(One, Two, Three and to the) Four Rebranding Lessons from Snoop Lion
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Musician Snoop Dogg announced this week that he had changed his name to Snoop Lion and shunned rap for reggae, courtesy of a higher calling to Rastafarian culture. We’ve all been there, right?
While a sojourn to Jamaica may not be the answer for your business, Mr. Lion (read with a heavy dose of sarcasm) did something that all enterprises should consider at some point—rebranding. If your business is no longer content to be man’s best friend and ready to be king of the jungle, there are opportunities to learn from the Doggfather. Check out four rebranding lessons inspired by Snoop song titles:
Understand the Problem You Are Trying to Solve (“Wonder What It Do”)
Snoop Lion insists his new name and reggae career were the result of a religious and artistic awakening. Perhaps, but let’s float the fringe possibility that slumping album sales had a hand in said awakening. More often than not, businesses rebrand to solve a problem, anything from attracting new customers to inspiring confidence in investors. Be careful not to be seduced by glitz when rebranding—new logos and slogans are fun, but should be part of a larger strategy. Understand the problem and ask at every step if your efforts are working to solve it.
Research Before You Rebrand (“You Betta Ask Somebody”)
Snoop Lion claims to be the reincarnation of Bob Marley. He even went so far to name his latest album "Reincarnated." But Marley passed away nearly a decade after Mr. Lion was born. Details might not matter to Snoop, but they should to your business, and it’s easy to miss things when you have a lot on your plate. Establish a trusted group of internal stakeholders to weigh in on your rebranding plans before a public rollout.
Know Your Customer—and Your Potential Customer (“Me and My Doggz”)
According to the New York Times, Snoop Lion “felt the songs he had done so far did not reflect the wisdom he had gained from being a 40-year-old father of three.” While his new work may resonate with his rap fans, Snoop said he hopes his reggae songs give him “a chance to perform for kids and grandkids.” Similarly for business, while your goal is always to grow a larger customer base, any rebranding effort runs the risk of losing loyal customers in the name of gaining new ones. If you are planning a significant change, be prepared for what follows.
Learn from the Competition (“Something Bout Yo Bidness”)
Before there was Snoop Lion, there was Ziggy Stardust, Yusuf Islam, the symbol known for the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, and Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/Diddy, just to name a few. A cursory search of musicians who have changed their names will reveal one thing: it's rarely well received. For businesses looking to rebrand, learn from your competition's mistakes and successes and differentiate yourself for the right reason.