The average company will rebrand every 7-10 years. There are many reasons for doing so, from modernizing an outdated look to reputation management. In 2017, we revamped our logo and color scheme for a clean, modern look, but kept our name and mission statement. This kind of “revamp” happens often – but in 2019, a different kind of rebrand is gaining a lot of popularity. “Top-to-bottom” rebrands are more than a simple refresh – they represent a total overhaul of a brand’s identity. They’re on the rise in 2019 – perhaps this is why Jim Prior declared in Inc. Magazine that 2019 is “the year of the rebrand.”
You may not mind that Staples changed its logo, but what about when a key vendor changes “everything”? It’s important to recognize the difference between a visual update and a major red flag – especially when the company or product in question is significant to your business. These 10 questions can help you tell the difference.
1. Has the company’s vision/mission changed? If so, is it still aligned with yours?
Does this rebrand represent any major shifts to the vendor’s mission? These changes are more than cosmetic – they may signal a change in priorities or a shift in the vendor’s long-term vision. Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions to ensure the vendor’s overall mission still aligns with yours.
2. Is the vendor trying to out-run a bad reputation?
Be honest about the vendor’s overall reputation. If you were unhappy with them, chances are others were too. If word on the street is that your vendor’s other customers weren’t happy, a new name or logo could signal an attempt to correct (or even just gloss over) larger reputation issues.
3. Is the company leadership changing? Why?
This is another question you may have to ask directly. Leadership changes can be a positive thing, but it is important to understand the driving force behind them. Evaluate if you think the change will benefit your company long-term, or if it signals future uncertainty.
4. Have there been significant staff changes?
Just like question #2, this one may require you to keep your ear to the ground. Is your vendor significantly changing their organizational structure? While sometimes positive in the end, such changes can represent short term chaos.
5. Has a core product significantly changed or improved?
Is your vendor rolling out major changes or improvements to a core product? This may have a positive impact on your business! Just be sure to ask plenty of questions to ensure you’re prepared for key changes.
6. Has the vendor merged with or acquired additional business units?
It’s one thing to acquire new businesses or products, but when such an acquisition sparks a complete rebranding, it warrants extra attention.
7. Are they targeting new markets?
If so, will this change the number of vendor resources available to your business?
8. Are they going to sunset any product(s)?
Does this rebrand signal the end of any product(s) you’re currently using? If so, time to look for alternatives. And if you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to ask your vendor about their future plans.
9. Are there bigger company or product changes on the horizon?
In general, a major rebrand from a significant vendor means it’s time for a gut-check. Based on your relationship with the vendor, what you’re hearing via word-of-mouth, and your intuition, do you think this rebrand signals massive changes ahead? Do you expect them to be positive or negative for your business? Or…
10. Is this really ‘no big deal’?
At the end of the day, a rebrand may just be a new look (and hopefully, a better one). If none of these questions raise alarm bells, that’s great! Congratulate your vendor on their new look and continue your relationship.
With more rebrands sure to come in 2019 and beyond, use these questions to quickly evaluate if a change is cosmetic or deeper.