Can Rebranding Lead to Sales Growth?

New Brand

In today’s world of the internet of everything and big data, every executive and every business owner is more concerned than ever about the ROI of every activity.  Marketing leaders have espoused the benefits of a strong brand for years.  Recently, more marketers have been asked to justify their activities, including brand-building efforts.  Business leaders want to know:  What return can I get from a branding or rebranding campaign?

First, let’s examine what rebranding is not.  There are components of rebranding that will, as standalone activities, likely have little or no effect on sales.

  • Rebranding is not simply a logo change.  And, a logo change in itself is not likely to increase sales.
  • Rebranding is not just a name change.  In fact, a name change may have a negative impact on sales, depending on the strength of your existing brand.
  • Rebranding is not just creating a new tagline.  Creating a new tagline is not likely to have an immediate impact on sales either.

When, then, does rebranding drive sales?

When more relevant messaging is delivered to the target audience.  Delivering the right messaging to the right audience is the core success factor of any rebranding campaign.  Your goal should be to increase awareness with your target market.  Of course, this requires knowing who your potential buyers are.  It also requires crafting a message that will make your product or service preferred over the competition.

When your media budget increases to support a rebranding campaign.  It is important to note when other changes that are implemented with a rebranding campaign.  Oftentimes, a rebranding campaign is a result of an increased marketing budget which includes other components, like increased media spend.  Be careful not to attribute an increase in sales to one campaign component without contemplating how all components may have impacted results.

When quality SEO is implemented to counter a decline in website traffic.  Google still owns the online search market and many online websites are still recovering from the so called Google Penguin update of 2012.  With this update to their search algorithm, Google closed the loop on SEO practices that artificially increased page rankings by gaming the prior search algorithm.  As a result, many websites have gone through a “rebranding” in an attempt to increase traffic.  The effort, accompanied by quality SEO (and often a brand new website and URL), has been successful for many.

The good news is that with the right components, a rebranding campaign will increase sales.  However, there is no magic formula for such and the process may be iterative.  It is important to have a clear strategy and a sound measurement tools to build an effective rebranding effort.

TV Advertising Is no Longer the Holy Grail

TV advertising

Fragmentation in advertising is good for small businesses as it gives such businesses an opportunity to compete effectively.  Where small businesses were previously left out of advertising on video-rich platforms like television, YouTube has created opportunity.

Nearly 50% of U.S. households now have digital video recorders (DVRs), which have resulted in fewer television commercials being watched, but the proliferation of DVRs is not the only thing causing the shift in ad dollars from television to YouTube.  Here are four other drivers of this shift that small business owners need to know to take advantage of the increasingly fragmented advertising market.

  • YouTube advertising is more targeted than TV advertising.  Because audiences are so broad on television, TV advertisers end up spending ad dollars on prospects that are not their target.  With YouTube, advertisers can specifically target subscribers by age, gender, location and even interest.  And, they only pay when their ad is watched.
  • YouTube advertising is more measurable than TV advertising.  An advertiser just cannot know with certainty if a specific audience was reached on television.  Nielsen’s use of a representative sample of the population (measured through people meters) is far less sophisticated than the viewer analytics available to advertisers on YouTube.
  • Smartphones rule.  YouTube audiences are growing while television audiences are shrinking.  YouTube is among the top ten most frequently used smartphone apps.  How many Cord cutters and Cord nevers have a smartphone?  A majority.  In fact, these individuals are more likely than the general population to use smartphones.  So, YouTube advertisers have an opportunity to reach an audience that is unreachable for TV advertisers.
  • YouTube advertising is more affordable than TV advertising.  Most small business don’t dare to dream of using television advertising to get the word out about their products.  By its very definition, broadcast advertising gets audio or video content out to a mass audience.  Mass audiences cost mass dollars.  Marketers can more effectively spend more modest advertising budgets on YouTube, where costs can be controlled on a daily basis.

While it’s great to have a budget large enough to warrant television advertising, it is not the only place to build brands today.  Advertisers with modest budgets can deliver targeted, measurable ads online and reach an audience that is not even accessible on television.  TV is no longer the Holy Grail of advertising…and that’s good news for small business owners.

Social media is not “free” marketing

Social Media - Not Free Marketing

Many business leaders, especially those with limited marketing budgets, think of social media as a free way to deliver their brand’s message in the marketplace.  While it is true that the barriers to getting into the social media fray are low, there are costs to developing successful social media campaigns.

This post is not meant to deter any business from setting up a social media account.  By all means, pick a username, set up your profile and post a few logos and pictures, but be sure that you have considered the following:

  1. You will need to develop content regularly.  Simply developing an account and linking your website to your social media account is a futile exercise.  If you do not have a plan to deliver content—that is, posts, pictures, videos, infographics, etc.—regularly, you need to rethink your social media strategy.  The point of the social media account is to initiate a relationship with your target audience, which can only be done through regular communication.
  2. You may need multiple accounts.  Consider why you are setting up a social media account.  Are you trying to attract new customers?  Do you want to build brand awareness of a specific product?  Are you ready to answer customer questions?  If you search for Amazon on Twitter, you will find @amazon, @amazonkindle, @amazonvideo, @amazonassociate, @amazonappstore and @amazonhelp, among several other Amazon accounts.  Each one serves a different market need.  It is not likely that you will need as many accounts as Amazon, but it may be desirable to give customers a social service “line” that is distinct from your primary brand-building account.
  3. You should have an integrated marketing plan.  Your social media marketing strategy should be one component of your overall marketing strategy.  Think of it as an extension of what you do in other marketing channels and be sure your have consistent messaging across media.
  4. You must measure your social media efforts.  Given the time spent doing #1 through #3 above, you will want to be sure that there is value in your social media activity.  Are you getting enough views of posts to efficiently build awareness?  Are you reaching your target audience?  How has your customer satisfaction changed as a result of creating a social service account?

All of these things will affect the marketing budget but there are a few things you can do to mitigate the above costs.  For instance, there are tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck that increase the efficiency of managing social media accounts.  These solutions allow users to manage multiple accounts from a single platform.  They also allow users to schedule posts for a future day or time.  So, executing a social media strategy often becomes less arduous with these tools.

Being selective about which social media platforms you use can also mitigate costs.  It is not likely that you need to be on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn and Google+ and Instagram and every other new social media.  Select the platforms that are most relevant to your target customer base and focus on optimizing your presence there.

Consider hiring a social media expert.  It may seem counterintuitive but if you are inefficient because of lack of familiarity with Hootsuite or because you do not have the bandwidth for developing content, it may make sense to hire an expert so that your time can be spent where you add the most value.

Social media is not free but with the right support and tools, it can be an effective and efficient component of the overall marketing strategy.