At the start of the pandemic, Livestrong quietly completed a corporate rebrand. The organization whose yellow wristbands could be seen on the arms of hardcore athletes urgently needed a reinvention after years of rapidly declining donations and revenues.
Of course, throughout the rebranding process that was largely ignored by the press, Lance Armstrong was nowhere to be found. The organization has desperately tried to separate itself from a scandal that took place almost a decade ago.
At its peak, Livestrong raked in more than $40 million in donations annually. But, according to the most recent data available, donations and revenue had slowed to an anemic $2.5 million annually.
To Rebrand or Not
A crisis of reputation is often the start of a rebranding. Some would say it’s the only way out of a brand crumbling around a disgraced leader or massive corporate misstep.
But, rebranding often isn’t the cure-all that crisis PR experts often herald as the panacea for any problem. The paltry donation stream of Livestrong almost ten years after Lance Armstrong was pushed out of the organization is a testament to that.
So when should you consider not rebranding? Here are a few compelling reasons to keep the baby even after the bathwater is tossed.
Problems within the organization
It is worth noting that much of a company’s brand is external to what happens within the organization- not all, but most. The problems inside an organization are internal, and rebranding due to internal problems only creates more discontent as it doesn’t address the underlying issue.
Need Something To Talk About
Customers don’t care what you think of your brand. Customers care about what your brand does for them- how it solves their problems. Realigning your Mission, Vision, and Values is mainly for internal consumption.
There is an overabundance of content your customers sift through every day. Your new logo does not generate consequential news with enough force to break through the noise of everyday life.
Customers don’t care.
New Senior Leadership
The easiest way for new leadership to make a splash upon arrival is to make structural changes to the brand. But, as the Livestrong example shows us, no amount of design, logo change, or message change makes a difference in customers’ lives.
If the new branding and messaging don’t change the strategic direction, the value proposition, or the same direction of the company, there’s no compelling need to go through the rebranding process.
It’s Something We Do Because It’s Time
Business is tough, and the speed of business is very fast. There is some thought that a brand must reinvent itself every so often to remain relevant and competitive. As the competitive landscape changes, a brand can and should demonstrate the ability to adapt to meet new challenges. Rarely does that communication need to be done through a rebrand.
There are good reasons to rebrand. Your company’s internal and external brand perceptions aren’t aligned. Perhaps, you’re losing relevance, and you need brand revitalization. Or, it’s time to reach a new audience. No matter the reason, it definitely requires careful consideration as it often can harm the brand more than it helps. But, a rebrand done thoughtfully and with the customer’s needs at the center of the process can open the door to new possibilities and success.