Sales and marketing. Cats and dogs. Oil and water. It may seem like a universal law that the two sides will always be opposed, but it’s time to break that law. That’s because if your company is in need of a rebrand, your sales team is likely bearing the brunt of insipid messaging, an outdated brand, and a story that doesn’t speak to your company’s true audience. As a marketing executive, your job is to recognize when your brand is out of sync with your customers and to make the big decision to rebrand. If the rebrand goes right, you’ll open your doors to a whole new customer base and reinvigorate your sales team.
Ask yourself, “Are we telling the right story?” In other words, is your company’s brand accurate, appealing, and laser-focused on your ideal audience? “A brand is a company’s or product’s identity, and to understand what that means you must go to the customers and prospective customers of the company or product,” says Tara Stoutenborough, principal at marketing communications firm Strategies. “A company does not own its brand—its customers and prospects do.”
There are many reasons to rebrand. Perhaps your company is outgrowing its original brand, or you want to open up a new line of business. Maybe your current business model isn’t working and it’s time to pivot with an entirely new business model and product lineup. If you want to capture a whole new customer market, like Old Spice did when it realized that 60 per cent of men’s body wash was purchased by women, that could be a significant reason to change things up. Susan Gunelius of Aytm also mentions mergers and acquisitions, legal issues, negative publicity, and competitive pressure as primary reasons to rebrand. Whatever spurs you to change things up, your sales team is counting on you to do it right. Here are three reasons your sales team will love you when you rebrand.
Certain brands can pull off a consistent look, feel, and message for decades, but those are the exceptions, rather than the rule. In an article for Entrepreneur.com, Kim Lachance Shandrow notes, “If your target audience is changing with the times (and chances are it is), it’s a smart move to change along with them. Not just to maintain interest, but, more importantly, their business.” As a company, you may be constantly experimenting with new products and service offers, as well as searching out new customer groups to target. Your brand should reflect that reality. After all, AT&T isn’t exactly touting landline services anymore. Go to its website, and you won’t find the branding of a phone company; you’ll be on the page of an integrated digital communications conglomerate.
Your sales team doesn’t want to tell an outdated story to new customers. Help them by realigning your messaging to fit the company you are today and the customers you want tomorrow.
Every marketer knows that it can take a dozen or more “touches” before a customer starts to notice and remember your brand. On the flip side of the coin, it’s also be possible to wear out your welcome. If your audience sees the same logo, hears the same jingle, and sees the same ads over and over, they may start to ignore the repetition. One great benefit of rebranding is that you can re-engage your current customers in a new and exciting way. Just be careful that you aren’t throwing out the baby with the bath water: There are examples of companies slashing beloved branding elements only to receive a tidal wave of backlash from customers. Case in point: In 2009 Tropicana decided to re-brand its iconic orange juice containers, and consumers weren’t exactly happy. After a slew of complaints and a 20 per cent drop in sales, the company backtracked and re-adopted its old packaging just a few weeks later.
Perhaps the very best reason to consider a rebranding is to attract new customers to your products or services. When a brand does a good job, it connects with its audience in an authentic way. Nike’s iconic “Just Do It” tagline resonates with serious athletes and passionate weekend warriors alike. Your sales team is always looking for support as they reach out to new customers, and the right type of branding can help them attract valuable new leads. When Old Spice learned that women were the primary purchasers of its men’s body wash, the marketing team didn’t ignore this information. Instead, it rolled out the incredibly successful “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like,” campaign. The ad campaign was aimed directly at women, and it worked! The Old Spice Twitter following increased by 2,700 per cent and Facebook fan interaction rose by 800 per cent. Ultimately, within one year of the campaign, sales of Old Spice Red Zone Body Wash more than doubled.
Feeling motivated to jump aboard the rebranding train? You’ve got a long journey ahead. Rebranding requires a lot of internal soul searching, external research, and a deep understanding of the needs and perspectives of the customers you want to reach. It’s also going to require a lot of work across your entire department and complete buy-in from your leadership.
Make sure you put in place the right analytics so that you can easily and accurately measure the success of your efforts. “They may not be the sexiest part of the corporate rebranding process,” admits Brian Lischer of branding firm Ignyte, “but brand metrics are the most tangible way to measure your rebrand’s ROI.” Use an analytics platform to track the response to your rebrand rollout, and make sure it syncs with your CRM. If possible, this one-two combo of analytics and CRM will make your sales team love you even more after a successful rebranding.