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How to Complete a Rebranding Project Successfully

How to Complete a Rebranding Project Successfully

Let's start from the beginning. Imagine cruising around in a car you've had for years. It's reliable and gets you where you need to go, but it's lost its pizazz with time. The colour is fading, it's not as fast as it used to be, and those sleek lines aren't turning heads any more.

But what if we could change all of that? What if I told you there was a way to breathe new life into your old ride? A rebranding project is like giving your wheels a complete makeover – new paint, shiny rims, maybe even throwing in a killer sound system! Suddenly, driving around feels fun again.

Sure, looks are essential. However, a proper rebrand requires more than just paint and polish. To fully transform your brand image, we need to rethink your mission, redefine your values and ensure your vibe aligns with your desired customers.

Why Does My Business Need a Rebrand?

Bp Brand Reboot Rebranding Costs

There are many reasons why your current brand might have gone stale. Possibly, you’ve added or changed products and services over time but never adjusted the branding accordingly. Or maybe, now that you’re working with different markets, the image you have no longer speaks to them.

The world moves fast, too. If staying relevant means ensuring our brands don’t look like they were designed in 1980, then so be it… Because if yours does and everyone else’s doesn’t guess who's going home with all the customers?

Internal factors also play a role; if any significant changes were made (like mergers or acquisitions), revamping your brand could be a great way to get everyone excited about the future.

Signs It's Time for a Rebrand

Still on the fence about whether rebranding is right for your business? Here are some clear indicators that now might be the time:

  • Your brand feels outdated or tired
  • Your logo or any visual identity looks like it came from the 90s
  • You've broadened your offerings, but the branding doesn't reflect that
  • You're getting mixed up with competitors or simply blending in with them
  • You went through a significant structural change or change in leadership
  • Customers don't seem to understand what you do any more
  • Your values and messaging switched up, while the brand image has stayed the same.

It might seem daunting initially, but I promise this process will be simple. We’ll walk through it together every step of the way.

The Rebranding Project Game Plan

Dunkin Donuts Rebranding Example

Strap in because we’re about to take an epic adventure through rebranding! But no worries, we’ll walk you through it so you come out the other side with a brand that’s polished and ready to go!

Step 1 — Why Are You Rebranding?

First things first—figure out why you’re rebranding. It’s simple enough, but many businesses skip this step and miss entirely their new branding.

Take some time to go over what drove this rebrand in the first place. Is it due to changing customer preferences? Trying to stand out in a crowded market? Or is it simply because your company is taking on a new direction?

Getting transparent about your reasoning will shape all other decisions from here on out. It’s like picking where to go before whipping out the map!

Step 2 — Review Your Brand Strategy

Now that you know why you’re rebranding, let’s revisit your overall strategy. That includes:

  • Mission & Vision: This is the core of what drives your company forward. Ensure your mission statement holds value, or give it a little refresher.
  • Core Values: What do you value as a brand? If integrity and innovation are still important, but you haven’t focused enough on community lately, now’s the chance for realignment.
  • Brand Personality: How does your brand speak? You might be hitting perfect notes right now, but you need more professionalism or playfulness for things to click.
  • Unique Selling Proposition: What makes your brand different from everyone else's? Figure out how to make that even more apparent and robust.
  • Target Audiences: Have they shifted at all? Nail down to whom you’re speaking during this rebrand.

Step 3 — Research Like Crazy

Knowledge is power! The more research you can get about everything — your industry, market, competitors, and customers — the better off you’ll be when genuinely connecting with your audience.

Check out consumer trends. Analyse what’s working for other brands (and what’s not). Dive deep into what your target audience likes, wants, values, and hates. It can be analytics data, surveys, or focus groups; you could even ask customers directly!

Take all that information in like a sponge. The more insights you have into these things, the easier it’ll be to create a brand that resonates with people on every level.

Step 4 — Bring Your Brand to Life

Now for the fun part—making that new brand of yours! This is where you’ll put together all the critical elements of your refreshed branding:

Name: Are you sticking with the same name or coming up with something new? Make sure it’s meaningful, memorable and trademark-able if you’re changing.

Logo: Keep it simple! Your logo should be iconic and easily recognisable. Look up colour psychology or shapes that capture everything about your brand.

Visuals: From patterns and graphical elements to photography styles, start visualising a cohesive look and feel for your brand assets.

Step 5 — Define Your Brand Voice

With your new visual identity taking shape, it’s time to nail down your brand voice and tone. This part is critical for shaping how you communicate and connect with audiences through your marketing content.

Brainstorm descriptive adjectives about your brand personality (e.g. fun, quirky, authoritative, environmentally-conscious). Then get specific with:

Language: What terminology, idioms or slang aligns with your brand personality? How conversational or formal should your voice be?

Tone: Will you dial up the humour or stick to more matter-of-fact messaging? Should it feel luxurious and polished or casual and down-to-earth?

Formatting: Explore brand styling for headings, bulleted lists, calls-to-action and other formatting that’ll become part of your guidelines.

Crafting Your Rebranding Action Plan

Rebranding Example
After

We've brainstormed and planned — now it's time to breathe life into your shiny new brand! With a well-thought-out action plan, your rebranding launch will go off without a hitch.

Making Assets

First, you’ll need to create everything that makes up a brand. That includes:

  1. Your primary logo, secondary logo and icons
  2. Brand colours, typography, graphics, and patterns
  3. Print and digital collateral like business cards, stationery and brochures
  4. Website updates as necessary (or a complete overhaul if needed)
  5. Product packaging update (if applicable)
  6. New merch if you’re feeling fancy
Related:  Global Branding: 9 Top Tips for Going International

Decide whether you’ll be building assets in-house or outsourcing to an agency. Either way, stay true to your brand guidelines!

Internal Launch

Before the big public splash happens, notify your team and stakeholders first. Drafting an internal comms plan is crucial for getting them on board with the changes.

Host rebrand training sessions where they can learn about your new brand. Offer pointers on how to use the new messaging in their work. You could also run contests to see who can get creative with the updated visuals!

Marketing & Promotion

Now it’s finally time for that grand public unveiling! Map out a strategic promotion plan so that people notice all the hard work you’ve put in.

Tease It: Start by teasing them! Drop hints about your upcoming rebranding on your website, email newsletters and social channels. You could even run contests asking fans what they think it might look like.

Launch Big: When the day comes, do something big enough that they can’t ignore it. We’re talking about overhauling everything – website redesigns, epic social media campaigns and PR outreach. If you want to impress people — maybe even throw an event or open a pop-up shop!

Create Premium Content: Make some noise with thought leadership content! White papers, expert guides, videos, and podcast episodes are all sure-fire ways to turn heads.

Update All Channels: Don't miss a thing! Audit every nook and cranny of your brand to identify where old assets are hiding (online, print, merch) and get them updated ASAP.

Listen & Make it Better.

No matter how prepared you think you are, there will always be room for improvement. Listen closely to what people are saying about your rebranding across all channels.

Is the messaging landing? Is the new look making them scratch their heads? Use surveys, focus groups and social listening tools to gather as much feedback as possible.

Then, use that feedback to improve. Potentially, your brand story isn’t clear enough, or the visuals need some fine-tuning. Either way, be ready to adapt whenever necessary.

Stay Culturally Relevant

When the dust settles after a big launch, stay woke! Successful brands constantly shift with culture, so they always remain relevant.

Find a balance between rigidity and flexibility in your brand guidelines. They should provide enough guardrails for everyone to stick to while allowing creative freedom when trends change.

Finally, get into the habit of doing routine brand health check-ups. Is your messaging still resonating? How about one year from now? Or even five years into the future? Look out for any signs that might indicate a mini-refresh or complete rebrand. The last thing you want is for that mercury to stop rising!

The Light at the End of the Rebranding Tunnel

Toyota Rebranding

I’ll admit — giving your brand a facelift is no easy task. It's like squeezing blood from a stone when rediscovering yourself and finding the perfect look that shows off your shiny personality.

But when you finally find that light at the end of the rebranding tunnel… woah. You’re going to feel something fierce.

You’ll have this modern, vibrant brand that speaks to who you are and everything you want to accomplish. It’ll talk to the right people and put you in a spot for long-term success.

But above all else, you’ll be proud. You should be! You just went through endless hours of grinding creative work — now it’s time to show off that beautiful result!

So love the process (even if it sucks) and hold on tight to those ups, downs, and bursts of creativity. You’re about to go on one wild ride… but trust me, it’ll feel like floating when you see what your final product looks like!

FAQs on Rebranding Your Business

How much does a typical rebrand cost?

That depends on your project scale and whether you get fancy professionals involved or decide to go the DIY route. But most of the time, you’re looking at an investment anywhere from $5k to over $500k for a complete corporate rebrand. The bigger your company, the more assets you change, and the more marketing efforts you make will impact costs.

How long does a rebranding take?

A full-sized rebranding typically takes 4–8 months from strategy to public launch. Or maybe just 2–3 months if it’s smaller in scope. The research, ideation, and asset creation phases usually take the most time.

Do I need to change my company name?

Not necessarily! There have been plenty of successful rebrands where companies kept their current names but made other changes to their brand identity. But hey – if your name doesn’t match what you offer any more, or you’ve merged with another business… then yeah, consider making a switch.

What if my rebranding flops?

There’s always some element of risk when it comes to rebranding. However, the process won't be too painful if you do your due diligence in research and testing while building your new brand strategy. Are people still not digging it after some time has passed, though? Be agile! Gather feedback again and keep optimising until stuff sticks.

Should I hire a branding agency or do it myself?

If budget isn’t an issue for you, and you don’t already have internal resources where someone can own this project… an agency is probably the way to go. They’re experts in this field who can handle everything for you – but they’ll charge more than going in-house. Many small businesses manage fine doing it themselves, at least on the strategy side of things. Ensure you have a solid process and brand guidelines to keep everything cohesive.

How can I get employees excited about our new brand?

Don’t leave your team in the dark! The more they know, the better they can support you through this. Get them involved early on through surveys, feedback sessions and sneak peeks. Share your vision with them and ask for ideas on how they can incorporate it into their roles. You could even create “brand ambassadors” if you want!

What rebranding risks should I prepare for?

Besides the risk of flopping a whole rebrand (which shouldn’t happen if you put good work in), other things to watch out for include trademarking issues, social media backlash, manufacturing delays for new assets and higher-than-expected costs. It is no big deal if you’re prepared to mitigate these with a contingency plan.

How often should I consider rebranding?

The overall timing will differ for each company, but most experts say brand refreshes should happen every 7–10 years and full rebrands every 10–15 years to stay current. But keep an eye out for signs you need sooner, like expanding to new markets or making big pivots.

Do I have to change everything all at once?

No! Many companies take a phased approach when rolling out their new branding elements over time instead of all at once. It’s usually easier logistically speaking and gives people enough time to adapt slowly. Just write your timeline carefully so milestones don’t get missed or overlooked while things progress.

My industry is really niche – does rebranding matter as much?

Yes! Even in the most niche B2B sectors, having a solid brand identity is crucial when communicating your expertise and what makes you different from competitors. You will only attract your target audience if you know who they are and can market effectively to them.

There it is, folks – everything you need to bring some life back into your business through the magic of rebranding! It can be a scary thought, I know. But so is skydiving, and people jump out of planes daily!

Remember that you’ll want to break your rebranding process into manageable phases. Do the necessary research and planning, and then just go for it.

The path won’t always be easy, but I believe in you. You’ve got what it takes to make this happen. Stay agile, keep pushing forward, and soon enough, you’ll have a shiny new brand you’re proud of – guaranteed to skyrocket your business past even its wildest dreams.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get started!

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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