13 Effective Methods To Help You Keep Customer Loyalty While Rebranding

Modern technologies have enabled companies to get to know their target audience better than ever before. As such, many businesses choose to use customer data to evolve in order to suit their customers’ needs. Rebranding is an effort to better a company’s connection with their audience, but it can leave intended consumers unsure.

So, what is the best way for companies to shift their brand in order to better speak to today’s customers, while also minimizing a divided reception? Below, members of Forbes Agency Council share their most effective methods for shifting their branding, while retaining new and old customers alike.

1. Involve Your Audience In The Journey

Consumers no longer live at the end of the funnel. They are influential brand citizens, expect to have a voice and often have a lot to say about a brand and its positioning. If you enroll them as advocates and partners in the process, rather than springing dramatic shifts on them, they'll be more loyal and prone to defend the new branding or positioning among their peers and external audiences. - Daryl McCullough, Citizen Relations

2. Maintain Functionality

After a brand reconstruction, your app and website should retain similar functionality so consumers don’t get confused. Changes to your copy may deter divided customers, so be sure to refrain from overhauling your layout or design. Additionally, sending out a mass email to your users explaining any changes or shifts in your product will keep consumers updated and aware. - Timothy Nichols,ExactDrive, Inc

3. Don't Depart From Your Main Message

People are often resistant to change, but you can minimize drama by shifting in a direction that is new but not unfamiliar to your base. Do this by highlighting aspects of your values or mission statement that are more aligned with the direction you're going in. If the message is different but still familiar, you have less chance of hard resistance. - Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

4. Pick Your Creative And Strategy Team Wisely

When looking to shift your brand to speak to a new generation, those are the consumers who should be directly involved in the strategy and brainstorming leading up to the shift. A creative team comprised exclusively of the target consumers will allow the organization to capture vital messaging, brand reactions and create a brand that truly speaks to its demographic. - Danielle SabrinaTribe Builder Media

5. Prepare Your Audience For The Change

Most people don’t like change. Period. Brands need to keep in mind who they are trying to attract and whether or not a rebrand is worth losing a percentage of their existing customers in order to gain a new client base. Brands should also launch “something new is coming” campaigns to prepare the public, priming them for the upcoming rebrand. Launch the campaign and start listening! - Bernard May,National Positions

6. Focus On Making It Easier

Data today provides a vast variety of options. But many consumers are overwhelmed by too many choices, causing them to be less satisfied and abandon a brand. Regardless of the shift, companies succeed as they build valuable relationships with customers and make the user experience more comfortable and more robust for them to buy and consume what they truly desire. - Cagan Sean Yuksel,GRAFX CO.

7. Communicate Why You're Rebranding

Companies that want to rebrand for a modern audience need to own the shift and transparently communicate why they’re rebranding, who they’re speaking to and what they’re doing differently to be better. Transparency on key learnings, research and development and future goals will ensure a seamless transition, especially if a comprehensive customer service protocol is accessible and responsive to Q&As. -Scott Kellner, GPJ Experience Marketing

8. Lose The Meek And Weak Marketing

You can't make everyone happy -- and that shouldn't be the goal. As long as you stay authentic and don't try to be something you're not, then be bold. You may polarize consumers, but at least they are talking about you. While some people didn't like that IHOP converted to IHOB, everyone understood that their menu was broader than just pancakes, perhaps for the first time. Mission accomplished. - Sean Looney, Looney Advertising & Branding

9. Do The Math

Deciding on a dramatic rebrand for a long-established brand requires a very calculated assessment to weigh the potential gain from new consumers against the potential loss of established and loyal customers. If that proves out, the next step is to map out a plan that includes strategies for engaging the at-risk brand loyalists in the rebranding process. - Keri Witman, Cleriti

10. Focus On Appealing To Your Core Market

It’s hard to avoid a divided reception during a rebranding. Companies seeking to rebrand should analyze their key markets and gauge their reaction. A perfect example is Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign. Though it seemed like a gamble, it’s clear Nike ran the numbers and determined that their core market would approve. The outliers were inconsequential against the support of their key consumers. - Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

11. Keep Early Adopters In Mind

Maybe people really are more divided than ever. But if there's one trait most people share, it's resistance to change. Whether you're looking to expand your market or remain relevant to your existing customers, don't leave your early adopters behind in the dust. Keep in mind the core products and promises that led your most fiercely loyal customers to become loyal in the first place. - Kristopher Jones,LSEO.com

12. Be True To What You Believe In

Authenticity is at the heart of any successful rebrand. If your brand promise and value proposition align with the redefined brand, you will have a better opportunity to succeed. If the rebrand is seen as a superficial shift to chase a trend in the market, it has less of a chance to be accepted. - Chris Cavanaugh, Freeman

13. Shift Your Brand Gradually And Consistently

Truth: As you read this, your brand is becoming outdated. The best way to shift your brand is to do it gradually and consistently all the time. Have you ever looked at an old picture of yourself after gaining weight? You might not have noticed before, but it's glaringly apparent now. Avoid a similar effect on your brand by listening to the market and making small changes to adapt it every year. - Benjamin Collins,Laughing Samurai

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/11/26/13-effective-methods-to-help-you-keep-customer-loyalty-while-rebranding/#47a2185ae439