April 4, 2014

Signs Your Product Really Needs a Rebrand

Signs Your Product Really Needs a Rebrand

Every product’s popularity waxes and wanes (well, to be fair, sometimes it never waxes), and when the periods of wane are significantly longer than the periods of wax, perhaps you want to rethink your marketing strategy. The first part of a marketing strategy is the evaluation of one’s brand identity. The second part of the marketing strategy is to discover that your brand has no identity.

Changing your brand image involves more than a logo or a package redesign, but those are two components that help the customer understand the brand’s focus; they help articulate the whole company persona. What purpose is your product meant to serve the public at large, and what was the driving force behind your production of it?  Why do you think you can give the public a better product than any of your competitors? Most importantly, will a Kardashian be photographed carrying it?

You Use “Low Fat” Branding

Naturally, no self respecting health nut wants to eat foods that are high in fat, but the fat-free/low-fat phase in nutritional marketing is officially over. Low-carb isn’t really in the now, either.

It may seem stupid, but nutritional labeling choices are largely based upon fads rather than hard dietary science, and the inclusion of the phrase “low fat” tells the public that your product is hopelessly dated. We blindly embrace the latest trends for weight loss and management while ignoring actual empirical data relating to health, and therefore we respond more favorably to foods that indicate that they are appropriate to the latest diet craze. The Atkins diet “revolution” caused any number of companies to extoll their Atkins plan suitability; frozen foods had the South Beach diet printed boldly on their packages.

Basically, if your food product has sat out the last decade or so of diet fads, you haven’t been keeping up with your brand’s market relevance. Shame on you.

You Lack Eco-friendly Packaging

What’s wrong with you? Environmentally irresponsible packaging is just as bad in the eyes of a discriminating public as asbestos or wheat gluten. If you’re still using non-biodegradable plastics in your packaging solution (mercy), you may as well just start beating baby seals with a tire iron.

As any packaging design company rep will tell you, in the past decade, the public has grown to like and trust packaging that is obviously made from recycled, degradable materials — so much so that if the package disintegrates in our hands on the way to the register, we’re kind of okay with it.

There’s Been a Bit of (Ahem) Controversy

When there have been lawsuits, unfortunate tweets, or stories about sourcing your materials from child labor mills, changing your brand image (and possibly your company name) is imperative.

When your brand has been tainted by some bit of scandal, the only way to work your way out of it is by addressing it as quickly and as honestly as possible; ignoring it or falsifying information will only lead to irreparable damage to your reputation. Your new brand has to be the kind of strong, dependable company upon which the public can rely.

Even if there hasn’t been any real “controversy,” in the sense of “caused several deaths,” but your brand has become unfortunately associated with an attitude or a philosophy that isn’t helping your business grow, and some consumers find repellant, you have to regroup and begin to build your identity in a controlled and well managed way. Of course, if you’re Paula Deen, you might want to just stop giving interviews for a while. Apparently, that works, too.

So, if you’re not certain that your brand is on track to getting you the respect and revenue that you truly believe it could, then take a look at the image it is projecting to the public. Realize that you’re an expert in what you do, but not necessarily in branding, and get in touch with someone who can help. If the effort has bored you to tears, you’re probably well on your way to understanding why it needs to be adjusted.


by Kevin Smith
SmashBrand helps brands create, optimize, and launch successful products, services, and customer experiences. Our data-driven process is the key to accelerating sales and minimizing risks.

We use a strategic combination of market research, design, and consumer testing to solve complex brand problems more effectively, create differentiation, and forge more meaningful connections with customers.

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