I love our Mugsy brand, but I also know that one day we may have to refresh it and re-brand. That is a scary thought – whether you are a small boutique agency like ours, or an International corporation. If done correctly, you can open your brand to new eyes and reinvigorate your company, while keeping your current fan base happy. Haters gonna hate, and if done incorrectly, a re-branding can alienate your audience, turn new fans away, and watch your ROI go down the drain. There is no one way to do it right, but there are ways to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. Here are our top four “rules”

1. Do your research. Ask Your Audience. 

People need to have confidence in a brand in order to be loyal to it. Sometimes, your customer’s confidence comes from a renewed sense of customer service and strong product offerings (as seen in a historic turnaround by an almost bankrupt Apple in the 1970’s to now) and sometimes from something as simple as the product packaging or marketing figurehead. Tropicana Orange Juice changed it’s carton design in 2009 and was met with such backlash they changed it back two weeks later, losing profits in the process. Social media makes crowd sourcing and market research easier than ever – do your research.

2. Keep an eye on the trends...Wisely.

Arby’s made social history when they tweeted about Pharrell’s Grammy’s hat. A brilliant move on their part, and the start of their re-branding. Their new commercials have picked up the trend of quirky humor with phenomenal results – an increase of sales! Unfortunately for KFC, their foray into the world of quirky hasn’t worked out and their ads featuring a real life Colonel Sanders (played by SNL’s Darrell Hammond) have not brought the conversions they hoped. See #1.

3. Be YOU (a.k.a. Don’t be someone you’re not).

I am going to guess you have heard of Lunchables. You may have even eaten them as a kid. But would you turn to the packaged lunch to power up before your workout as an adult? Lunchables P3 was a glorious failure when they tried to re-brand as your “Power Protein Pack”. On the flip side – UPS re-branded brilliantly with their “What can brown do for you” campaign, focusing in social media, marketing and advertising on how UPS helps ALL people (the CEO, the parent, the student, etc), and showing that by knowing who you are and showing people how you can help – profits can go up over 50%!

4. Don’t let the media define your brand for you.

A good rule in general – no one should define you, except for YOU. Unfortunately brands often get caught in trends created FOR them. Burberry went through a period of time in the early 2000’s when gang members were associated with their infamous plaid design and next thing you know, the designer label was being banned in multiple locations for gang association. Burberry brought on well known, sophisticated celebrities like Emma Watson and Kate Moss to change the face of the brand and has been wildly successful. Pabst Blue Ribbon did the same. Known in the U.S. as a cheap, frat beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon re-branded in China (known for their love of high end beer) as Blue Ribbon 1844 and runs $44 a bottle. Quite a difference!

There are a lot of branding success and failure stories. Do you have a fave? Have you ever re-branded a company? Comment below with your best tip!