In a world as fast paced as ours, rebranding is a great way to keep up with the times. Rebranding doesn’t mean mass transformation, if anything, great rebranding maintains tradition but pushes forward on modernity. Brands like Coca Cola, Nike and McDonalds are great examples of brands who never drastically change what works but instead showcase the brand’s ability to mould to modern trends and keep up with consumer desires.
Elements of rebranding can range from subtle changes to huge overhauls – it might involve changing your logo, website design, brand colours, typography, name, messaging, tone of voice or even your communicated values and who you’re targeting. Although a brand is often thought of as something outward-facing, it can also be an internal change, as you make changes to your organisational structure or management styles. An example of this could be more diverse hiring or smarter social media approaches.
Another element of rebranding is knowing when the best time is for a rebrand. Perhaps you’ve moved into a new product category or territory. Maybe you’re aware that elements of your brand carry certain negative associations. Or it could be you didn’t think too much about branding when you started up and now you have the time and money to invest in something slicker. A strong and coherent rebrand will tell your story in a new way and strengthen your brand identity and equity with customers. It’ll also mean an alignment with all stakeholders on your brand values, a refresh for staff and an injection of purpose, plus an opportunity to reflect on what’s been successful so far.
It’s worth remembering that rebrands aren’t always successful. For example, when Facebook rebranded to Meta, for example, public trust dropped by 5%. Rebranding too often can also spur a sense of mistrust among customers. As a small business, you can’t afford to damage your brand and lose market share. You also can’t afford to waste valuable resources on something that doesn’t achieve your aims – particularly given the high cost (generally around 10% to 20% of marketing budget) of a rebrand.
Rebranding can be mild or intense. At the less intensive end, we have what’s often called a refresh. This involves tweaking imagery, adding some new bits in and taking some away, but keeping the message conveyed broadly the same. This would suit businesses looking to stay on trend and remain a unique proposition in a competitive sector. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the option of total transformation – often a response to more tangible happenings, such as new ownership or a major injection of investment. You might be looking at changing your name, logo and overall messaging in this situation.
Don’t try to rebrand too much or push out a brand that is too different as it might cause dissociation. A common problem with market research is that brands see what their competitors are doing and want a rebrand that stands out. Usually, this means agencies and designers focus too much on making your brand look different, instead of considering the purpose of the company they’re rebranding and its customers.
There are certain pillars to ensure a successful rebrandings. Pillars that ensure you stay true to what your brand stands for as well as coming across as forward thinking and adaptable.
Get clear on who you are and who you want to be.
If there are specific changes that have led you to consider a rebrand, note them down. Think about the values and perceptions you want to keep and the ones you want to depart from. Set some specific business goals for the process.
Analyse your brand pre rebranding
Take a close look at your brand as it is, from your logo, website and social media templates to your storefront. Pinpoint how these elements are a good reflection of how you’re currently operating and how you’re hoping to operate in the future. Then figure out how it’s not. Get clear on what you should change and what you should save.
Write a brief
Whether you’re working with an agency or sorting everything in-house, a written brief will help clarify exactly what you want from your rebrand. It should include: a description of your business and the issues you’re facing; your objectives; info on your target audience and market; anticipated budget and deadlines; the imagery you want to change; what you want to keep; and any design preferences you have. Be prepared to collaborate with designers or the agency on this brief – and be ready for it to be challenged.
Plan the timeline
There are lots of moving parts in a rebrand and you want to have a handle on them before you get started. This should involve noting down any hard deadlines, setting soft deadlines and assigning ownership to key team members. Think about when you want each asset, but also think about how you’ll implement the rebrand – whether you’ll do it gradually or all at once.
Do a soft launch
Before you publicise everything, it’s a good idea to run a soft launch. You’ll want to build plenty of testing time into your timeline. Get feedback from select groups of employees and people within your target market. What does your new branding suggest to them? What do they like and dislike about it? Does it have connotations you hadn’t thought about? You don’t have to take everything that these focus groups say as gospel, but you should definitely be open to making changes before you launch.