We’ve been there. At a concert our favorite band jams through its latest songs when audience members yell out requests for golden oldies. The band wants to move on to new creative paths but the audience hangs on to the comfort of the old band—the old brand. Sometimes fans want to bring along some of the old songs during a change in direction.
Recently, a large New York Dairy shut down its 90-year-old dairy operation to introduce a range of plant-based milks. Market challenges inspired the company to set out in a new direction so it developed a rebrand. It also brought along some of the old brand for the transition.
Digging to the core of the brand
Comparing websites provides a snapshot of the transition. The original Elmhurst Dairy website focused on the company’s commitment to the local community. The family story was at the center and showed how owner and operator Henry Schwartz kept his business going in an increasingly tough business environment. Although the dairy had a strong foundation it was in a mature industry losing market share.
Photo credit: from Elmhurst website, elmhurst1925.com
The why of Elmhurst leads to new perception as revolutionary
The new Elmhurst story features a modern, bright design. The new website still showcases Elmhurst’s history in the milk production industry as well as its family business roots. This heritage story acts as a bridge to its new endeavor and role as a committed leader in the plant-based revolution. The foundation of what made it a favorite brand to many still exists. The company remains committed to quality and in trusted family hands.
The website features a story about how Schwartz convinced Dr. Cheryl Mitchell, a leading culinary innovator, to join the company and bring her “methods for making these non-dairy Milked Plants to Western New York, where the expertise of Elmhurst in the packaging and distribution of dairy milks, could be used to deliver these unique milked plant products throughout the East and beyond.”
Elmhurst bloomed as a new brand by following some basic principles of rebranding. If you or your business have changed direction here are 5 top tips for you to consider.
TOP 5 TIPS
Dig to the core of your brand suggests Bethany Spilde, certified personal branding strategist and chief possibilities officer for Rise Above. “It takes time and intentionality,” she says. “When a company or individual evolves to the point of needing to rebrand or reinvent themselves, it can feel vulnerable and risky. Yet, at every brand’s heart is not the product or marketing, but those deeply embedded values and strengths which rarely change.” Identify your brand foundation to ground you while moving toward your vision.
“Go deep and find out why,” Spilde says. “Why do you do what you do? Drill down. Ask why, then ask why again, and again. At the core of every why are deeply embedded beliefs, values and a unique story. The what can always change and is common, but the why is unique and sets you apart.” Spilde notes neuroscience indicates that telling your story around why resonates in the minds of listeners much better than when we simply state what we do. The why makes and leaves the first impression. “A mentor once said that what makes you unique, makes you successful,” Spilde says.
How do others perceive you? “Get feedback from those you work with, who lead you, follow you and are in different spheres of your life,” Spilde says. Ask questions. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What kind of car would you be, and why? Are these perceptions accurate? Next, do an online audit of your brand as if you were a potential client to see what they would find.
Decide how you want to tell your story and on which platforms. Study your audience and provide content that is valuable, which also builds your thought-leadership in that area. “Today, your online brand is important in getting discovered offline,” Spilde says.
“Then LIVE it! Your brand can’t be just a plan or content on paper. It’s who you are and the value you provide to others; how people experience you/your company. Live your brand completely,” Spilde says.