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Is it time to rebrand your business?

BUSINESS UNUSUAL
By | May 3rd 2012

By PETER KAMURI

For the last few years, Mary Nyambura has been running a small hotel business near Gikomba Market in Nairobi City. Of late, however, sales have been plummeting and the future looks bleak. She is now worried that her business might not survive this stormy economic times.

Just like Nyambura, many small businesses are facing a downturn as the number of customers streaming in dwindles and the economy suffers. Although different entrepreneurs have different turnaround strategies, rebranding a business is perhaps the best method that can help bail you out.

"Running a business the same way for a long time can lead to stagnation due to loss of business. When this happens, you need to breathe new life into it. This can be achieved by injecting change — which can be a complete overhaul or a few modifications," says Andrew Ogola, a financial advisor.

"Good rebranding ideas can ensure that the business sails right through to better and more successful economic times. That is why rebranding is important," he points out.

"When you rebrand a business, it is like redefining your business and passing on information to your customers about what you are offering. This means the brand you create is what says what your business stands for. It follows therefore that a strong brand can make your business stand out from the others especially in a competitive environment," he adds.

Look unique

He points out that branding makes your product or business more visible as it looks unique. This way, you can attract more customers since your business stands out from others.

"Another advantage of branding your business or products is that you are likely to fetch more as customers are always willing to visit your business or pay more for a branded product than for one that is not branded," he adds.

Carolyn Kirui, a financial expert working in Nairobi says branding is one way of increasing public acknowledgment of your business or product.

"It helps create a connection or a bond with your customers and in the end, you are able to make money as they will buy your products and services."

"Rebranding helps to set yourself apart from your competitors as you become more visible. That is why you should establish a brand with a strong memorable visual appeal. It should also have a moving message that will make your customers respond positively," says Kirui.

She the rebranding process begins with the formulation of a compelling mission statement and a memorable logo that will give your business an edge.

"The name, sign and the design you use should be able to identify the goods and services you sell. This should differentiate your business or services from others."

"When you have a good brand, the message will be delivered clearly. It is also able to motivate your potential customers and user loyalty is enhanced," she observes.

She also adds that the needs and requirements of your customers must be clear if the branding effort is to be successful.

"Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of customers and clients."

Kirui points out that the whole essence of rebranding is about change, and so you must be able to discard some of the things you have done as a tradition for many years.

"You must think of a strong brand as this is important if you are to win a better share of customers in a competitive market. You should spend time researching and defining your brand if it will be compelling," she says.

Problem areas

"Again, you need to talk to the various players like your employees, experts and your customers to their opinion about your business. This will help you know what they like and what they do not. This way, you will know areas you can improve on," she adds.

Once you identify the key issues in your business, analyse them critically and determine which ones you will adjust to suit your business. For example, do you need to change names? Do you need to change your distribution channels? Or do you need to streamline the marketing strategies?

"It is important to define your branding objectives clearly. Remember that when you have a strong brand, you build credibility and have more influence on your market. So ask yourself what you want the brand to do for the company and what others say about your product and services," he adds.

But even as you contemplate the rebranding message, it is important to keep the entire process simple.

"Have a work plan on how you will go about the changes that you want to execute. You need split the activities and allocate them realistic timelines when they should be started and completed. Define the roles of different people who will be involved," advises Ogola.

Marketing plan

"Rebranding is usually a dynamic part of your business marketing plan. It is an invaluable way to allow your business to stand apart from those you are competing with, and be able to identify your potential customers and win their confidence," Ogola concludes.

 

 

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