Increasingly affordable renewables, coupled with consumers’ sensitivity to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, are driving a profound shift in energy markets worldwide. Nowhere is this more apparent than in brand equity, and the trust levels displayed by the public towards traditional energy businesses versus green, dynamic start-ups.
Rebranding is a powerful tool to close this gap, as long as it relies on increasing authenticity in communications, and bringing new, green corporate values to the forefront of corporate communications. As consumers grow more receptive to corporations which promote renewable energies and modern ethical policies, the corporate desire to adopt branding which will convey a more modern sense of green, ethical ambitions continues to grow.
How do you rebrand successfully, and convey an authentic message to audiences in the age of post-truth? Well, it takes time and preparation from brand creation, through clearance for use across multiple platforms, to protection and maintenance of the new brand and any legacy goodwill. The first step is to design and/or select your new branding. There are a number of factors which feed into which brand is right for your company.
Here are five key considerations to bear in mind when creating your refreshed branding.
1. Start with your company’s chosen direction and corporate vision
Your new brand must reflect your vision and philosophy so it is important that you have settled the company’s approach before beginning the re-branding process. Consider the company’s direction, goals and vision. How does the business want the brand to be perceived and how does the business want the brand to develop and grow? Only once you have settled the business philosophy can you move on to consider what branding will suitably reflect your company.
2. What connections and associations do you want your consumers to make with the company?
Consumers are more aware and receptive than ever. A growing number of consumers take account of a company’s attitude to social responsibility, the environment, community and ethics when making purchasing decisions. Consider what it is that you want consumers to associate with your company and your products and services. For instance, do you want your brand to convey the company’s dedication to its social responsibility, or is the priority to relay that your products and services are forward thinking, innovative or environmentally sustainable? You should also continue to keep the same thoughts in mind when considering brand ambassadors and business partners.
3. Is your brand sustainable?
You may be taking steps to ensure your products or services are sustainable from an environment and ethical point of view, but is your brand sustainable? In this fast-paced consumer driven market your new brand should be suitable for use across numerous platforms and materials and adaptable in the event of the emergence of any new platforms.
4. Regulatory requirements
Many countries have regulations about the use of words such as “green” and “sustainable”, which aim to protect consumers from the misuse of such words by companies and in advertising. You should ensure that you are familiar with such regulatory requirements when contemplating your new brand options.
5. Makings of a successful brand?
Eventually, the business should get to a stage where it has a few options to choose from. The final consideration in narrowing down to the short list is whether each of the options has the makings of a successful brand? You should consider whether the re-brand options are distinctive, original and memorable. Our earlier article on picking the right brand name is available here.
Once you have chosen a brand or a short list of options, the heavy lifting begins. Rebranding can be a delicate exercise involving a number of challenges which, if not carefully managed, can cause irreversible damage to both the new and incumbent brands. For our thoughts on these challenges and how to properly address them, please refer to our previous post in the ‘Rebranding in the energy market’ series, available here.
Rebranding is no longer an exceptional instance; it has become a natural step in the development of an organisation, and a key contributor to its long-term growth. The amount of research and preparation to support a successful rebrand should not be underestimated. But hard work often reaps reward – if done correctly, a rebrand can enhance and clarify your corporate strategy, refresh your company identity and create unity across your organisation.
If you are considering or are already involved in a corporate rebranding, speak to a member of our IP Team to discuss our Corporate Rebranding Checklist which is designed to help companies navigate the myriad of issues and timelines that will arise, from brand creation and clearance for use across multiple platforms, to protection and maintenance, and how these can be managed, in the context of your own timeframe to launch.