Rebranding: When And How To Do It The Right Way
We live in a world where trends are frequently evolving. The knock-on effect is the status quo being challenged.
Whether it’s business, technology, working style, or shopping – what worked yesterday might not work today. And what works today, well, may not work tomorrow.
And it’s particularly true for branding efforts that companies undertake to keep up with the requirements of today.
Those who are successful have at least two aspects: they are strategic in the way they operate and, two, forward-thinking in their approach.
Rebranding is one way to keep up with the emerging trends. Moreover, it might be necessary to stay on top of customers’ minds and power growth.
We’ll get into the ‘when’ and ‘how’ of rebranding, but first, the ‘what’.
What Is Rebranding?
When a brand pivots its marketing strategy with a name change, enhancements to or a complete overhaul of its branding, and tweaks any element of design intending to foster a new brand identity, it’s known as rebranding.
Over the years, behemoths across industries have rebranded to avoid stalling and stop the business from regressing.
Companies have rebranded twice, thrice, four times, and even more. However, not all rebranding efforts are successful.
For example, more than 40 per cent of people said they couldn’t recognise Uber’s rebranded logo, which also received only a three-star rating compared to the previous logo’s four-star rating.
Why Should You Consider Rebranding?
Brands may need to rebrand for different reasons, such as:
- To reposition
- To drive worldwide growth
- To overcome a bad brand image
- Acquisition or merger
If rebranding is part of a strategy to target different geographical regions, it’s paramount to adopt a brand name that appeals to different audiences and cultures.
Rebranding doesn’t always mean revamping the entire branding strategy either.
Let’s look at the different circumstances in which companies might need to rebrand themselves.
A change to the brand’s position and promise can help distinguish itself from the competition and clarify its problems.
What’s more, it will shape a new way of brand storytelling that resonates with prospects and customers.
To Drive Worldwide Growth
Rebranding might be necessary if a brand name is too specific for a country and plans to expand its business across international markets.
Prominent examples include Smiths to Lay’s, Postbank to ING, and Raider to Twix.
Bad Brand Image
Rebranding might also be essential if a company has a lousy reputation and needs to overturn customers/audiences’ perceptions.
Acquisition Or Merger
When two companies and, consequently two brands, join hands – rebranding is often essential to unify the identities. In this case, rebranding helps build trust and avoids confusion.
Reasons Not To Rebrand
While the reasons mentioned above are substantive enough for companies to consider a rebrand, the following reasons don’t warrant one.
Maybe a company’s branding efforts haven’t borne fruits yet, or customer acquisition hasn’t gathered pace. But rebranding is not a solution in either case.
At best, it might be able to generate short-term buzz through PR and social media campaigns. But without a sustainable sales and marketing strategy, rebranding won’t salvage the situation.
A company’s 25th, 50th, 75th, or 100th anniversary doesn’t have to be marked with rebranding. The exception would be if an organisation had already planned for a rebrand and wanted to usher in the new identity on the anniversary.
Board Thinks “It’s Time”
Perhaps employees aren’t happy, revenues have declined, and partnerships haven’t manifested. And so, the board contemplates a rebrand.
Rebranding should only be contemplated if the company needs a refresh of its brand identity or plans to capture a new market or attract a new audience.
Leadership Wants To Make A Mark
Too often, executives and board members want to make their mark, so their first big move is to rebrand.
It is not a strategic decision to help the company grow long-term, increase revenues, or improve customer acquisition.
The caveat is that once the current leadership’s tenure ends, the following leadership might ask for another refresh.
Scale Of Rebrand
A company has identified it’s time to rebrand, but does it need a complete rebrand, or is a partial rebrand enough? Let’s find out.
Established brands have more to lose from a rebrand, especially if it’s a complete rebrand. On the other hand, partial rebranding helps refresh the image to keep up with the trends while retaining brand loyalty.
You cannot avoid a complete rebrand if a company’s values and vision are changing, its product and service offerings have evolved, and it’s merging with another brand.
In this case, the brand identity, logo design, mission statement, and almost everything about the brand will need a complete makeover.
The scale of rebranding will shape how you drive the process to completion.
How To Rebrand
By now, we’ve understood what rebranding entails. We’ve considered and understood the need to rebrand. We have also evaluated if you need a partial or complete rebrand. Now, it’s time to get the ball rolling.
The process of rebranding typically involves six steps.
- Conduct audience and market research
- Revisit the company’s values, vision, and mission statement
- Consider what you want to retain (and those you must change)
- Rework brand identity
- Understand customer sentiment
- Plan re-launch
1 – Conduct Audience And Market Research
It’s the first and one of the critical steps in rebranding.
Companies must understand each aspect of their business, including their current offerings, customer satisfaction, brand perception, to name a few.
Research must help understand who the target audience is, the concerns they face, how adequate your solutions are in helping improve your customers’ lives, the existing solutions in the market, and market gaps, if any.
2 – Revisit Company’s Values, Vision, And Mission Statement
As companies grow in terms of headcount, revenue, market share, product offerings, and more – it’s possible that their goals and vision have shifted.
Every business decision must be driven by its vision, mission, and values. If the approach changes at any point of the journey, companies must revisit or re-evaluate their messaging and brand positioning.
Before rebranding, a company must review its vision, mission statements, and values. And, based on the scale of rebranding, it might need to create a new set of brand ethos and redefine its mission and vision statements.
3 – Consider What You Want To Retain
In this step, the key is to understand the main problem you’re trying to solve through the rebranding process.
A list of a company’s branding elements typically includes:
- Brand name
- Brand logo
- brand tagline (or slogan)
- Website design
- App design
These must be measured for brand positioning, brand recall, ROI, effectiveness, and distinguishability.
Ensure that they are measured with the help of marketing and sales data, including website performance, brand searches, and social media followership.
It would also be helpful if companies reached out to their target demographic and gathered their feedback to get a clear picture of what’s working, what might need improving, and what might need overhauling.
4 – Rework Brand Identity
The logo design, brand colours, typography, graphic elements and imagery combine to make up the brand identity.
It’s possible that a company’s brand identity has become dated and needs a refresh. And reworking the brand identity is a significant part of a rebranding.
The brand logo, which can be created on your own using an online logo maker such as Picmaker, may not have to be designed from scratch, but it perhaps needs a refresh to reflect the rebranded version of the company.
It is, after all, a key part of representing a brand.
The principles of logo design do not change. It must be memorable, simple, adaptable, timeless, and unique.
Use market research and colour psychology to guide your choice of brand colours when you rebrand.
If a company’s products and services aren’t changing at rebranding, you might not change the brand colours.
On the flip side, a new colour scheme is necessary to promote a new line of products and services, and drive sales.
The font choice depends on the industry you are in and the audience you aim to cater to.
For example, if your target demographic comprises people aged 35-45, a Sans Serif font will provide a professional look and feel. And it will be easier for your message to reach them as intended.
On the contrary, fancy fonts such as Melon appeal to brands that cater to children and people in their teen years or early twenties.
Graphic Elements And Imagery
The imagery and design elements part of a company’s brand identity play a vital role in the tone and brand personality exhibited to the audience.
If brand elements such as logos are being changed, you must also alter the imagery and graphic elements to create a cohesive, consistent design.
5 – Understand Customer Sentiment
As the rebranding process takes shape, you should reach customers and stakeholders for feedback.
At this point, it must be checked if the reworked brand elements and revised mission and vision statements are clear and meet the expectations of customers and brand loyalists.
If the feedback isn’t positive, you must fine-tune the messaging to achieve the desired tone and clarity.
6 – Plan Re-launch
At this time, companies must get themselves in tune with the new brand ethos and prepare for the re-launch.
They must get the word out using different media such as TV, print advertisement using posters or flyers, and social media channels.
The next step is to publish a press release announcing the rebranding and its meaning for itself, its stakeholders, and customers.
This completes the rebranding process and ushers in a new beginning.
As companies grow, trends evolve, and business needs change, rebranding is often necessary.
On average, companies may need to rebrand themselves after seven to ten years to stay ahead of their competition, cater to their customers’ needs, and drive business growth.
However, once companies decide to rebrand, they must evaluate their reasons, as it involves money, time, and human resources.
And it doesn’t guarantee success even after vision and mission statements are revised, brand elements refreshed or overhauled, and brand ethos updated.
At this point, if companies are sure about rebranding, they must follow a six-step process before re-launch.
The process starts with conducting audience and market research. Companies must then revisit their existing values, mission and vision statements, evaluate what they can retain, and rework their brand identity.
In parallel, they must gather feedback to check if the revised brand ethos is straightforward and reflect the changes that have been incorporated.
The final step is the re-launch. Companies must take advantage of different advertising channels and media to get the word out. A press release announcing the rebranding makes it official.
Author Bio: Suhith Kumar RN is a seasoned content marketer currently heading the content marketing efforts at Picmaker. His portfolio consists of articles in different niches, including SEO, technology, sports, lifestyle, and more. His interests are video gaming, tech, and fitness. He tweets at @suhithkumarrn.