In fact, the process of sales decrease has already begun in the company. This is not difficult to identify the root cause of it.
If the market is growing, and your sales volume is stable or even declining — you need changes.
If the market is stagnant and you are “falling” — you need changes.
If the market falls, and you fall more than the market — you need changes.
Today I will tell you how to carry out the activities for changes, which will lead to sales increase, but not to the losses.+
Competent assessment is it for us!
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
But taking rash actions is also dangerous for your business in this situation. Do you have enough time and money to fix the mistake?
You need to start with a deep audit of your brand, design, product and communications within your category, competitors and customer.
There are several pitfalls that you may not be aware of.
1. Free audit
2. Assessment methods lack
Tip: If you are offered a free audit, ask who will conduct it and how, what methodology will be used, what actions will be taken, the purpose of these actions, what will you get, what will be the result, why will you have to trust this result. If you hear an incoherent words in response like “We are professionals, you don’t trust us! We have so many rewards and successful cases!” — You may turn around and leave because you are grifted.
Why am I talking so much about the audit? A properly conducted audit is 80% of the success of the change events, where the cost of the error is too high. It is equal to the death for some businesses. Therefore, is it worth it to be on a free bait?
What does a strong brand and effective packaging design of your product in your business generally affect?
I give four basic indicators:
return on investment rate
And I believe that you would like these indicators in your business to constantly increase.
Why do I use these indicators? I talked about it in detail in the article “How packaging design affects sales growth”. What is most, the key parameter that causes the other three is the product purchase frequency at store.
Therefore, while conducting an audit, you need to get an answer to the question — what is the reason of reducing your product purchase frequency. You should get facts and figures, but not someone’s thoughts.
How we do it
There are two unique authorial methods for a comprehensive assessment of your design and brand in our armory: “Three layers of efficiency” ™ — a tool for the primary assessment of design and for highly effective commercial packaging design developing under visual, contextual and conversional layers of design. Also “3D Brand Field” ™ — a tool for primary brand assessment and for integrated brand developing in the context of value / product / communication. Click on the link, you can get acquainted in detail with each tool, as well as download checklists, with which you can perform express analysis by yourself.
Where to begin?
To get the cause of the sales decrease, we start the audit with the primary data — visual communications. The main point of interaction between your product and your customer is the store. Customer makes his purchase decision there. Recent studies in this field found that the buyer spends on a decision no more than 6 seconds. He looks at the shelf, compares, analyzes, then picks up something, maybe looks at the ingredients and puts the goods in the basket.
Packaging design is a key element of visual communication with your customer, which directly affects the purchase frequency.
Audit by our methodology “Three layers of efficiency” ™ shows which way we will go — rebranding or redesign. I will return to the description of the audit and its ability to determine the right way. Now I would like to explain you what each process is and what is it affect on.
The word itself has its meaning — rebranding is a restart of the brand. It is the brand, if you have one. Why do I need a brand restart?
Due to mistakes in the design and brand launch. The former brand creator made mistakes at the beginning, which led to a decrease in sales of the company’s product, and, consequently, a decrease in revenue and market share. What mistakes can be:
your target audience is incorrectly determined
the brand value for the target audience is not defined
mismatch between brand value and target audience
the product does not meet the declared values
it is not clear why the target audience needs to buy this brand / product
All these mistakes can be eliminated by developing a brand platform and creating a design that will convey to your consumer the benefits and advantages of your brand.
Also there are other reasons. One lies in the market and is less common, but has huge effect.
Change in consumption trend. This happens at regular intervals. One acquaintance of mine, who lives in the center of St. Petersburg, said: “Before in the nineties, I constantly saw young people drinking alcohol in our yard, but now, on the contrary, everyone has started jogging and playing sports on the street.” Indeed, there has been a reduction in alcohol consumption in the country. People are increasingly taking care of themselves. You do not even remember those vodka brands that have become a thing of the past and will no longer return. Only those who really were of value to people and had a strong brand and significant market share remains of the old ones. It is interesting, in the wake of self-care, a new trend appears — organic vodka. The king is dead — long live the king!
Another reason is Changes in brand development strategy. It happens that you had some kind of hypothesis for brand development. For example, your product was based on the needs of “Energy and Freedom” (the term needs “Energy and Freedom” is taken from our tool for creating brand positioning “Growth Platform” ™).
“Growth Platform” ™ wheel illustration
For some time, you have been producing a product, communicating to the consumers the values, which met the product’s need. But after analyzing the market, competitors and consumers, comparing this data with your product launch capabilities, you realized that by adjusting the recipe, taste and packaging, you can transfer the brand to another need, for example, “Individuality” or “Pleasure,” which in the future will increase your margin and ensure sales. In this case, the target audience of the brand and product is changing. Along with it, the brand’s strategy, its values, benefits and advantages, as well as all visual communications, are changing.
Rebranding always leads to a change in all visual communications of the company and the brand. First rebranding, then redesign — this is the right sequence.
It makes no sense to do it if everything remains the same. In this case, no one will respond to your changes. Do not immediately change the design if you have not yet decided on the brand strategy. You just create another picture that will not communicate anything to your customers. Even if it receives the most prestigious design awards, it does not mean anything. Creative rewards are not related to commercial results. I have never seen representatives of retail or manufacturing entrepreneurs in the jury of ad festivals. Therefore, creative work is judged by creators who are so far from commerce and from those target audiences for which we create products. Therefore, if you ignore research on the brand at the beginning of the project, and start with the development of the design — 99.8% that you will lose, and 0.02% — you may be lucky and you get it. Remember that the cost of a mistake here is too high. And this is not just what you have spent on design development, but how much you will spend later: the costs of packaging, product, logistics, listing in networks, retro bonuses. Sum it all. Do you have time and money to fix this mistake?
Redesign (restyling) — restart or update of your design. When to apply it?
As you already understood from the last paragraph, we start designing when your brand is “formed”. This is very crucial!
The commercial design in question has one function — to lead the consumer to purchase your product, and this design is a part of the communication of your brand with your customer. You have understood your target audience, you have exactly established the brand value, you already have a product that meets the value you have stated. You transmit all this with the help of design. If you cannot formulate these, then your design is just a picture and it will not lead to purchase. Here you need a rebranding!
If you clearly understand and determine the value and benefits of your brand for your customers, but you are not happy with the sales — you need a redesign, because you have communication problems. And the most common reason is mistakes while you have developing packaging design.
The former brand creator or you yourself made mistakes at the beginning, which led to a decrease in sales volume that affected market share and revenue decrease. What mistakes can be:
the design is inconspicuous among competitors on the shelf in the store
no eye-catching memorable feature
there is no food zone for food products or no product category image for non-food products
benefits, advantages and characteristics of the product are not marked on the front side of the package.
mismatch between visual codes and target audience
Another reason is that your design is slightly outdated. Take a look at famous brands logos and packaging, you will see how they have changed over time. We consumers may not even have noticed any changes, but if we compare the first and current designs of brands with a long history, the difference is dramatic.
And although a correctly created commercial design made according to the “Three Layers of Efficiency” ™ method, which has the developed “Visual”, “Contextual” and “Conversional” layers, has a long life span, still there is a time factor. And there are no clear recommendations after how many years you need to change the design. It all depends on your target audience and consumption trends.
Almost all the designs that we developed for a conservative audience aimed at traditional products and traditional consumption have existed for more than 8 years and still bring money to their owners. In products for children or for innovators / individualists (the term audience segmentation by VCGG, which we use in our projects), trends change faster, and this entails more frequent design changes.
Incremental or radical?
How much should your changes be radical? This question arises constantly when you undertake this work. First, we learn about sales and company development strategies. Using a small test, we determine the supporting elements that are already remembered by the consumer.
You may ask what color they associate your brand with. For example, everyone say that Coca-Cola is red and Pepsi is blue, although this was not always the case. Color is an important communicator, keep it and do not change if your consumers clearly associate you with a certain color. Next, ask your consumers to draw your brand or packaging design without showing them the original. Consumers will draw what their brain really remembered. Things they draw must be left and not changed radically. You can easily change other ones.
If the test revealed that people do not associate your brand with anything, then you need to take the path of radical changes. Change it all and start a promotion campaign. An example of radical approach in the “Svyatoj istochnik” redesign from the 2nd to 3rd stage.
If consumers clearly define color and other elements, and at the same time you still have a decent amount of sales — do not rush to big changes. The whole history of “Dobryj” juice shows us an incremental change approach to redesign. Start improving design. Based on the results of design audit by “Three Layers of Efficiency” ™, you can easily determine where changes and improvements are needed, thanks to the bar chart of the layers effectiveness: visual, contextual or conversional.
As for rebranding, you should understand what you need to do and where to start. To do this, we conduct brand audit using our “3D brand field” ™ authorial tool, where we analyze the brand by three dimensions: value | product | communication. Click on the link, you can get acquainted in detail with this tool, as well as download checklist, with which you can assess your brand by 28 parameters. We analyze more deeply, using more than one hundred parameters, in our agency. These parameters are allocated into groups. In the value group, we see how your brand solves the problem of your customer. How much the brand is valuable to the target audience. In the product group, we see how your product meets the declared value. And in the communication group, we analyze where, how and by what means you convey your product value, benefits and characteristics. The sum of points in each group forms general parameter, which we put aside along the axes for each group, as in the figure. Next, we connect the pending points in a triangular diagram. It clearly shows us in which of the groups there is a drawdown. The perfect picture is when your chart closed to the contours of the outer triangle. That means you have a strong brand, which is developed by three directions.
If you have a value “drawdown” — you need to find and formulate it. The stages “Development of brand hypotheses” are responsible for that, and on the basis of the chosen hypothesis, the building of “Brand Platform”. “Brand Platform” newly formed can become a driver for changes in the company’s product and will add improvements in communications. Restarting should be carried out comprehensively in three directions at once. Nothing to neglect!
So, if you have problems with determining the target audience, formulating the values and meanings of your business for the target audience, if you have faced with a change in the consumption trend or radically change the brand development strategy — this is rebranding.
If you want to improve only the visual communications of your design, making them more effective without changing the brand development strategy, the target audience and the purchase benefit key message — this is redesign or restyling.
In conclusion, I want to share with you roadmaps of rebranding and redesign projects. These are the main stages before finalizing the front sides of the design.