Rebranding is a monumental task, and to pull it off effectively you’ll need to update more than just a logo. The internet has bred a different type of consumer: informed, slow to trust, and maybe even a little skeptical. That shift means brands are more than just visual; a brand should effectively act as a promise to your customers. It’s time to dig deep and figure out what you—and your brand—are all about.
Create an authentic and long-lasting brand by avoiding these common pitfalls:
1. Ignoring or not accurately understanding who your ideal customer is
Creating personas can help a brand better understand who their customers actually are. The process helps build out and identify unique traits of an audience that might not be easily identified through basic demographics, such as gender or economic status. A recent example of a brand that would have benefitted from better understanding of their target audience would be Pepsi. The beverage company has long positioned themselves as the hipper alternative to their more classic rival Coca-Cola and it was working… right up until they aired a certain advertisement, yeah, you know the one. This ad, which went through multiple levels of approval, depicted Kendall Jenner leading a group of young protesters down the street, and diffusing an escalating situation by handing a riot officer….a Pepsi? The piece was met with swift and loud criticism for being tone deaf and suggesting social issues could be resolved with a cold Pepsi. Better understanding their audience’s actual mindset on social issues could have saved them from a very large stain on their now-marred brand.
2. Missing the mark on voice
Nailing down the tone and attitude your brand presents itself with, is absolutely paramount. This is the part people are going to remember and how they will eventually differentiate your brand from the competition. Will the voice be humorous, subtle, and slightly aloof? Serious, classic, and full of authority? Voice should be a reflection of the brand itself otherwise consumers will see right through it as inauthentic. Start small. Describe your desired voice with three adjectives, just like the paragraph above. Then, break those down even further to cut through ambiguity and establish how that will translate in practice.
One of Media Junction’s core values is to “embrace your inner weirdness.” We action this into a quirky, and sometimes disruptive, voice. Coupling the voice with examples of recent work can send the message: “while we take our work seriously, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
3. Tell your story, don’t copy everyone else's.
Sharing your brand’s story is a unique opportunity to tell consumers how you and your product exist in the world, and how it came to be that way. It can be really tempting to see a brand story done well and want to emulate that success for your own, but here's the thing: if your brandis a living, breathing entity run by real people offering real value, you have a story to tell! Reflect inwards, and identify what makes your brand unique...then share it!
A personal favorite of ours is always HubSpot’s Year in Review. That’s right—a year in review. Often annual reports such as these suffer from terrible walls of text and incomprehensible earning charts, but HubSpot does theirs differently each year, by injecting unique personality. The variation in delivery and peeks-behind-the-curtain makes them quite enjoyable.
Ultimately, defining your brand is an exercise in understanding—knowing where your business comes from, how it will be perceived by your customers, and where you want to take it. People respond to authenticity, and you’ll never go wrong by telling your truth.