Edward Israel-Ayide: Rebranding- A coat of paint or soul searching? (Y! Business)

by Edward Israel-Ayide

“Brand is not a product, that’s for sure; it’s not one item. It’s an idea, it’s a theory, it’s a meaning, it’s how you carry yourself. It’s aspirational, it’s inspirational.”

                                                                               –  KEVIN PLANK

The brand gurus have left your office after a 4-hour long strategy session, filled your minds and ears with new-found vigour, inspiring you to brand, debrand and rebrand!!

So you get your own team together and charge them to go out and find the best new colours that depict strength, loyalty, innovation, consistency and every new age adjective or noun you can muster. To the mix, you throw in a new logo as well, “one that is in line with what this new brand represents” and put in a call to the guys at Dulux; “40 liters of your best silk finish royal blue paint for our head office please!”

And the rush begins as you begin the process of rebranding.

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Once consumers can identify with any of these traits as is represented by your brand or organization, then they are most willing to part with their money to pay for your goods and services.

But are you on the right course? What is it that your brand truly represents? Is your brand personality or character in line with all the new age buzz words, fancy colours and shapes you have put into the creative representation of your brand? Or are you just going devil-may-care into the market with a brand representation that you and your team do not have the wherewithal to defend if questions arise?

What is your brand character anyway? Why is it any different from what your colours and logos represent, why does it transcend the scope of the visual-intangible to the level of visual/non-visual-tangible? Your brand character/personality is a set of human characteristics that are attributed to your brand name. Something to which your consumers can relate; your brand is what increases your brand equity if you stay consistent to the values its represents. This is the added value that a brand gains, aside from its functional benefits.

There are five main types of brand personalities, and examples of the human traits for the different types of brand personalities are given below:

Excitement: carefree, spirited, youthful
Sincerity: genuine, kind, family-oriented, thoughtful
Ruggedness: rough, tough, outdoors, athletic
Competence: successful, accomplished, influential, a leader
Sophistication: elegant, prestigious, pretentious

Once consumers can identify with any of these traits as is represented by your brand or organization, then they are most willing to part with their money to pay for your goods and services.

But herein lies the big question; is your brand true to what it represents? If customers remove that fine coat of new paint will they see that underneath all the razzmatazz is a poor organizational structure, an internal discord with the values of say fairness that your brand encapsulates? If they see that in as much as your brand portrays innovation and growth, the systems that exist for your staff to bring out these innovative ideas and products are at best circa 1960, then big problem. But we see this every day.

“Authentic brands don’t emerge from marketing cubicles or advertising agencies. They emanate from everything the company does…”-

                  HOWARD SCHULTZ

Charity they say begins at home, and what is most important in your brand-building (or rebuilding) efforts is that you must walk the talk. You must ensure that before the new business cards and letter heads are ordered, that you have engaged in serious soul searching, ensuring that you do not shoot yourself in the foot by choosing a brand personality that you cannot stay true to.

Let rebranding start inside out. Build the ideals that you want your brand to represent and be known for, from the very structure and foundation on which your company or organization is built. From the driver to the CEO, ensure that every member of your team stands for what your brand represents as they engage customers and clients and if possible as they go about on their own personal lives. The very essence of rebranding is to ensure that the outside stays consistent with the new-found inner convictions that you have paid a ton of cash to hear from the brand strategists and gurus.

Drop the paint bucket, call your team together, and maybe as you all sit in a circle and sing Kumbaya you will find the values and ideals that you can infuse and consider as you rebuild a new corporate image on a foundation that will not be found wanting come whatever storm may arise on that perilous ocean called the market place.

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EDWARD ISRAEL-AYIDE is the Executive Assistant to the CEO at Chocolate City Group and is fascinated by individual and corporate brands. He tweets from @wildeyeq

A version of this article was initially posted on SUMMONS on September 28, 2012.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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