You always hear about companies “re-branding” themselves, but all too often it is a belief that by just changing a color scheme and logo they have reinvented themselves. This is hardly close to reality and re-positioning yourself relies more heavily on the nuts and bolts of your marketing strategies, message, corporate image, advertisements and promotional products. It also is usually accompanied by carrying new lines of products and/or services that change the way that their clients, and the market as a whole, views the entity.

Re-positioning your brand can’t truly be done overnight. It is often a phased migration that involves integral steps in the marketing mix. The brands that you perceived to re-position themselves overnight usually are the really small ones, who haven’t made a name for themselves yet, or the really big ones who have the millions of dollars it takes to manipulate perceptions of who they are. It should be noted that just because you saw a Super Bowl Ad that screams re-branding it doesn’t mean that the company hasn’t been taking sequential steps over the past year to get to that moment.

Within this subject, the one shining brand that comes to mind is “Samsung”. Remember them back in the day? They were known as specializing in memory chips and semiconductors. They were considered a “low-end manufacturer”. Through an expansion in consumer electronics, home entertainment, mobile phones and automation devices they have started to build some of the best products on the market. Coupled with an extensive marketing campaign that included Olympic Sponsorship and TV ads they are now one of the top quality brands; and the largest electronics conglomerate on earth. Personally, I own a Samsung refrigerator and home entertainment system and love them both. Their investment in quality & design has made me brand loyal even though I was one of those people that had them pegged as a low-end manufacturer. Amazing what some finely tuned brand re-positioning can do over the course of a decade.

Here are my tips to re-branding:

–You can put lipstick on a pig, but until you can build a better bacon no one is going to do a double-take. In other words, couple your visual re-branding efforts with some substantive differences in your products/services if you want people to take notice.

–While social media can get the word out, you should use your traditional website as the anchor for your marketing efforts. Do not neglect it. I can’t tell you how many small to medium business websites I come across which are obviously from the late 90s and companies just do not want to put the money or effort into changing it. They often just change the logo when they re-brand. “Just do it!”.

–You should re-brand your office! What better way to signal a change to your customers than to “WOW” them when they arrive at your office. What better signal to change than this?

–Use the re-branding as a reason to re-connect with dormant customers. It is a cue to them that you are thriving, evolving and ready for business. Sending them a great promotional products or promotional gift is always good for dormant customers as well.

–If the re-positioning is so dynamic and profound then it might be too much for your clients to digest all at once. In this case, it is best to come up with a strategy of phased bite-sized messages in order to easily communicate how your business is changing without overloading their circuits. This can also play into the previous point and give you more substantive reasons to contact dormant customers.