Choosing to rebrand: signs a new look is needed

Choosing to rebrand is one of the hardest marketing decisions a craft beverage brand has to make. Why? There’s the emotional investment made by owners and employees alike. Not to mention the money spent on marketing materials and merchandise. Then there’s the inherent risk that any new representation of your brand will alienate current customers. So, it’s no wonder the decision to rebrand is put off as long as possible…sometimes until after it’s too late. Which is why the team at Market Your Craft identified the 18 telltale signs that it’s time for a rebrand, giving your business tips to assess brand relevance in the market.

summary

Brand illustration for rebrand post

Your craft beverage brand is more than a name and logo: it’s the sum total of your product’s attributes and the experience employees and customers have with your company over time. Brands don’t have to mean the same thing to everyone because most of us don’t want to be told how to feel. You need to be transparent, credible and flexible, providing “cues” to help the individual define your brand in a way that is meaningful to them. Perception of your brand can change, sometimes quickly, due to market factors outside your control. And recognizing the signs leading to disengagement early on helps brands either course-correct or rebrand themselves in order to survive. 

the basics – internal influence

Distilling photo for rebrand postThe impact a strong, healthy brand has on team performance is often overlooked. Successful leaders know that clearly defining the company mission, goals and performance measures is crucial, especially in the crowded craft beverage space. These certainly help shape the brand story, but equally valuable is the experience, voice and personality that employees at all levels provide prospects and customers. If there’s a question as to whether you’ve built any equity in your current brand, we can help. Here are 8 internal signs that you might be due for a rebrand:

  1. The story no longer applies – the “Why” of your business has changed, so the original story you told yourself and your customers is similarly outdated.
  2. Your current clothes don’t fit – you’ve outgrown the brand. For example, you were once the scrappy competitor and you’re a market leader, so everything changes.
  3. You can’t find good talent – an experienced professional won’t join a team that lacks direction and clarity…unless you’re asking them to provide it for you.
  4. The strategy has changed – craft beverage brands sometimes change direction to capture new sales…is the original story equally nimble.
  5. There’s a new line of business – if your brand represents multiple products – for example craft beer and a new line of spiked seltzers – does the story apply to both.
  6. Your brand is dead weight – there are issues tied to the current brand that challenge growth, including legal, ill-will, reputation, owner fallout, etc.
  7. It doesn’t play well with others – the story and specifically the visuals associated with the brand are difficult to use in the real world, including print, digital, social, in-store and other applications.
  8. Owner prerogative – occasionally the owner card is played, forcing a change in direction in pursuit of a new initiative or bright, shiny object…it happens, it’s an X factor.

getting crafty – market factors

Customers shopping for wine at a wine shop for rebrand postIn The State Of Craft Beverage, we introduced a density map of all craft beverage producers in order to identify pockets opportunity in the United States. While there is plenty of room in states like Texas, Florida and Illinois for additional craft brands, the frightening truth is we’re nearing a saturation point (if not already in some geographies). With an average of 375+ craft producers per state, strong brand marketing along with thoughtful, strategic distribution and growth plans are essential for standing out versus blending in. Here are 5 market factors that may influence your decision to rebrand:

  1. The industry is evolving – if the demand for your craft beverage changes (positively or otherwise), will your brand story scale to match or will it become background noise.
  2. Sameness at shelf – will your packaging draw attention or get lost among a sea of competitors in the retail environment. Remember: no customer will ever care as much about your story as you do.
  3. Entering new markets – is your brand story just as relevant outside your home locale.
  4. Shifting political climate – there’s a difference between brands with a strong voice and those with strong positions that could be polarizing to customers.
  5. Price increase – when operating cost or selling environment dictate taking price to compete, does the brand story help justify the increase.

We’ve found understanding your competitors and building a marketing plan and budget provide the direction and resources necessary to help carve a niche in a crowded craft beverage market.  

behind-the-curtain – customer engagement

Young adults enjoying a beer photo for rebrand postA room full of your friends. A high-energy club. Your go-to drink at a favorite bar. When something just feels right, we call that vibe. Do you have a sense of what vibe your brand is giving customers? The most successful brands are authentic to the core and live their brand stories every day. Remember, we can only give clues and hints why they might vibe with us – they must decide for themselves how they value the engagement. With that in mind, five contributors to customer apathy include:

  1. It’s complicated – the simple truth, what the customer is after, gets lost or is too difficult to discover. They frankly won’t waste time searching for meaning.
  2. Social backlash – beyond digital channels, the brand has a reputation for not caring deeply about the customer. And people are talking about it.
  3. Product inconsistency – your craft beverage misses opportunities to show a strong [retail] presence by offering no visual cues tying different products together under the same brand.
  4. You’re younger than you look – your brand may just look outdated, which unconsciously shapes a customer’s opinion.
  5. You can’t relate – your brand – and perhaps your product – doesn’t fit nicely into the macro and micro trends shifting the direction of the craft beverage industry.

With onsite workshops, video tutorials and a suite of marketing engagement services, Market Your Craft can work with you to improve your brand vibe.  

September 2019 content calendar – including GABF!

Social Setting image for rebrand postYour customers require more engagement from social, but who has the time or the creativity to keep up? Ditch the whiteboard and start the month of September with more than 60 attention-grabbing ideas to help design a content calendar that delivers traffic, clicks and sales. Available for purchase from Market Your Craft, our Social Setting Calendar gives you confidence you’re getting the most out of social each month. In it you’ll find timely and topical talking points; lesser-known craft holidays worth messaging; and recos on ways to share your brand story, culture and energy with followers and fans.

September, 2019 | 1.8 MB, 39 pagesAvailable for purchase and immediate download >

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