One of the most common questions asked of me is “How do I know when it is time to rebrand?”

I often say that if you already have enough doubt in your mind about existing brand strategy (or lack thereof) to ask the question then it’s probably time. Hopefully it doesn’t sound like a flippant response. One of the things marketers rely on — along with research and experience — is gut instinct. It shouldn't be ignored.

In addition to your own nagging suspicion that your current brand positioning, image or strategy is inadequate, here are a couple of other ways to tell:

  1. Take a long and earnest look at your destination's marketing material and if your advertising, visitor guide, website and social media not only look like they are from multiple places but make different promises about your community, it's probably time to rebrand and bring them all into alignment.
  2. If your advertising and social media posts say anything remotely close to "You'll find something for everyone" you really need to rebrand. That kind of marketing message is a sign of desperation. It suggests that there is nothing truly exceptional about your destination. Furthermore, it never works. People see right through it. When done properly the branding process will uncover what makes your destination unique and wonderful. That will give your marketing message new life.
  3. Think back to the origin of your current marketing campaign. Was the message based on a strategy that is backed by research or is it just the opposite? Did someone come up with the message and then try to rationalize why it’s smart marketing? If the latter choice is closer to the truth, then your destination does not have a clear brand strategy. That is bad news for destinations of every size. Campaigns change but they must be steered by a compelling and research-supported brand.

Rebranding – or going through a branding process for the first time — is not the magic cure for destination marketers. Even after the development of a compelling strategy and creative brand image, it still needs to be implemented consistently over a period of years. It requires discipline. Without a brand strategy serving as a roadmap you may never get where you need to go.


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