Senior Brand Marketing Manager, PlayShifu
How to perfect the art of a Brand Refresh
Why did Shifu as a brand feel the need for a brand refresh?
Before Starting, it is important to understand rebranding. It is basically changing the face of the business- name, logo, vision, mission, values, target audience, or market stay relevant, stand out among competitors, and improve brand awareness.
PlayShifu is a leading AR toy company revolutionizing the world of tomorrow by providing educational play experiences for kids today.
After collecting customer feedback and conducting internal research, “Shifu” was not driving the message the team intended to deliver. That’s when Apoorva and her team decided to rebrand Shifu completely. It was a crucial step to create that association in the consumer's mind between the product and the brand.
In order to do so, the team went through brainstorming sessions and brand activities by creating personas and tones. In PlayShifu’s case, the word “play” was added to the name to drive the messaging home and signify the happiness the toy adds to the children’s lives. This creates a sense of ease in the minds of the parent and the child by making studying a fun task. So to summarize it, the entire ‘play’ as a word became part of the brand, with Shifu being a beloved character known to be a parent or master.
What did the rebranding process look like for team PlayShifu?
Since everything happened during COVID, the entire rebranding process happened digitally.
They create a document with a list of questions to ask the core team members – things like what comes to mind when you hear a certain word or, what you think of a certain color, etc.
They collected the inputs, segregated them, and developed different directions in which they could go with their branding.
The team followed a step-by-step approach to narrow down certain keywords, colors, and ethos for the brand. These characteristics are important to give the brand a persona. For PlayShifu, the characteristics were playful, cheerful, and vibrant, which is then strongly reflected in the brand’s posts and videos.
After ideation, how do to execute rebranding?
Rebranding can be confusing for the customers. It is a crucial step as you can’t keep changing your brand’s identity again and again.
After finalizing the brand identity, the first step is to list out the places where the changes (logo, colors, font, etc.) need to be made – namely social media platforms, mobile/desktop applications, website, and e-commerce platforms like Amazon. Along with the brand communication, other aspects like the packaging have to change, especially for brands functioning through eCommerce websites.
Then it’s about breaking the news to your audience and raising awareness about your new brand identity. It involves developing the visual elements (logo, tagline, colors, business cards, etc.) and then communicating it to the customers via a whole round of emailers, social media call-outs, and website banners. For example, they would have a pop-up on their website that said, “Shifu is now PlayShifu.”
Why is having the desired brand identity so important?
Before answering this question, it is important to understand why branding is important. The entire branding process is crucial to create a sense of association in the minds of the viewer because if you just have a product and no branding, then no one will remember you.
For instance, Approva spoke about a Bamboo toothbrush company. “For almost six years, they've been doing great numbers in sales, but they've never gone into the branding phase. And that's why nobody knows that they are the first company to create those bamboo toothbrushes, which are now being used by multiple other brands and sold under their name.”
There are hundreds of products in the market; branding makes it possible to break through the clutter and make sure that the customer remembers the brand and associates it with a name, color, or identity. Then, you convert that first instance of a customer knowing your brand to something that they’ll remember through brand storytelling.
It is important to create a storyline and communicate it with the audience through different communication channels like website banners, social media posts, and more.
There are multiple digital platforms as well, like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, that can be leveraged by marketers to communicate the brand message with the audience.
Talking about what approach should be followed, Apoorva suggests, “ Do one thing and do it correctly. And that will really drive your business and your company because I might be doing three posts on Pinterest today, and for a month, I completely forget to do anything over there. And then tomorrow, I'm doing only Instagram, but I'm not doing anything on TikTok despite the fact I have a brand page over there. But there are barely five posts over there with just 10 people engaging with my content; it shows very poorly.”
Summarizing what she said, marketers should take up one platform and drive that one platform correctly because if they try to have a strong presence on every single channel, they might actually end up doing nothing.
PlayShifu came up with the tagline #thepowerofplay. Why do marketers need to create such hashtags?
Like every person has his/her name and persona, there is always one thing that summarizes and describes them as a whole. Similarly, brands use taglines to describe the essence of the business in 2-3 sentences. For instance, Nike as a brand goes with the tagline #justdoit.
So to come up with a powerful tagline, marketers have to think of a simple sentence that best describes the entire brand universe they have created for the brand. They should be extra careful while choosing a tagline as it becomes an extension to tie other pieces of communication like marketing campaigns and sales pitches.
One major takeaway is that brand refresh is a crucial decision and should be implemented only after thorough discussions with the team, the stakeholders, and most importantly, the customers. Branding is all about coming up with concepts that the audience will truly remember and resonate with by telling stories that will stay in the minds of the viewer.