VW, Chipotle, Samsung, BlackBerry, Enron…What do these companies have in common? They were, or are, brands in crisis. And, what about companies that manufacture floppy disks, fax machines, VCRs and cassette tapes? Their brands became irrelevant because competitors found ways to do “it” better. Then there are those laundry detergent balls that look like candy, smart phones that spontaneously combust. In the mortgage industry, we can all think of certain mortgage products or company types that have a certain stigma attached to them due to an outdated or poor understanding of how a mortgage product works or who it is intended to help.
There are also positive things that impact brands, such as undergoing a merger/acquisition, a frequent occurrence in the mortgage industry. Or, how about a technological advance that reduces the cost of manufacturing a mortgage or making the mortgage process faster. These things often require companies to reflect on their true identities – who they are and where they’re headed.
Whenever a brand is significantly impacted, be it positively or negatively, it’s only natural – and often necessary – to rebrand. And by that we mean either re-establishing your current brand or replacing it all together with something new. To do this, you must identify your company’s unique set of distinctions – those qualities that are meant to make a noteworthy and positive difference in your customers’ lives. If that sounds like a tall order, it is – and not something you should enter lightly.
Before you set about the business of rebranding, there are three things you should ask yourself about your motivations and commitment to the effort:
- What do I hope to accomplish through rebranding? Think in terms of renewed relevance, meaning, and/or purpose. Do you want to launch a rebranding effort because of a negative reputation or negative press? Is it because you are changing your business strategy? Are you attempting to attract different customers? Is it because the company is expanding or contracting its products and services? Or, is it necessary due to a merger or acquisition? If you’re not clear about why you must rebrand and what you hope to accomplish, it will be very easy to get off track and lose your way.
- Am I committed to doing whatever is necessary to bring my new brand to life? Ask yourself these things: Am I willing to part with employees who will no longer fit a desired culture? Am I able to make the necessary financial investment? Can I accept the loss of customers who will no longer be able to be serviced? Am I ready, willing and able to “sell” naysayers on why a rebrand is necessary and what the new brand should be? Can I let go of the positive brand equity that will no longer be a part of the new brand? These questions are pertinent because rebranding requires a sincere willingness to change – in the way you think, how you act, and what you believe in.
- Do I have the respect and support of my employees to make sure our rebranding efforts will be successful? Now you must honestly assess your staff, your relationship with them, and whether they’ll “have your back” as you embark on rebranding. Now answer these questions: Are my employees a bunch of (insert desired expletive here)? Do my employees think I’m an (insert desired expletive here)? Will my employees be willing to work extra hours, extra hard and support me and my organization when met with obstacles and adversity? Are my employees willing to embrace change? In the end, your rebranding efforts will pay off only when your employees are totally on board with you and what you hope to accomplish.
The rebranding process requires a commitment of time (and money), and will involve every member of your company. And, know that once you’ve put the process in motion, there is no easy way turn back. So, answer those three questions honestly before embarking on the rebranding process. In the end, you’ll be happy you did.
— John Seroka (@johnseroka) November 6, 2016