You can’t move for people mentioning branding design these days. The term gets thrown around a lot as people realise its full potential, but to clients it can mean anything from a new logo to the wider (and more accurate) meaning, which is how your business is perceived by others.
A brand is a company’s identity. It gives customers something to relate to and connect with beyond the product or service they’re buying from you.
That’s not to say a logo doesn’t play a huge role in a rebrand, it most certainly does, but it’s just a piece in the wider puzzle of discovering what your brand stands for, the problems you solve for your customers and how you want to present yourself to the world.
Let’s discover why, when and how to rebrand.
When is it time to rebrand?
Rebranding happens all around us, all the time. Whether it’s a gritty reboot of a classic childhood cartoon, or an egomaniac changing a little blue bird into a generic “x”. The reasons for a rebrand are usually complex, and should be seen as more than just a “makeover”.
Why do brands rebrand?
Here are a just a few reasons why:
- The Epiphany: Your original branding had no serious thought put into it, you’ve discovered your audience, and know more about the path you want to take.
- “Damage Limitation”: Your brand, in its current form, has been involved in either some controversy, bad news or situation and the associations are now synonymous with your brand. In short, you need a fresh start.
- The New Black: Your old brand is outdated, or took advantage of an old trend and now feels dated. You speak and trade in an old-fashioned way and the market is changing.
- The Merger: Your brand was bought out by another company and needs to reflect the change in ownership or direction.
There are, of course, countless other reasons why a company might want to undertake a rebranding exercise, and often the “why” and “when” are for the same reasons. What is important is you equip yourself with all the necessary information, skilled professionals and research to ensure you get it right for your brand and customers.
Why Rebranding is More Than Just a Makeover
To some businesses, rebranding might seem just like slapping a new coat of paint on an old car. But trust me, it should be seen as so much more. Whilst changing a colour or a font here or there can make a dramatic difference, it is far short of a rebrand.
Rebranding is a strategic move that aligns your brand with your goals, values, and audience. While some companies will never see the value in a full rebrand (not when you can grab a new logo off Fiverr), those that take the process seriously will always reap the rewards.
A great example of a company that rebrand but didn’t even change their logo was LEGO. It’s hard to imagine (especially if you have kids) that the world-famous toy building brick company we know and love, was really struggling in the early 2000s.
By 2003 they were running out of cash and faced massive amounts of debt, why? They diversified way too quickly, started creating insanely complex models, moved away from their core product: opened three theme parks, created low quality video games. In essence they had neglected their core audience: children.
So how did LEGO rebrand? They focused on their core audience and USPs (unique selling points): bricks, quality and children.
- They simplified their product offering, reducing costs and appealing more to children.
- They repositioned themselves as a quality offering: LEGO is not cheap.
- They started buying into high profile IPs (intellectual properties) that children loved: Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel and DC.
- They sold their theme parks and video games franchises.
- They started living and breathing LEGO; engaging with their fans, with “the scene” and with creators.
LEGO went from nearly bankrupt to being worth over $7 billion today. All without changing their logo.
Unleashing Your Brand’s True Potential
Before you assemble your designers to gather around the whiteboard, have a go yourself. No, that doesn’t mean having a stab at a logo, instead use some time to define your vision and start answering some questions.
Trust me, your designers will really appreciate the effort and information. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Where do you want your brand to go?
- Talk to people in your team, ask them how they perceive the brand.
- Ask your customers the same thing.
- Research your customers, their demographics. What other brands do they like, what are their interests?
- Which brands align with your values, and those of your customers?
- What is your USP? What do you do that your competitors don’t, or can’t?
Whenever we take on board a new rebranding project we ask the client these sorts of questions, and plenty more, so we can really understand the requirements armed with as much information as possible.
The more prepared a client is, the more likely they will pass on the right insights to a branding expert, which invariably lead to a better end result, and sooner.
Can you rebrand your business yourself?
Of course you can, it is after all your business.
However, you have to ask yourself if you truly believe you have the right skills and available time to achieve the best possible results for your brand.
In my opinion (and as outlined in the previous section) there is a wealth of value and insight a business can provide a branding expert and designer and this is where their focus should lie; in collaboration with the professionals.
Remember, a rebrand is a journey, not a sprint. So, keep the momentum going and keep the communication lines open.
What is involved in a rebrand?
The scope of a rebrand is often dictated by budget. Sometimes a rebrand might only result in minimal changes to the logo, or a tweak to colours and fonts. A fuller rebranding project tends to focus on many other aspects of the brand, however.
Some things you might consider include:
- Brand persona: Who are you? There are at least 12 types of brand persona, ranging from “The Joker” to “The Rebel” and everything in between. Figuring out your persona type early on can help with many other aspects of a rebrand.
- Tone of voice: How does your brand communicate? How does your audience like to be spoken to? Getting some tone of voice guidelines in place will help inform your content creators.
- Fonts, colours, imagery: What resonates with your customers? What compliments your rebrand? How do you convey your brand’s values through photography or illustration?
- Resource: How much time will you have to implement your branding on a day-to-day basis. Who will be your brand champion and chief content creator? What tools will they have at their disposal to deliver a consistent and on-brand message?
How do you know if a rebrand is successful?
When you’re dealing with stakeholders, whoever that may be; customers, the boss, colleagues and so on, then metrics matter. But measuring your rebranding success is not just about vanity metrics; it’s about understanding the impact of your rebrand on your goals. Are you attracting more eyes, gaining new customers, and boosting conversions?
Identify the key metrics early and let your branding experts know what you hope to achieve. Define what “success” looks like, so the creative team can deliver the best possible rebrand for your business.
How to Rebrand Without Losing Customers
It is important to know that rebrands can take time to come into their own and one of the most important keys to success is consistency.
Your rebrand should be built on solid research and customer insights and therefore should be respected and adhered to. Being inconsistent or pivoting regularly can alienate and confuse your audience, so understanding the goals and values and embodying them will solidify your rebrand.
It’s probably inevitable that there will be some negative reaction to your rebrand, though if you follow the right process, these will hopefully come from a minority and not your intended audience.
Knowing when a rebrand is required, the reasons behind it, and making sure the project will appeal to your core audience is key.
Getting buy-in from your audience will only happen if you get buy-in from your own team. Again, make sure they are involved where possible, and early on.
Let key stakeholders find data and answer questions to help the branding team. Whilst having too many opinions later on can lead to thousands of amends (a designer’s nightmare), supplying key information and opinions before a pencil has hit the paper is invaluable.
New Brand New Beginning
With a rebrand, the aim is to unleash your brand’s true potential and give it a fresh start in the spotlight. You are giving yourself a better chance to connect with your core audience and the process should be taken seriously.
But remember, rebranding isn’t a one-time gig; it’s a continuous journey of growth and evolution, alongside consistency. So, keep true to your brand, keep listening to your customers, remain curious, stay authentic and most importantly – let your brand shine!