Rebranding Essentials – Part 3: Rebranding Research

In Parts 1 and 2 of the Rebranding Essentials series, you learned about why rebrandings happen and the 10 steps of rebranding. You can follow the preceding links to read those posts now and catch up. Now, it’s time for Part 3 of the series which teaches you about the research you need to do before you can move forward to the creative process of rebranding.


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rebrandingTypes of Rebranding Research

You should never rebrand without conducting research to ensure that your reasons for rebranding are valid and that your goals for the rebranding are appropriate. You need to be certain that the direction of your rebranding matches consumer wants and needs for your brand (or the brand that you want to become). There are many types of research that you can conduct to ensure your rebranding is successful, including:

  • Brand awareness research
  • Brand perception research
  • Brand expectations research
  • Brand identity research
  • Brand loyalty research
  • Brand image research
  • Brand values research
  • Brand message research
  • Brand strategy research

Rebranding research includes both consumer and competitor research. You need to understand all aspects of the market where your brand will operate in order to create a rebranding initiative that correctly tells your brand story in a manner that consumers will accept and the marketplace will bear.

Quantitative, Qualitative, Internal, External – Cover All the Bases

Begin with qualitative research that helps you explore consumers and competitors. This is the stage in the rebranding process where you can gather valuable information related to consumer emotions and perceptions. Use this data to formulate your quantitative research surveys, so you can measure, compare and assess opportunities. Quantitative research can help you define audience segmentation, messaging, brand positioning, and brand creative.

Keep in mind, rebranding research can be done internally, too. Talk to and survey your employees, particularly front-facing employees like field sales representatives and customer service agents. These people talk to customers every day and have a wealth of information and insights to share. They can help you brainstorm ideas and form hypotheses that can be tested through consumer quantitative research.

Through your rebranding research, you’ll not only learn if a complete brand overhaul is necessary rather than a simple nip and tuck as well as what that new brand should promise to consumers.

dominos pizza

Domino’s provides a perfect example. This is a brand that consumers had a very specific perception of — cheap, fast pizza that doesn’t taste very good but is perfect for late night binges by college students. Domino’s wanted to change its brand image and set out on a rebranding mission that ended with not a radical rebrand but instead an attempt to change that consumer perception by addressing it head on. Domino’s changed its pizza recipe and rolled out commercials (check out the one shown below), online videos, websites, and social media profiles where the company talked openly about its reputation for cheap pizza that didn’t taste very good. The campaign worked and today, Domino’s sales are higher than ever.

Don’t assume you know what your employees and consumers want. You need to talk to them to be certain, and once you have that information, listen to it. Many well-known brands have skipped that step and suffered the consequences. Stay tuned for Part 4 of the Rebranding Essentials series to learn about some of those mistakes so you can avoid them.

If you missed previous parts of the Rebranding Essentials series, you can follow the links below to catch up:


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Image: stock.xchng, pizzaturnaround.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.