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The past few years have brought many changes to our lives. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many businesses have adapted and transitioned to new business models at an unprecedented rate. Others have rocked themselves, giving them new names, shapes, and sometimes domain names in the process. And many have found themselves in both categories, adjusting their public side to reflect changes that are taking place internally. Among these companies are Facebook (now Meta) and mobile payment company Square (now Block).
Why now? While companies rebrand for a variety of reasons, there are several catalysts behind this recent wave. Below is a potential explanation of the changes, along with implications, if you plan to rebrand your own business with the momentum of the moment.
Rebranding to reflect internal changes
Companies tend to rebrand when their names or images have become outdated due to external or internal changes. Internal changes that drive a company to rebrand include other customer bases it seeks to attract, new products/services, or mergers or acquisitions.
In October 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the media titans would be rebranding as Meta, an homage to the rising metaverse. Block (formerly Square) has also changed its name to better summarize its expanded product portfolio and growing interest in blockchain technology. Both brands signal to investors that the company will devote more resources to exploring these new areas, demonstrating that it is more than just the same technology as its previous name. Once established as standalone platforms, Meta and Block are now major players in the technology industry.
Mergers and acquisitions, which tend to cause internal restructuring, promote a company’s rebranding. 74% of S&P Global 100 companies There is good reason to rebrand the acquired property within 7 years of the acquisition. When Brand Finance studied all public acquisitions with deals over $500 million from 2015 to 2020, they found that acquisitions that did not rebrand were 56% more likely to cause significant business damage to acquirers. Rebranding following major internal changes can help build a new company culture and change direction for both employees and customers.
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On the other hand, external societal changes can cause companies to question their long-term relevance and trigger rebranding. that much Dunkin Donuts rebranding Dunkin, for example, can be described as a major shift in American views on food. study of Archer Daniels Midland 77% of Americans found that they plan to take steps to be healthier in the future. Dunkin’ Donuts decided to drop the word donuts from its name and simply change it to Dunkin’ in 2019 to remain relevant during this change of soaring plant-based diets and growing sugar vigilance.
Dunkin’s rebranding could be attributed to a greater health consciousness, but a shift in social consciousness could account for a change in the brand previously known as Washington Redskins and Aunt Jemima. In the summer of 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement continued to spark deep-seated conversations about race. Aunt Jemima and the Washington Redskins met a backlash for using language and imagery rooted in racial stereotypes, changing their names to Pearl Milling Company and Washington Commanders respectively. Brands that trade in racial stereotypes that are not flattering risk being disobeyed or appearing outrightly aggressive as public perceptions of racial issues change. What was once tolerated or ignored has become unacceptable and out of date.
But perhaps the pandemic has made the biggest difference. According to McKinsey, 75% of Americans have changed their shopping behavior and brand as a result, and numerous brands have had to shift their brand or value proposition to adapt to new audiences and consumer needs. Meta’s rebranding was a way to capitalize on emerging markets and move away from the controversy surrounding the Facebook name, but it’s hard to imagine this strategic move would have happened so quickly if we hadn’t been locked into our homes for a year. Commenting on the benefits of the metaverse, Zuckerberg said, “No matter how far away we are actually, it will be like being right there with people.”
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Takeaways for brands and businesses
As the brands above show, rebranding can be a smart strategy to stay relevant and reflect enterprise-wide change to customers, but it can also be a large-scale operation. Luckily, a little bit of thinking ahead can go a long way. If you are considering rebranding your own business, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Determine the scope of the change. First, determine the amount of change your audience can accept. Some companies make minor modifications, while others, like Block, have completely overhauled their names and brands. Block decided to give the parent company a new name, look and feel, but kept the product intact. The change was important to the company itself, but had little impact on the people who use its products and services, so it didn’t alienate customers.
Establish a communication strategy: A communication plan is critical to maintaining customer trust and confidence. Be clear about why you’re rebranding and leverage all the channels you use to connect with your customers and audience. Reassure them that their experience with your company will not change as a result of your new identity or will only change for the better.
Domain Name Inventory: When rebranding, a domain name is an important tool to convey a new focus and value. Aligning your domain with your new brand name will help you create a consistent digital identity. Choose domains that are short, memorable, and descriptive, without confusing prefixes, suffixes, or hyphens. A descriptive domain that uses meaningful keywords to the left and right of the dots to tell your audience who you are and what you do is a great option. Helping your new brand name be engraved in the minds of your audience and customers. Some examples are oat.haus and switchboard.live.
Think critically about your digital identity: Rebranding should be the foundation for success in a fast-changing world. With the advent of the metaverse, it is important for brands to have a cohesive identity that summarizes who they are and why they matter. Focus on your voice, your image, your domain name, and what each of them communicates to your customers.
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Embracing change in uncertain times
Brands will continue to reshape their image as we simultaneously recover from the pandemic and embrace new economic and social shifts from the rise of blockchain to greater social and health consciousness.
The world will change, and those who seize the opportunity to capture new customers, audiences and markets are the first ones that come to mind while others risk being left behind. Some will face change with resistance, others will embrace new standards and capitalize on new opportunities. Which group will you belong to?