A brand is the face and personality of a business, and because “you never get a second chance at a first impression,” it is important to nail down your brand identity and make a lasting impression on your audience from the first interaction.
But what if you don’t nail it? While a strong brand encourages trust, a vague or out-of-touch brand does the exact opposite. In this case, there is one way for a second chance at a first impression: rebranding.
Rebranding can be a positive option after a thoughtful review of whether your business, company or organization needs a change.
This is the scenario that led Jackie Keogh, Executive Director of Kôr Community Land Trust, now RootedHomes, to consider a change of heart–and face–in rebranding their organization.
RootedHomes, originally Kôr Community Land Trust, was founded in 2014 by two Bend residents in response to too many friends and family members unable to afford to live in their community given the rising home costs in the area. The organization was established and co-founder, Jason Offutt, designed the first community, Kôrazon, which was completed in 2021.
The fast moving idea took over quickly, rapidly expanding the number of net-zero homes in Central Oregon over the past two years, while the branding struggled to keep up. Executives at Kôr knew they had an amazing organization centered around home buyers’ needs and the surrounding community, but felt the messaging left customers confused and unengaged, while the brand seemed to lack the connection to their mission-based work.
After listening to their homebuyers, the organization made the decision to rebrand to RootedHomes; a brand decision they felt would better engage the community and demonstrate the values of the organization.
When it’s Time to Rebrand: Why Kôr Community Land Trust Decided to Become Rooted Homes.
Customer feedback is the most obvious indication that your brand needs a change, but in order to know that, one must ask, look and research. Most customers will be able to point out what they like or dislike about your brand, but feedback can also be found through customer reviews, testimonials, or even social media comments. If you receive an influx of negative feedback or see a decline in customer satisfaction, it might be time to consider a rebrand. However, ensure that you examine the feedback and narrow down what the problem is before making drastic changes.
RootedHomes’ Home Buyer Committee, composed of people with lived experience with housing instability, led the rebrand of Kôr Community Land Trust, and the name change was a direct result of homebuyer feedback.
Feedback from homebuyers suggested a different name could better engage the community, and further connect the brand to the organization’s values of equitably building and sustainable communities.
“In collaborating with homebuyers to choose our new brand, RootedHomes better connects the community to the intentionality of our brand and our value of sustainable building. Our homes “root” homebuyers to the Central Oregon community; now our brand does too,” say Jackie Keogh.
As time goes by, your business is likely to experience change, too. You may have introduced new services or products, changed your target audience, or even expanded your business into new markets. If your brand doesn’t reflect your growth, it may be time to rebrand. A rebrand aligns your business goals with your brand image, ensuring that customers can always easily understand what your business offers.
In the case of RootedHomes, the rebrand was necessary in order to communicate how the non-profit organization had evolved and what it represents today. Says Keogh, “The rebrand is a better representation of the changes and trajectory of our organization and the strategic moves that are happening at RootedHomes.”
Change in Industry Standards
As with various industries, change occurs over time. Your brand could be based on standards from several years ago, making it outdated compared to your competitors. But rebranding can ensure that your brand is modernized and matches the standards of your industry, helping you stand out in the market and appeal to new customers.
The evolution of the housing market in Central Oregon, paired with higher housing instability and more opportunities for sustainable and responsible building practices needed to be better communicated through the Kôr brand itself. “RootedHomes” was selected for its clear representation of the organization’s work to build equitable housing in sustainable communities.
Sometimes, feedback may be present, but other times it could be an overarching view of your brand that needs changing. A negative or confused perception could arise if your brand’s ideologies are not effectively communicated. Many businesses undertake a rebrand to distance themselves from certain connotations and customer confusion. Rebranding assures customers that your business isn’t associated with any undesirable or unintentional attributes.
RootedHomes’s goal is to provide environmentally sustainable and permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for those who contribute to the fabric of the Central Oregon economy and community. But the brand “Kôr Community Land Trust” felt like it always needed to be explained. “The rebrand allowed us to talk about what Kôr was doing in a way that was not confusing or ambiguous and halted the issue of people not connecting with the mission of providing affordable housing for Central Oregon’s workforce,” shared Jasmine Wilder, RootedHomes Board Member, and Homebuyer Committee Chair.
Lack of Interest from Target Audience
If your brand fails to resonate with your target audience, you can suffer from a lack of engagement. A rebrand can help you redefine what your brand represents and how it connects with your audience. The rebrand should give your brand a fresh identity that helps bring in new leads and conversions from your target audience.
Community connection and sustainable building are at the core of RootedHomes’s values, and the brand needed to come with the intentionality of delivering that message. Since “our homes root homebuyers to the Central Oregon community; now our brand does too,” RootedHomes states.
A rebrand can give your business a new lease of life, re-establish your place in the market, and showcase the business in a modern way, as it did for RootedHomes.
While rebranding is a significant undertaking that requires a lot of planning, correct execution can lead towards a connected, clear and intentional brand message, giving your business or organization a second chance at a first impression, as it did with RootedHomes. Quotes Keogh, “Feedback from our home buyers has shaped us into the non-profit organization we are today.”