5 Red Flags That Your Startup Needs Rebranding

You probably know the situation too well. A new successful startup emerges on the digital sky, and its KPIs are skyrocketing. Perhaps, its founders analyzed the market needs and promptly satisfied them — to everyone’s entertainment and joy. After some time, the halo of popularity begins to dim. The startup founders bury their heads in their hands and start contemplating what they have done wrong.

Generally, there are two main variants of the outcome: either they’re bound to close the enterprise (say, they’ve run out of money or sponsors and went bankrupt), or they still have some better options to light up the business star. The rebranding option often remains out of the table: young startups love their concepts too much (and paid a lump of money for their creation). For no good reason, budding business owners would rather close it altogether than analyze faults and come up with a new identity. This article will show how to understand that your company needs rebranding (or, at least, a more thorough brand strategy). Read on to sparkle!

Nowadays, Lemon.io is a booming freelance marketplace connecting IT specialists from Eastern Europe with Western companies. Back in 2015, it was born under a different name, its founders had different aims, and the idea underlying the brand was also pretty different. Coding Ninjas appeared as an “Uber for developers”: you had a straightforward IT task, we had a pool of developers, you paid us, we matched your task with the available specialist. When most of their clients searched full-time specialists for lengthy projects, the founder felt it needed rebranding. The change of Coding Ninjas into Lemon.io wasn’t just a name and design shift: the company rethought its approaches, defined new strategic aims — and skyrocketed in the pandemic times when the world started relying on digital reality much more than before.

Photo: Mindandi

What can notify startups about the need for rebranding? Below are a few pieces of advice from Lemon.io.

1. Is your working model a working one? If no, change it — and rebrand

Keep up with your business indicators. If your working model does not comply with growth, think over the changes. If your brand identity is closely tied with your business profile, change it too. Don’t act whimsically — all the branding alterations should be looked at from a business standpoint. (Having paid for the new logo and mascot that emerged out of the blue, untied to the strategic thinking, you’ll probably lose that money forever.) The first step to working model adjustment should be its definition and planning.

2. Do you have a distinct brand identity? If no, sharpen it — and rebrand

Human attention span has shortened drastically. Nobody ever returns to dull websites, boring pictures leave no visible trace in the memory, dusty words never sell. Have you ever imagined your brand as a live person? And what about your general customer portrait? If not, it’s high time to start thinking over the brand persona and the client profile during your brand sessions. A 30-year-old MIT graduate’s tastes are entirely different from those of a 50-year-old plumber. If your service speaks the teenager’s vocabulary, it can be boring for the rich and mature. (If it uses pale academic words, it will be deadly annoying for anyone out there.)

If your brand just doesn’t presuppose the brand persona, rebrand and think over it from scratch.

3. Do all your media channels (website, social networks) work as you want them to? Modify them — and rebrand

Medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan once put it. If you don’t have the SMM strategy, you won’t conquer the market. How will people learn about your successes and failures? Where will they read about your products? Last but not least — can they contact you? If your brand does not presuppose active social media involvement, don’t be amazed that it’s unpopular. (Remember: no pale dull words!)

Nowadays, all kinds of products can have unrestricted access to all the channels, and essential commodities enjoy more media popularity than luxury products because they target an endlessly broad audience.

4. Does your brand have a value and association chain? Does that chain lead where you want it to? If no, create it — and rebrand

Have you ever played the association game with the brand names? What associations are tied to yours? Have you thought over the company values? Are they clear and reflected in the products? All these heavy-loaded questions lead us to two theses: 1) you can’t sell emptiness; 2) the product without a background is bleak.

Follow the association chains together with the people from the various consumer categories. The revelation that they think differently can lead to potentially successful targeted innovations.

5. Don’t be the clone!

Clones are suitable only for scientific experiments. The marketing world can’t stand duplicities, so if the niche you’ve been occupying is packed to the brim, watch out for the companies that don’t allow you to be remembered. You can provide the same services. You can have the same target audience — heck, you can even have similar names. If the described world needs no further introduction for you — think over rebranding.

We hope that our practical tips can help someone rethink the brand strategy and reinvent themselves — conquering a particular segment of the edgeless consumer universe.
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