It has been said that every day, companies either gain market share or lose market share. When it is growing, there is more energy, enthusiasm and perhaps even a little sense of invincibility in an organization. When market share begins to wane, however, it creates a domino effect of problems. It can lead to finger-pointing, second-guessing and internal strife.
Consistently increasing market share takes diligence, creativity, and hard work. It also takes establishing and building a strong brand identity. But even that may not be enough if everyone is not on the same page in embracing that brand identity. After all, if your own team members either don’t understand or believe in your brand identity, how can you expect your customers to?
We’ve all experienced it. A solid, stable customer disappears because someone over-promised, under-delivered or failed to follow up. Often, a more senior member of the team will step in to do damage control. If they are successful at salvaging the relationship, it validates their position within the company. Perhaps, however, they just had a deeper understanding of your mission and brand identity.
If there is an internal disconnect with your brand identity, it is easy to see how customers and potential customers could experience that same confusion. Loss of market share is often the result.
An article published on SmartInsights and written by our CEO, Christine, addresses the dangers of this identity crisis and offers some examples of major companies who have gone through it. The article discusses how companies like Harley-Davidson, Apple, McDonald’s, and others have, or are working through, an identity crisis.
If market share is slipping, it may be time to pause, take stock and get creative. It could be time to reevaluate and sharpen your mission. It may be an opportunity for a rebrand.
New companies will often take days or weeks in developing a mission statement that describes their purpose and values. Once established, however, that mission may just become a series of words in a frame in the lobby. It is possible that your mission has become out of line with your market. That shift could be partly due to technology, the growing importance of convenience, or other trends.
Many organizations can benefit with a fresh look at their mission, starting with individual meetings with department heads. Using open-ended questions, these key people should be asked about how they view the mission of their department and how it differs from that of the organization. How do they perceive the role their department plays in the mind of consumers? What can or should they be doing to build more trust with customers and potential customers? You just may find a disconnect between departments that could create brand identity issues. You could discover your mission is outdated or not being communicated.
Once you reestablish your purpose and values by refocusing your mission statement, its time to build the foundation of your rebrand. By once again enlisting the assistance of your department heads, you should identify your strengths. This will often naturally lead to uncovering weaknesses that need to be managed. Some key clients may be asked to offer their input. What are the misperceptions people have about your organization and how did they get those misperceptions? Who are your competitors and how does the market perceive them? Encourage those involved to be straightforward and honest with their thoughts.
Marketing isn’t done in a void. You have to consider opportunities and threats but it is most frequently best to build your rebrand from your strengths. When Kentucky Fried Chicken rebranded as KFC, it played to their strength: “chicken” while downplaying a weakness: “fried.” Since the official rebrand in 1991, KFC was more easily able to add menu items like hot wings, sandwiches, and grilled chicken.
Your marketing dream team could include a small group of creative people, those skilled in analytics and, of course, marketing. This is where outside professional assistance can be invaluable. This smaller team should work on what was discussed and discovered in revisiting your mission and strengths and weaknesses. They will want to include factors including competition and perceptions. Brainstorm how you want consumers to perceive you, how you can build more trust, and connect on a deeper level with them. Explore examples of other companies who have successfully rebranded. Discover how they looked at their organization from new angles and through fresh eyes.
Getting input from your best customers is an excellent idea on several levels. Asking their opinion is generally perceived as a sign of respect. They already value your product or service. It strengthens your bonds with them and they have a unique perspective from the “other side of the fence.” They will also likely become good ambassadors for your new brand.
Discuss the ideas your team has come up with, getting their feedback. This is also a good opportunity to do some “A-B” testing on multiple concepts.
It would be a rare situation where an organization couldn’t benefit from taking the above steps, even if it confirms you are close to, or on, the right path. It can provide energy, clarity and bring team members and departments together. It can create powerful, positive results for an organization who is losing market share and has either lost or outgrown its identity.
Yes, every day companies are losing market share or gaining market share. If you are not growing, it may be time to move forward with a rebrand.