Redesign or rebrand without compromising your product’s identity


You start with perception. It’s crucial to understand the difference between redesigning and rebranding. The decision to redesign or rebrand your product depends on whether you wish you just polish the look and feel of your product or go deeper and question why your product exists. Your strategy will depend on the perception of your customers and how they connect with your brand emotionally.

When you redesign, you know your brand’s purpose and all you do is modify the way it is presented to your customers. Redesign, effectively, follows trends, which usually start in the US, Europe and then adopted across the world. Every new restaurant has a modern, polished and urban interior because that’s the latest trend in the market. Redesign could be hit or a miss; it could be well received or could alienate a restaurant’s existing customers. This is because redesign doesn’t take into account all the aspects of the human emotional connection with a brand or a product.

Redesign need not be limited to making aesthetic changes to your product alone, unless your product and business are already successful. However, if you are facing a fundamental issue with your product and difficulty in retaining your customers, then rebranding is the way to go.

A business gets repeat customers because of consistency and a clear communication of what the brand represents.  A redesign won’t fix a failing business, product, or service. A rebrand will deal with the core of the problem, which is generally the product. Therefore, a rebranding exercise starts with a fresh look at your product and its various elements – ingredients, flavours, nutrition – and clarifying the purpose of that product. A rebrand also involves studying all the elements that make up human emotions and their overall impact on the brand.

If you have a product that you want to be perceived as healthy in the market, then it needs to have those elements in its ingredients. Redesigning that product packaging or communication will not get consumers to believe that it is healthy, because the product will not live up to its promise.

When you’ve identified the problem areas of your business or product, and if you choose to do that rebrand or redesign yourself, make sure you look at your brand and the principles of the brand above everything else while making decisions, which includes justifying the price points.

Incorporate multisensory elements

Sensory branding using sound and smell is gaining ground across several industries, as business owners realise that 95% of human communication is unconscious and 80% is non-verbal. When you are designing or branding you food service concept, you need to consider why and how you will incorporate multisensory elements to connect with your customer.

Sound is an important element often overlooked by brands. How many times have you visited one of you favourite stores and heard music that’s not appropriate for kids. That’s because the people in charge of the stores are less concerned or not informed about the impact of music and how consumers associate it with brands. The real problem is with the design process, which has not taken into account the emotional connection of the brands with consumers through music.

Scent is another interesting element that can be utilized effectively. In 2012, Dunkin Donuts ran an interactive advertising campaign in South Korea targeted at commuters riding buses to work. The scent of Dunkin Donuts coffee was released inside the buses along with the Dunkin Donuts radio ad, and the print ads were positioned at the bus stops so that they would see them or the nearest store as they stepped off the buses. Coffee sales went up 29% during the period of the ad campaign, despite it not being activated in retail environment. The creative use of scent in the campaign created a desire within consumers to go to a Dunkin Donut store and buy products they associated with the scent.

Chef Heston Blumenthal serves a dish called Sound of the Sea at The Fat Duck restaurant in England.  Diners who order the sea food dish are given an iPod with headphones to listen to waves while they eat. The restaurant recorded significant increase in sales by exploiting the sense of sound.

In the past, brands dictated how customers engaged with them. Nowadays, it’s the other way around. Millennials resonate with brands only if they match their personalities.

An Ipsos Mori survey of over 16,000 people across 20 countries in 2013 detected a desire for deceleration and simplification in both established and emerging economies. About 60% of the people surveyed across 20 countries said they wished their lives were simpler.

Overwhelmed with information and choice, across the developed world the public hanker after simplicity. There are opportunities for brands. There is business in helping simplify choice. Whether relating to accessing public services or branded products, simplification of choice is likely to help, while giving reputational and competitive advantage to those who can offer it. Design must relate to that need for simplicity while communication all the relevant information and touch all the senses.

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