Risk 1: You may lose your existing customer base
One of the first things to consider when considering an attempt to change your brand image is whether it may negatively impact your existing customers. Your existing customers may be buying your product because of your existing brand image – repositing your company to a different market may alienate them. It may be that there is an alternative that now more closely aligns with their desired image, or there may be backlash against the repositioning. Existing customers may feel betrayed that they have been passed over in favor of a different group.
Risk 2: You may not be accepted by your target market
Another challenge that you may face with trying to change the brand of the firm is that it may not be accepted by the target market. It can be hard to shake off a prior image, and you may not be accepted as authentic by the target market. Some of the most trustworthy brands have had the same image for decades, and customers may prefer to keep with a brand that has been constant over time, rather than one that has recently changed.
Risk 3: You muddy your brand – neither one thing nor the other
Connecting from the above two problems, another challenge is that you end up muddying your brand – meaning one thing to one group of people, and a different thing to another. You risk being stuck in the middle – unable to effectively compete in either market. Some decisions wouldn’t make sense for your original base, others would not make sense for your new one. The danger is that you can’t compete as effectively as a company focused solely on either area, putting you at a competitive disadvantage on all fronts.
Final thoughts: Ensure that your strategy is aligned with your brand
A final potential issue that companies can run into when attempting to rebrand, is that change is largely surface-level – confined to marketing, with little underlying changes to the ways that the company competes. This challenge can further muddle your image – it is not clear what you are because there appears a disconnect between how you are trying to position yourself, and your underlying activities of the firm. This risk further alienating customers, unsure what to make of your company.