The last two days featured a case study on targeted marketing and rebranding. A fictional bait & tackle shop tried to target its “perfect customer.” The first attempt was a miss and actually hurt business for the shop. However, it also yielded a great deal of information about the market and helped determine who the real perfect customer was.

The problem now facing the bait & tackle shop is rebranding. The shop has established a brand – its way of doing business and professional image – that is not nearly as profitable as it could be. To fix this problem, the shop needs to reinvest in relationship management and rebuild its brand image. The shop changed its customer target and needs a way to reach this “new” customer and repair any bad feelings between them. This is the essence of rebranding – changing directions and reformulating the brand to fit a new target and purpose.

Rebranding takes many forms and can be as simple as changing the brand name or as intricate as rebuilding the company’s culture. However, there is always a best and a worst time to start a rebranding campaign. Consumers focus on advertisements at certain times of the year (holiday shopping, for instance), and they completely ignore corporate communication efforts at others. When to start your rebranding campaign depends entirely on your customer base, making it nearly impossible to generalize. Keep in mind, though, that a surfing company should not start their campaign in the summer and a company specializing in rain coats should avoid starting theirs in December.

If you want to look at a great example of re-branding, do some quick research on the energy company BP. Way back when, this was the oil company British Petroleum. In the era of global warming and environmental consciousness, BP took proactive steps to retain customers and move its business from selling gasoline to bettering the use of energy in all its forms. One of the most expensive, and expansive, rebranding campaigns in recent history made BP a success in the world of energy while its competition was stuck pawning oil.