Getting the Right Haircut: Rebranding in a post-Covid Market

By Nick Riley

We’re back, we’re out of lockdown and it feels a bit like coming out of hibernation. Over the past few months my beard has become long and scraggly and my hair (or what’s left of it) desperately needs a trim. I’m looking forward to a clean-up, a proper clipper session and a wet shave. I’m not the only one in this situation. Steadily over the past few weeks we’ve seen friends, family members, work colleagues and clients all slowly drift into an inevitable state of shabbiness, desperately waiting for the day we can visit our favourite barber or salon for a crisp, clean trim. Now that we’ve entered level 2, the rush to the salon will be swift and satisfying. A fresh start with plenty of opportunity to create our own ‘brand new’.

Just like a fresh haircut, rebranding a business or product sends a simple, single-minded message. A simple tidy up might say - “I’m still me, but I’m in better shape than ever.” Trusted, reliable and expected. A more radical cut and colour might send a message of change – “I have a new perspective, a new outlook, a new energy. Something has changed here, check me out.”

This got me thinking about a similar approach that many brands might take in a post-covid world. They’ll emerge from this mess with a new energy, a new agenda and for many a completely new offer. Many will not emerge at all. They’ll be looking to rebrand, but it’s important that the haircut they choose is saying the right thing about them. Here’s a few thoughts for brands to consider when looking to get a fresh haircut in a post-Covid market:

With level 2 at hand, we’ll all soon be spilling out of salons and barbers nationwide with fresh cuts and fresh perspectives. Let’s hope that plenty of New Zealand brands will take this unique opportunity to do the same.

1. Be sure of what you stand for
It’s all well and good to get a new look, but if it’s not linked to a clear purpose or belief, then it’s just cosmetic. Many brands will be looking to signal a change, but it has to be authentic and based on a real point of view that your business believes in. Like a haircut, a rebrand can be a powerful symbol of change. Just be sure it’s a change that’s authentic and linked to a clear purpose

2. Walk the talk
Belief is one part of the equation, but purpose is pointless without action. In a post-Covid world, many brands will claim to have an authentic purpose, but the ones that will stand out will be those acting on it, not just talking about it. A fresh haircut may look great, but if you don’t ‘own it’ then it’s never going to feel right

3. Change how you connect
What’s the point of a new trim if no one can see you? Brands are going to need to reconsider their key customer connection moments. With the experience economy at a standstill, brands now have limited capacity to communicate on a multi-channel basis. Digital is the single most powerful avenue, and brands will need to maximise this through richer than ever digital storytelling and content

4. Rethink your model
You don’t necessarily need to change your haircut to be different. Many challenger brands — from Spotify to Lime — had similar offerings as their competition, but disrupted their categories by fundamentally rethinking the business model. With storefronts shuttered – some permanently, brands are having to reconsider the way they deliver their existing offering

5. Don’t be a dick
A new haircut might look sharp, but if you don’t treat people with empathy then no one will care how good you look. Many brands and organisations have shown their true colours over the past few months, some terrible and some admirable. Please take note Uber Eats and Bauer Media, and please pat yourself on the back NO UGLY and LUMO.

With level 2 at hand, we’ll all soon be spilling out of salons and barbers nationwide with fresh cuts and fresh perspectives. Let’s hope that plenty of New Zealand brands will take this unique opportunity to do the same.

Written by our Creative Director Nick Riley – who unfortunately doesn’t have much hair.

Related