Rebranding. What’s the point?

The value of a brand is a very important thing.

Look at Volkswagen. Their apparent dishonesty has caused more than a little dent in what was once an extremely strong reputation. The trust built over so many years when Doyle Dane Bernbach wrote ads like ‘Lemon’ and 'Think small’ to sell Germany’s people’s car to an unsuspecting American population has been very badly damaged.

VW. One of the strongest brands in the world, created by some of the best advertising in the world, a proverbial car crash overnight. Whatever they had been doing to make their cars seem cleaner has certainly made the brand a bit of a dirty word right now.

One thing’s for sure. No doubt you’ll be able to cough up a little less for a new Volkswagen at the moment.

Ok, so back to rebranding. As a marketing agency, we often talk about the value of brand storytelling and consistent messaging. If a recognisable brand and familiar style are so important, then why change them? In the first of five blogs about rebranding, we explain why Fifth Ring has rebranded and what we hope to achieve by it.

First of all, we need to pin down what a brand is.

Harder than you’d think.

It’s more than your logo. It’s more than who you think you are. It’s a term that ties together internal and external perceptions of a company, product or service.

Companies want to develop a brand that will elicit instantaneous, favourable associations between an entity and some positive factors: “That company is generous,” “That product is reliable,” “They care about their customers.” These associations can be nuanced, with the brand capturing character as well as direction.

But what happens when you discover that those correlations are no longer valid? What do you do when the associations that your stakeholders make are not consistent with your current business position, or your goals? You need to change people’s perceptions.

That means rebranding.

Although identity is only part of what makes up a brand, it is the most visible and tangible part of the brand image. If you want to make a clear statement that things have changed, or to rectify stakeholder misconceptions, your identity is the most obvious place to start.

That’s not to say that you won’t need to also look at clarity of vision, strategy and the behaviour of your people. All of these contribute to your brand, and the opinions of your own employees can make or break the rollout of any imposed change. In the B2B space, rebranding can be as much about unifying your staff behind a change of strategy or direction as it is about influencing external perceptions.

So why has Fifth Ring rebranded?

We found a lack of clarity about who we are and what we stand for. And we wanted to address that misunderstanding. We also wanted to bring our values and ethos closer to stakeholder perceptions, showing them graphically in a way that weren’t shown in the past. By rebranding, we hope to bring people’s thoughts about Fifth Ring into alignment with our offering and the direction we are moving in.

Rebranding should never be a case of change for change’s sake. It’s a change for one, very important reason: to recalibrate understanding.