How to Breathe Life Into a Declining Brand

At some point, even the best performing brand will need a reboot to keep up with changing customer needs and market trends. There is more to resuscitating a dying brand than changing your logo or adopting a new tagline. Here are sure-fire ways to bring your brand back to life by making significant changes to the way you do business.

Refocus on the Original Value Offered

brand equityWith time, brands often veer off from their original mission and the value they set out to offer their customers. Financial pressure, trying to keep up with the competition and attempts to be everything to everyone can make your brand lose its initial appeal.

The antidote? Go back to the drawing board and explore what your brand initially meant to customers. The solution might be to refocus your brand back to its core business—that which drew customers to you in the first place.

A good example is Burberry, which was originally famous for its fashionable trench coats. Over the years, the company’s value to customers was eroded when it started offering too wide a range of products. In 2006, Angela Ahrendts took over Burberry as CEO and one of her first moves was to refocus the brand to the original value it offered its customers—fashionable trench coats. Going back to the basics in this way saw the company’s financial metrics grow significantly and the brand regained its place at the high-fashion table.

Look At Your Target Audience with New Eyes

If you have been in business long enough you may assume that you know and understand your target audience – that’s until your business is no longer booming. The truth is, what was initially your target audience may no longer be in need of your product offering and so you need to think about another demographic that may be able to engage with your brand in a valuable way.

Is your brand dying because you are targeting the wrong customer many years later and it’s time to target a new bunch of potential buyers?

Reach Out To Loyal Customers

Just because your brand is flailing does not mean that you need to let go of your old customers. Your loyal customers can help you see what’s missing and what you can do to win back their trust. It will not be easy to bring back customers who have left but it is possible by:

  • Reaching out to them for feedback on why they left
  • Incentivising them to come back by implementing changes based on the feedback; for example, by offering discounts, coupons and limited promotions.
  • Opening the communication lines by sending regular and personalised emails to make customers feel part of your new brand
  • Demonstrating your commitment to meet their needs by providing them with excellent customer service.

Tell a New Story

One of the best ways to infuse life into a dying brand is to refresh your story or create a new one altogether. Storytelling is about changing customers’ perception of your brand through content.

Bring your best advocates on board—employees and customers—to create a fresh story that conveys your brand’s values, mission and the value it offers to the community that makes the brand special.

From customer testimonials to behind the scenes videos, logo changes, press releases, brand colors and company mascots, all these encompass your brand story and ways to tell that story.

As mentioned, content is at the heart of retelling your brand story. Not only do you need to rehash (or even overhaul) your content strategy. You also need to think of new or engaging ways to convey content to your target audience. For example, if video has not been part of your strategy, then you probably should look into this form of media to create and convey your story.

Change the Look and Offer It Differently

Perhaps what your dying brand needs is a different look and some differentiation to get customers interested again. Changing a product’s packaging or the way you offer a service could change its value and therefore the way customers perceive it.

However, it is not enough to change how a product looks or how a service is delivered if no real value is offered. This is where differentiation comes in— you want to remind customers and prospects what sets you apart from the competition.

Stella Artois’ comeback is an example of a brand that quickly realised the need to change its brand perception by changing how it presented its beer products. Initially, the company had positioned itself as an upmarket beer brand but over the years lost its luster.

Stella’s solution was to branch out and create an array of beers to cater to the needs of a wider market. Instead of sticking to its old offering, this beer brand rethought its product and reassessed its target audience, and eventually decided to differentiate itself by providing different beer products for its new market.

It’s never a good idea to let your brand wither away. However, if this is the present position, take immediate action by realign it with your core business and more importantly, with your customers’ needs.

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