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Can You Turn a Business Around With Branding? — Sublimio
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Can You Turn a Business Around With Branding?

Need to turn a business around? Businesses can get in trouble for so many reasons: whatever the case, you need a strategy. Have you considered looking at your brand?

Running a business is not for the faint-hearted: even once you manage to launch it and even make it profitable, there is so much that can happen in the short and medium term. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics only 25% of businesses manage to live past 10 years, with the great majority failing long before that.

Failure can be due to various problems in the business model and market fit or to sudden changes in the environment like new entrants, changing technology, or shifts in culture.

All these circumstances demand the ability to react swiftly and turn a business around before it’s too late.

While most turnaround strategies will be centered on business fundamentals, branding can be an important part of the equation.

luxury branding fashion branding for Supreme streetwear

Photo by Redd on Unsplash

Understand the brand is tightly linked to the business

In order to turn a business around with branding, we must first recognize that a brand is linked to the business itself and not just to its communication. A reductive vision of the brand, equaling it to the visual identity, will prevent you from using it as a business tool.

Of course, a brand is much more than that. A good brand strategy assumes a deep knowledge of the audience, the market, the cultural forces in action, and of course it is impossible without a solid understanding of why our business is supposed to succeed. It provides – in other terms – a broad vision of the business.

When a business is in dire straits, sometimes the brand can play a relevant role in finding a way to safety and even success.

Turn a business around by reviewing your brand positioning

Markets change all the time, even if your brand hasn’t. New competitors enter the arena, existing competitors change their positioning, customers change their preferences.

This impacts the meaning and relevance of your brand and products, sometimes without you noticing until it’s too late.

Sometimes, the positioning that has served you for so long just doesn’t work anymore.

In other terms, the positioning that has served your brand well so far might not be working anymore. A crisis (or even better, the moments that precede a full-fledged crisis) is a good time to reassess what you took for granted and devise a new positioning.

A leader brand might try to reinvent itself as a challenger, a conscious brand might want to highlight its promise of status.

This might help you turn a business around by giving the audience new reference points but also by helping you realign internally.

turn a business around with brand assets

Animated illustrations for YouGo rebranding

Turn a business around with a cultural brand strategy

Even when the market has not changed substantially, brands can get stale, outdated, tired. It can also happen to entire categories.

This is the right time to try and turn a business around with a cultural brand strategy, as suggested by Douglas Holt. A cultural strategy is a strategy that is based on cultural shifts, major changes in society that your brand can use to become relevant again and leave the competition behind.

Devising a cultural strategy requires you to look and listen at what’s out there. You don’t really need to change your product or your brand, just imagine a new way in which your promise will make sense to the audience.

Turn a business around by reviving its brand assets

Sometimes, a business might also be declining because it left its brand behind. The distinctive assets that have made its fortune have been put aside in favor of a more short-term approach. This could be a jingle, a character, a specific color or catchphrase.

The effects of such mismanagement of a brand only become evident after a while, as it takes some time for brand awareness to decay.

In other words, it’s possible to turn a business around by looking backwards, rather than forward. Reviving memory devices that resonate with people, investing into them and sometimes refreshing them can bring it back to the mind of the customers.

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Andrea Sublimio Strategist

Andrea Ciulu
Copywriter & Strategist

A creative and analytical thinker, with strong roots in advertising, Andrea crafts concepts, branding and communication strategies that make a difference.


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