Tips for Navigating a Manufacturing Rebrand

Rebranding is complicated. Because manufacturing has many layers, with longer lead times and larger inventories to manage, there are a lot more things to consider when planning and executing a rebrand.

In a recent chat for USA Manufacturing Hour on Twitter, host Nicole Kangos and Kendie Bonner from Snaptron in Colorado led a discussion about navigating the process of how and when to approach a rebrand.

Defining Rebranding

The discussion began with everyone sharing their thoughts on what a rebrand is.  

Emily Kite from Obsidian Manufacturing Industries in Illinois said, “A rebrand is when a company changes their visual image of their brand. Some rebranding may be anything from graphics and templates used but also topography and colors.”

Host Kangos said, “Good answer! Yes, updating the visuals is a big component of a rebrand. But, not the only piece…”

Gina M. Tabasso from MAGNET in Ohio said, “I did a rebrand for two of my clients. It involved a name change, logo change, website update. Making them more modern and representing the brand better since they had outgrown the brand they started decades ago and really were more than just "that."

Adam Baker from Schooley Mitchell in Pennsylvania said, “A rebrand is a changing of the messaging / image of a product or organization.”

Dan Bigger from Optessa Inc in New Jersey said, “It is an update or refresh of your companies ideals and direction moving forward.”

Whitney Koch from Welker, Inc. in Texas said, “When a company rebrands, they are doing things like updating the company logo and colors and formatting for print and digital collateral.”

Amy.M.Anderson said, “A rebrand is an opportunity to put forth a new, or newly emphasized (perhaps even a return to a tried & true, but abandoned) brand - logo, fonts, colors, tone, all the things you want folks to think of when they think of YOUR company.”

Host Bonner from Snaptron in Colorado said, “Yes, good point, Amy. It's not just the visuals.”

Paul Kiesche from Aviate Creative in New Jersey said, “Oh, lots to unwrap here! A rebrand is essentially a facelift or rework of your brand. It can be as simple as some small edits to improve or update your brand, or it can be as significant as repositioning and redoing your entire look and voice.”

Matt Long from Aviate Creative in New Jersey said, “A rebrand is a marketing strategy which is designed to create a new identity for an established brand so that they can change their perception in the minds of consumers, competitors and investors, and potentially access new markets.”

Nicole Kangos from Snaptron in Colorado said, “Yes, precisely. Love this answer!”

Brett from FreightPOP in California said, “A rebrand is when a company/entity decides to attempt to change the way they are seen in the public eye. Often times this includes a logo/design/color scheme change, a shift in values, or even a shift in their target market!”

Jasmine Labelle from velavu in Canada said, “Building a new and different identity for consumers. So in sum, changing how consumers or competitors perceive the brand by changing its corporate image.”

VirtuDesk said, “Rebrand is taking off your previous brand face and changing it with an improved one.”

Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said, “Changing the face of your brand or leveling up your brand's face.”

Hosts Kangos and Bonner said, “A rebrand is the process of changing the vision, mission, voice, and image of an already established brand. A rebrand usually means an overhaul of your identity in an attempt to shift with the market, venture into new markets, and influence customer perspectives.”


Is It Time For A Rebrand?

The discussion turned to determining if it is time for a rebrand. Has your company ever considered a rebrand? What key indicators could determine that it may be time for a rebrand? 

Nigel Packer from Pelatis Online in Wales, UK said, “We went through a rebrand some 10 years ago. creating our new image to reflect the type of work we were great at and wanted to do more of. We chose our new name as we were focused on clients customers. Pelatis is Greek for Customer.”

Kite said, “I would think some indicators are if your brand is behind on current trends like design trends and/or image of the brand is not aligning anymore with their values and mission.”

Ruby Rusine from Social Success Marketing in California said, “Yes. We had to consider a rebrand when we finetuned our target audience.”

Kiesche said, “We actually went through a rebrand ourselves back in 2015. We changed the name, positioning, logo, collateral, everything! We needed a change in perception for prospects, clients, employees, etc. It made a huge difference!”

refresh-lettering-wordsHost Kangos said, “Oh, I didn't realize that Paul! It's great to hear that the rebrand was successful.”

Kiesche said, “I practically eat and breath this topic. As you know, besides going through it ourselves, rebranding is a huge part of what we do at Aviate Creative.”

Koch said, “We went through a rebrand 5ish years ago before I was in my current role. I don’t know what lead up to the decision, but our previous logo was very dated!”

Host Kangos said, “Interesting, that's fairly recent. An outdated image can be a driving factor for considering a rebrand. But, it shouldn't be the only one.”

Janice McKee from Burger & Brown Engineering, Inc. in Missouri said, “Yes, considering a re-brand and have done a bit of this as a result of new President and re-focus and definition of Core Values.”

Tabasso said, “My company did rebrand many many years ago before I knew them and joined. Not sure why. If your market changes, you add more capability, your look is outdated, there is a merger/acquisition, etc.”

Rusine said, “I agree!”

Bigger said, “I don't have an answer for this one.”

Chris Giglio from Rovere Media in New Jersey said, “While we are still a full service marketing agency for all industries we did a little rebranding when we got so many manufacturing clients. Now we specialize specifically in manufacturing since we’ve learned so much about the industry.”

Host Kangos said, “That makes sense. That's a great reason to rebrand–to position yourself to a new or different audience. Do you feel like your new image and voice better reflects that shift?”

Giglio said, “Honestly, we could definitely do a little better catering to the manufacturing industry but we’re in this strange spot where we don’t want to isolate other potential business in industries outside manufacturing. Basically it’s a work in progress!”

Host Kangos said, “Totally understandable. Perhaps you can position yourselves as "Industrial" or some other more encompassing category. When we were looking for a design partner for Snaptron rebrand, it was important for us to work with someone with experience in manufacturing.”

Dondi Scumaci from Texas said, “My consulting firm was originally called Elevations Unlimited, Inc. (Get it? Rise to the highest levels...) People thought I was an elevator repair/inspection.”

Rusine said, “Oooohhh...”

Neil Hussey from Denco Lubrication in the UK said, “Yes, rebranded in 2004 when they were bought by Bijur Delimon. Might be another rebrand in the future?!”

Hosts Kangos and Bonner said, “If it's the right direction for the company!’

Stepanov said, “Yes, we did. We actually changed our brand colors from blue and orange, to blue, white, and gray colors. We also changed the font style we are using and our brand logo.”

Hosts Kangos and Bonner said, “Appreciate your mention of a font style change. It's in the details.”

They continued, “It may be time to rebrand if your look is outdated or no longer connects with customers. Or if the brand does not accurately reflect your mission, vision, and values or your current product offerings. Some companies rebrand to stand out from competitors, expand into new industries, grow their product portfolios, or recover from a poor reputation.”


Strategizing For Your Rebrand

Participants then discussed what the first things to consider arewhen strategizing for a rebrand.

Brett said, “It's important to consider how this rebrand may affect your current clients/potential clients. It's much more expensive to get a new client than to keep a current one!”

Rusine said, “Always consider the “why” (not because it’s end of the year and you still have budget left). Then, also consider your “What" (budget, timeline, resources), then the “Who” (in-house our outsource)”

Mckee said, “There are so many things to consider but perhaps it would be your customers. I do not have formal Marketing training, so not sure about the academic answer on this one.”

Bigger said, “Another great question I do not have an answer to.”

Giglio said, “The customer/audience you’re trying to reach?”

Michelle Riccetto from Brass Inc in Canada said, “It really all comes down to knowing who you are as a company, what audience your looking to attract and what your long term vision/mission is. Ask yourself - How do we want our brand to stand out compared to competition?”

Koch said, “Desired outcomes? Just guessing here.”

Kite said, “I think it is important to start with looking at the problem. Are we out dated on our logo? Are we still aligning with our values? Do we need change and why do we need to change those? Figuring out the why will help you decide where the solution is.”

Anderson said, “How the rebranding will effect customers you don't want to lose?”

Packer said, “Know your customers and what their expectations are. Reflect what they perceive as the right image, mission and delivery. It is a two way street so make sure everyone gets the new brand.”

VirtuDesk said, “Totally agree with you, Nigel! This calls for co-creation if you are planning to rebrand. In that way, your customers won't be surprised when you change the face of your brand.”

Long said, “It's important to understand your target market, how you're currently positioned, how you wish to be positioned, and your vision, mission and values.”

Riccetto said, “A lot of companies undermine the importance of branding - that stat speaks VOLUMES.”

VirtuDesk said, “The reason why we rebrand is because we have competitors using the same colors as ours. Of course, we want to be uniquely recognized, which is why we considered changing our style. We believe that what we have now is much better.”

Kiesche said, “The first thing to consider when rebranding would be: Understanding your buyer and what they care about. Does your current brand create the right perception to speak to your buyer and build confidence and credibility?”

Hosts Kangos and Bonner said, “Does a rebrand make sense for the company? What is the cost, and will it be a good ROI? Based on indicators from A2, it may be time for a rebrand. “Strong brands capture 3x the sales volume compared to weaker brands”. Source: Interbrand, Best Global Brands, 2018” 


Brand Impression

rebrand-definition-blue-backgroundThe discussion turned to what impression participants want their respective brands to convey to their audience and whether or not their current image is consistent with that.

Rusine said, “That we truly know their problems and we can help solve it for less- so we want to show that we are trustworthy, credible and knowledgeable.”

Tabasso said, “We are going through brand strategy now to make sure we are telling the right stories; stay tuned!”

Rusine said, “On point.”

Host Kangos said, “Very cool, love to hear this!”

Koch said, “Quality and expertise. I feel we showcase final product quality well, but I would like to work on showcasing the industry expertise more.”

Rusine said, “Very well said...”

Mckee said, “We want to convey competence and trustworthiness. Our current brand may do this but it is dated. We're working to improve this but it's not ready yet.”

Baker said, “Great question. Our brand currently makes it look easy to save businesses money, because on client's side, we don't need much of their time. The hard work happens behind the scenes. Would love to convey "we only make it LOOK easy because we're the best."

Labelle said, “Our brand is dedicated to creating approachable technology to modernise and propel any business forward, and believe technology should be affordable, scalable and easy-to-use — for any sized operation in any industry. We push this through all our marketing!”

Host Kangos said, “Wow, love these principles!”

Packer said, “One of the most damaging rebrands is one that is constantly changing to "Jump onto the latest trend". When customers are looking for consistency and continuity in a brand they want to see stability. Trends pass quickly so make changes subtle.”

Brett said, “Your brand should convey expertise in your field to your audience. If they are going to become your customer, they want to know you are the best at what you do and that purchasing your product/service will yield a positive result for themselves/their company.”

Riccetto said, “At Brash our goal is to push the boundaries of design and engineering. We strive for innovation and are dedicated to elevating products using a user-centered approach.”

Host Kangos said, “Sounds like we share similar values. :) I like your branding too. It looks like it reflects these values.”

Kiesche said, “It's best truly consider the perspective of your buyer and what they care about. Your buyer may spend a lot of money with your company and that purchase requires trust, confidence, credibility, and quality. All of which can be perceived in a brand.”

Hosts Kangos and Bonner said, “For Snaptron, our brand must reflect innovation, quality, and the ability to evolve with technology. Our products and services developed beyond what our past brand image represented. We wanted an image that was timeless and consistent with our new vision, mission, and values.”

“A brand is not a logo. A brand is not an identity. A brand is not a product. A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.” - Marty Neumeier


Unique Considerations for Manufacturing

The chat then discussed what unique considerations should be kept in mind about the manufacturing industry when rolling out a rebrand.

Tabasso said, “The competition and registering/trademarking/legal issues as well as lots of clear communication about the new brand so it isn't a surprise or confusing.”

Rusine said, “The manufacturing company should consider how to appeal to new customers with the rebrand while still maintaining the loyalty of the current customer base. Would love to hear what the rest says about others say about this.”

Koch said, “Ooh, good question! Ready to learn from the other responses.”

Riccetto said, “I think it's important to think of what the long-term vision of the company is before rolling out the rebrand.”

Host Kangos said, “Yes, good point. We aligned on mission and vision over the next 5, 10, 15 years in a workshop. I used this information to create a creative brief that informed the design. It's so important to have these conversations as an org before rebranding.”

Kite said, “I think the biggest thing for us is making sure our customers can still find us by our products first. Our customers know us by our brands far more than the Obsidian name. With our brands being decades old many people know just the brands alone.”

Packer said, “Some of the other answers mention focus on mission, quality and assistance. If everyone is doing the same, how do you differentiate yourselves? Look at your competitors and be different. Rebranding is more than words and images, it is also actions.”

Labelle said, “Competition and resources available!”

Hosts Kangos and Bonner said, “To start, have a realistic timeline for converting your brand. A manufacturing rebrand may require being broken down into smaller steps over a longer period to stay on budget and have the necessary cash flow. Always consider extended operational and sales cycles, inventory management, trade compliance filings, the strain on smaller marketing teams, and the cataloguing of your branded materials.”


Rebrand Launch

The discussion wrapped up with ways to create excitement and momentum for a rebrand launch.

Brett said, “Utilize social media and maybe even create a short video to explain what is about to happen, and how it will benefit your customers and potential customers moving forward!”

Rusine said, “Use social media. Plan it well though.”

Tabasso said, “A video in the hope it will go viral, definitely video; online launch party, giveaway, contest.”

Koch said, “Any kind of interactive teasers. Love the idea of giveaways!”

Stepanov said, “Consider co-creation when rebranding. In that way, you are involving your customers, employees, and your audience in the ideation stage. They'll surely be surprised by the results.”

Hosts Kangos and Bonner said, “You can build excitement with teasers on social media up until the day of launch. Use images and videos to showcase behind-the-scenes work or sneak peeks at new elements of the upcoming news. Most importantly, leverage your community, use email campaigns, press releases, and paid ads.


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