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Rebranding Strategy: Breathing New Life Into Your Brand

Rebranding Strategy: Breathing New Life Into Your Brand

So you've concluded it's about time for a rebranding, have you? Well, fasten your seatbelt because we’re going on an exhilarating adventure into the world of rebranding strategy! Whether you want to stir things up or respond to the changing times, a good rebrand plan can be all you need.

In this ultimate guide, we will discuss everything from why people need to rebrand to those little details necessary for perfecting your new brand identity. We'll also provide some delicious real-life instances and expert advice. Think of this as your go-to source for anything related to rebranding; expert consultants not included – or their high prices either!

Why Rebrand? The Compelling Reasons Behind the Revamp!

Mastercard Logo Design Rebrand

1. Always Keeping Up with the Times

Our world is changing at the speed of light. What may be in vogue today will get old as soon as yesterday. A rebranding helps keep your image current and makes it resonate with your new audience.

2. Getting Rid of an Outdated Look

Does your brand give off strong 1990s vibes? Or is it struggling between different identities, trying to be everything for everyone? A strategic rebrand can help you drop that tired appearance and adopt a sharp, consistent look that reflects who you are now.

3. Mergers and Acquisitions

When companies unite, they often have to share their names like a married couple does. At this point, it becomes necessary to rebrand to fuse the two entities’ identities cohesively, thereby avoiding any future identity crisis.

4. Expanding into New Markets

Want to go global or reach out to different demographics? Then, consider changing how people perceive you through rebranding since this will enable them to relate better with what you offer without crossing cultural lines unintentionally.

5. Recovering from a Crisis

There are times when brands find themselves at rock bottom; such moments could result from being involved in scandals (public), launching products which fail drastically on the market, or even just experiencing bad luck back-to-back too many times. In such cases, nothing less than a complete rebranding may be required to start afresh and regain customer confidence while rebuilding reputation, but this time, doing things differently. Therefore, this is done to avoid falling into the same pitfalls again.

The Rebranding Strategy Roadmap: Where Do You Want to Go?

Rebrand Vs Brand Refresh

Before you put new logos on everything, have a plan. Here are the main steps of rebranding:

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1. Establish your “Why”

What is the reason for rebranding? Define your goals so that you know what to aim for.

2. Investigate

Find out who your audience is as if they were an old friend. Use surveys, focus groups, social listening and any other means necessary to understand their desires, needs, pain points and what currently resonates with them.

3. Competitive analysis

Someone is already doing what you want to do—and doing it well. Identify those brands or organisations and determine how you can differentiate yourself authentically that matters most to people like us.

4. Reveal Your New Brand Positioning

Based on this rich understanding of who these people (the ones we’re here for) are, describe a new thing about our personality or values which hasn’t been said before but rings true now. Because we get closer to helping them achieve some goal they’ve got deep inside themselves — also while selling more widgets than anyone else!

5. Create a fresh visual identity

This is where logos come from: colours and typography, tone-of-voice guides, and anything else that helps bring it all together visually under one big idea: what does our brand look like now?

6. Alleviate concerns among staff members (rally the troops)

You need everyone in the organisation behind this shift – top down / bottom up through company-wide training programs and internal communications plans explicitly designed around introducing these changes gradually until full adoption has occurred throughout every corner of our business…

7. Do It

Now go out there! — package design refreshes across packaging materials used internally and externally for consumer-facing touchpoints such as digital platforms, including social media accounts… etcetera, etcetera.

8. Measure twice, cut once, and optimise thrice

Keep an eye on things and adjust as necessary; data will tell us what’s working best and where at which times, so stay nimble!

Stealing Smart: Stellar Rebranding Campaigns to Inspire You

Right? Seeing someone do great work always gets the gears turning. Let’s deconstruct three rebrands that knocked it out of the park:

1. Dunkin’ Donuts → Dunkin’

The Donut Mecca had a big year in 2018. First, they changed their name from the hefty “Dunkin’ Donuts” to just “Dunkin’.”

Why? They wanted to show that they’ve evolved beyond simply selling doughnuts. The new branding helps cement its positioning as an all-day, drink-forward, on-the-go destination.

Dunkin Donuts Rebranding Example

But they didn’t stop there. They also introduced a sleek new logo – updating the iconic font, cranking up the pink and orange accents, and replacing the old coffee cup image with clean lines.

Even Dunkin’s stores got a modern makeover: warm colours, open layouts, and a more enticing coffee smell wafting through the air.

The result? A rebranding that perfectly honours tradition while staying current. Talk about having your cake (doughnut?) and eating it too!

2. Apple Computers → Apple Inc.

For their 2007 rebrand, Apple did what Apple does best: risk. This time by dropping “Computers” altogether.

Until then, Apple was all about – you guessed it – computers under the name “Apple Computer.” But something had to give once the iPod took off like wildfire (proving they were so much more than a computer company).

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Catchy Slogans Apple

By becoming simply “Apple Inc.” going forward, they positioned themselves brilliantly as an all-encompassing innovator across multiple industries instead of just another computer brand. Classic!

Of course, changing their name was only half the battle here. Their sleek new visuals and messaging hammered home that they’re design-driven makers of exceptionally great tech experiences no matter which device you pick up.

This is how you rebrand to launch a company into the stratosphere (and keep it there).

3. Old Spice – “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

That’s right, we’re talking about a deodorant rebrand because this one was too good to pass up!

Old Spice had languished as your dad’s dated grooming product for years. But in 2010, parent company P&G made the brilliant decision to build a new brand around a series of laugh-out-loud ads starring the impossibly suave “Old Spice Guy.”

Old Spice Reason For Rebranding

These spots turned Old Spice into an offbeat, Uber-masculine, self-aware brand for guys who didn’t take themselves too seriously – another enjoyable way to sell swagger (and antiperspirant).

While the actual product itself didn’t change much, this clever rebranding effort made Old Spice cool again practically overnight. That’s what happens when you nail your new brand personality!

Survival Tips: 10 Pitfalls to Avoid When Rebranding

Smoothest rebranding efforts can still encounter unforeseen obstacles, but don’t worry! Here are a few common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Unclear Objectives – Understand and define your “why” instead of just winging it.
  2. Only Changing the Surface – A new logo is just the beginning. You need to redo everything.
  3. Analysis Paralysis – Don’t get stuck in research mode; make sure you take action!
  4. Trying to Make Everyone Happy – You can’t. Identify your primary audiences and embrace your unique approach.
  5. Lack of Support – Engage key stakeholders early and often so they don’t become roadblocks.
  6. Overlooking Internal Audiences – Remember, your staff needs to understand and buy into this, too!
  7. Random Rollouts – Piecemeal launches confuse. Plan it down to the last detail.
  8. Not Following Through – Your deeds must live up to that bright new positioning statement.
  9. Ignoring Social Channels – That’s where your people are hanging out online. Be present!
  10. Set It and Forget It – Like any good casserole, a rebranding needs checking on as things cook.

Just avoid those minesweepers, and you’ll be on the fast track to having a successful brand overhaul!

Taking the Rebrand Plunge: A Step-by-Step Guide

Burger King Rebranding Design

Are you raring to go like a branding pro? Here are the key steps to make your new brand vision come true.

Research: Open the Black Box

This is where audience research begins. You won't hit the bullseye if you don’t know what (or whom) you’re aiming at.

Surveys, interviews, focus groups, social listening, website analytics—use every tool in your kit to build detailed personas for your core target segments. Look beyond demographics to uncover their mindsets, values, and aspirations—what makes them tick?

Once armed with these juicy insights, you can identify your brand’s unique “magnetic idea” that will attract specific audiences like moths to a flame.

And don’t forget to see what competitors are up to. A thorough competitive audit will help reveal gaps, differentiation opportunities and trends worth capitalising on.

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Brand Positioning: Take Your Stand

With research in hand, it’s time to articulate the refreshed positioning that will make your brand impossible to ignore.

Determine what single-minded benefit or idea you want to own in customers’ minds. What specialised value do you bring? How will you uniquely enrich their lives?

Then, map personality traits and brand archetypes, allowing for authentic delivery of that promise. Think about how you want people to feel – inspired. Delighted? Understood? Empowered?

Your messaging should rally around this core positioning, using consistent language, tone and emotional touchpoints across every channel.

If these capabilities aren’t housed internally, then this is an area where a professional branding firm or ad agency should be brought on board. Trust us; it’s worth investing here because everything else becomes more manageable if done right!

Visual Identity System: The New Threads

Now that we have nailed down our brand positioning and constructed a messaging framework, it’s time for the fun part… giving new face(s)!

Start by reimagining the logo – a simple yet distinctive graphical element that becomes your brand's face. Use colours and styling that evoke defined personality traits.

From there, take the complete visual system outwards with the following:

  • Colour Palette: Define tints/shades beyond logo colours for different applications.
  • Typography: Distinctive font families which reinforce brand voice and energy.
  • Iconography: Toolkit of icons/graphics for creating consistent visuals.
  • Photography/Illustration Style: Look & feel for all supporting visual elements.
  • Branded Assets: Stationery, branded merch, apparel designs, presentation templates, etc.

The best identities strike a balance between standing out and fitting in. Go too wacky, and you’ll turn people off, but play too safe, and you’ll fade into background noise.

Consider bringing on a seasoned designer or agency to ensure a genuinely distinctive, cohesive look that reflects new positioning.

Internal Launch & Training: Getting Troops On Board

If employees aren’t sold on rebranding efforts, then even the most brilliant ones will fall flat because they are the ones who bring it to life every day!

Start with complete endorsement/participation from leadership – C-suite should be visible brand evangelists leading the charge.

Then, give training that includes everyone so they can understand the company’s new positioning, messaging, and visual identity system and how to live the brand genuinely in their respective capacities. 

Ensure brand guidelines and tools are easily accessible through your internal network or cloud portal. You might even want to organise what I would call “Brand Camps” for a more immersive experience with a renewed identity.

Above all else, though… make it clear that the brand does not begin (or end) with your marketing materials. It is present in every customer touch-point, every communication piece, and all actions taken by your organisation.

Because this is when the magic happens.

External Rollout: The Grand Debut

All right, folks – it’s showtime! It's time to introduce yourself to the world as someone entirely new.

But please… don’t just flip a switch and be done with it. You need a thoughtful, phased plan that allows people to follow without getting lost and build anticipation throughout each stage.

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Start by highlighting what’s coming next through digital/social media teasers, using tantalising visuals to pique curiosity. Get them wondering!

As you get closer to launch day, think about giving specific stakeholders (press, investors, customers) an exclusive sneak peek at everything ahead of time; this should help generate some buzz & goodwill leading up to…

Go big or go home, right? So, on launch day – why not try something like an attention-grabbing splashy campaign that blankets every channel simultaneously? Website takeovers, email blasts, out-of-home billboards, retail/office space overhauls, influencer outreach programs, media buys, swag giveaways – you name it!

And please remember: this isn’t over yet. If anything — it’s only just begun! Keep those fires burning by launching sustained marketing initiatives + engagement campaigns throughout the months following the initial launch date.

Evolution & Optimisation: Stay Relevant

A significant rebranding is like a beautiful garden – it needs constant care, attention and trimming to keep growing. 

By continually optimising based on real-world data and feedback from your audiences, you can ensure that your brand’s messaging and visuals will continue to be compelling / resonate with them over time (as opposed to becoming stale).

Utilise tools such as A/B testing, social listening, surveys, focus groups — anything that will help gauge how people react to (or perceive) the new identity. And ensure those friction points are detected early on before they become full-blown issues!

Finally – feel free to make any necessary tweaks or updates along the way! Remember: Brands that remain agile/iterative throughout their lifespan most likely thrive long-term.

So keep working hard, stay foolish, be hungry for knowledge… and never stop pushing boundaries. There’s no such thing as a finishing touch within a genuinely exceptional brand – they’re always in motion!

Frequently Asked Rebranding Questions Demystified

Even after consuming this rebranding manual front to back, you might still have a few burning Qs. But don’t worry; we’ve got answers to all your questions right here.

How much should I budget for a complete rebranding?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer — it depends wildly on scale and specific needs. However, allocating 5-7% of projected revenue toward the effort is a starting point. For something more comprehensive, you could be looking at $500k-$1.5M.

How long does a typical rebrand process take?

Usually between 6–12 months from kick-off to full implementation, but it can vary significantly based on complexity. Don’t rush it — that leads to rookie mistakes.

My leadership team is allergic to change. Any tips for getting buy-in?

Find ways to get them invested! Bring leaders into the process early, share provocative “what if” visions that inspire them, and focus on strategic growth rationale vs just aesthetic makeovers.

Should we keep any elements of our old brand?

Not necessarily! A complete rebranding often involves torching everything and starting anew. However, if certain elements are too iconic to lose (or scaredy-cat executives veto the “all-new” approach), look for ways to modernise or reinterpret them within the new system.

How can I keep costs down?

Strategic rebrands aren’t cheap, but keep an eye out for areas where you can DIY. For example, conducting initial research in-house, using stock assets instead of commissioning custom photo shoots, negotiating agency fees creatively, and rolling out in waves instead of all at once.

Is there an ideal time to launch a rebranding?

Many experts recommend the new year, after significant holiday seasons, or the start of a fiscal quarter to coincide with fresh budgets/cycles. However, perfect timing depends heavily on your particular business cadence.

Our rebranding rollout went weirdly smooth… can we stop now?

Nope! You’re never “done” building a healthy brand. Keep optimising based on data and audience sentiment. What works today won’t necessarily work in 5 years.

We’re not a Fortune 500 company. Does rebranding matter for smaller fish?

Absolutely! A smartly executed rebrand can be even more transformative and business-critical for startups and challenger brands trying to stake out new territory and connect emotionally. Go deep!

That should cover most of the burning questions around branded beefcake-building! But as always, shout if any stumpers pop up along the way.

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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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