For better or worse, people will inevitably change and sometimes companies and brands must change just as frequently- it’s the way of the world and the way to success. When you’re in a competitive industry (any), the last thing you want to be is stubborn/overly confident and only change when fallen revenue and loss of market share demands it of you. If you follow the path of the latter, it’s typically too late to quickly and effectively change yourselves or regain any previous market leadership because the companies considered “Innovators” and “Early Adopters” are constantly evolving and growing while you’re playing catch-up. A caveat, with the right TEAM, sufficient RESOURCES, impactful MARKETING and a true COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE there is always a way to get it done.
Warning! attempting to skip an entire phase of product/service development can be unnecessarily costly and risky, because you’re not sure how customers respond to your brand in that space anymore, particularly in comparison to your competitors.
When you change or evolve your product/service or brand [and you will if you plan to not take a sharp fall into the decline stage off the product life cycle] you have to be clear! Be clear about 2 things: (1) What’s changing for you, the business and (2) Overall, what does that change mean for me, the customer.
Some companies hit you with a huge campaign introducing something new out of no where and expect immediate acceptance (this one can fail horribly if it misses the target even slightly). A lot of companies tease customers with “what’s to come” to keep momentum on the rise while changes are being implemented. Unfortunately, introductory tactics have had a habit of being off base in the end- typically because the final creative wasn’t complete or even in development at the time the teaser launched. An example of why things change: the creative and media team may have seen a negative response to the teaser and decided to scrap it all, start over, change the colors, the message and the channels- or a less dramatic approach- they just made a small tweak that had a major impact on consistency. Now the customer is confused because there was an interruption in the story (like the tv emergency test in the middle of your favorite tv show- before DVRs!!!), or they just don’t remember what you were talking about in the first place.
My top suggestion for being clear about changes to your brand or product/service:
Keep your early messaging simple and continue to build out your “unique tone/angle” as you go– Many will disagree with this, however, I stand by this statement. Millions of marketing dollars are spent on trials that will cost another million or two to correct if the response is weaker than promised. As a small business your dollars are even more precious, especially since you likely won’t have the resources to build prototypes or test markets, so careful planning is the #1 priority!
Sometimes you only have 1 shot to connect to or win over your target audience (winning is typically not achieved in 1 shot for newer brands). So in everything you do, keep in mind –>people can accept who you’re becoming but they can’t accept not knowing who you are and why who you are matters to them.
Stay clear my friends.