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Rebranding for Businesses: When and How to Make the Change
Rebranding a business is far more than selecting the fill bucket and slapping a new colour on your logo.
…but then, you already knew that. If you’re looking for info on how to rebrand your business, it’s safe to say that you grasp how branding works.
And so, we can jump straight to the big questions:
Why is rebranding important?
How do you rebrand a business?
How do you know when to rebrand?
What’s involved in a rebrand launch strategy?
Now that we’ve said ‘rebranding’ so many times it’s lost all meaning in your head, let’s get right into it.
Step 1: Why Do You Want to Rebrand?
The big ‘what’ and ‘why’ are at the core of the project; in this case, what to consider when rebranding your company, and why is rebranding important? Given the massive scope, this needs answering first.
There are many reasons a business might want to make the change:
Making a fresh start
Sometimes, you just need a redo. The exact reasons aren’t important; what matters is the fact that rebranding can give a business a fresh identity, reinventing you in the eyes of your customers.
It’s worth noting that a rebrand isn’t a magic wand that erases the past, but it is one the biggest steps to distance yourself from an old way of doing things, shift your focus and tell the world that times are changing.
Moving up in the world?
When two (or more) companies become one, it makes sense that the branding will shift to match. Sometimes that’s as simple as changing ‘Johnson Inc.’ to ‘Johnson & Johnson Inc.’ In more extreme cases, you may want to use the merge as an excuse to show off the new combo and tell your audience that you’re a new, stronger company offering more of that thing that they want.
Regardless of scale, a business merger means your branding needs updating to proclaim that you’re bigger, better and always looking for growth.
Changes in the market & a shift to digital
That pesky market, never standing still. Still, that’s business – and sometimes the market shifts so far that you need to change your brand to match what people expect. The last few years have seen a massive shift towards digital and online, which has led to many a rebrand as companies keep up with a changing market.
Changes to your products/services
This one is just common sense: if you want to make changes to the products and services you offer, then there’s a good chance your old brand no longer works as intended.
After all, a brand should be closely linked to what you’re offering. If your offer changes, then people should get a good idea of what to expect from that first glimpse of your branding.
Your brand is old and tired
Can’t put it plainer than that, unless ‘long in the tooth’ is still a thing people say. One of the simplest ways you know when to rebrand is a basic need for an update.
Lacking a website might have been hip and edgy in the early noughties, and the killer logo colour combo of cheddar yellow/terracotta orange was probably a smash hit in the 80s. Now? Customers expect every part of your brand experience to get with the trends of ‘current year’.
Times change, styles shift, and expectations fluctuate. Nothing stays the same, and a rebrand is often necessary to make crucial updates.
Step 2: What’s Involved in a Rebrand?
Now that we’ve covered the ‘why’, it’s time to tackle the ‘what’.
Rebranding isn’t a shrink-wrapped, one-size-fits-all gig, and no two projects will ever be the same. How rebranding works is a slow-and-steady process, but you can expect a few constants:
The big discussion: what’s your brand all about?
Branding and the core of your business are fundamentally linked, so the very first thing on the agenda is making sure we get your business, down to the tiniest detail.
A few of the questions you can expect:
- What’s your audience? What do they expect from you, and how can we manage their expectations after big changes to your brand?
- Who are your competitors? What are they up to, and what do you offer that sets you apart?
- What’s your positioning? What message are you sending right now with your branding, and what message do you want to send once the rebrand is complete?
- What are your values? What core ideals are baked into the DNA of your business, and how do they come across in your brand?
Once we’ve got a solid grasp on the deep and meaningfuls, it’s time to move to the nuts and bolts of a rebrand:
- What do you want to achieve? A decent place to start, as you need to know what you want to get out of a rebrand. More sales? Changing the perception of your brand? Letting people know about your shift in focus/products/services? First, define your goals with absolute clarity.
- Do you already have a marketing strategy? If so, that all needs to shift along with your brand. For example, people want a smooth, cohesive experience between clicking on an ad and visiting your website. Every part of your rebranding marketing strategy needs tailoring to match.
- What parts of your brand can be changed? When it comes to the ‘visible’ parts of your brand (e.g. logo, colours), what are the rules? What’s in the brand guideline, what needs to stay the same, what absolutely needs to go? It’s crucial to decide which parts to keep, ensuring you stay recognisable, and marking segments of your brand that need updating or binning entirely.
After establishing the facts, work can begin on some or all of the practical elements of rebranding.
While this is obviously the most labour intensive part of the process, what needs to change can vary wildly from one project to the next. That’s why the info-gathering stage is so important: it minimises project time and makes sure that a rebrand only focuses on what needs doing.
Step 3: Your Rebrand Launch Strategy
Let’s say all the work is done, your rebrand is complete, and it’s looking shiny. New coat of paint and everything.
How do you relaunch a brand?
There are a few boxes to be checked, since you’re presenting what might be a whole new identity to the world, and that can be jarring for customers who’ve learned to trust the old version. You can also take the rebrand as an opportunity to market, host promotions and communicate with your audience.
Here’s a brief rundown of a relaunch strategy:
- Launch at the right time for maximum coverage. There’s a time and a place to launch a brand, and it’s not Friday afternoon. Be purposeful, pick your moment, and make sure you leave plenty of time to make every change you need to.
- If it’s a major shift, communicate to your audience. Social media, website banners, EDM; a rebrand is a major event, and you want your audience to be prepared. Take the opportunity to communicate, share your reasons, and reassure people that it’s still the same great business they know and love.
- Socialise the brand internally. It almost goes without saying, but make sure your own team knows exactly what’s going on and has the most current info, especially if they’re the ones selling your products/services. Your team is a vital part of a rebrand launch strategy.
- Get your new material up to date and ready. Launch day is almost here, so get printing. Business cards, brochures, digital campaigns, and whatever else has your branding; it all needs updating, and it should all happen at exactly the same time.
- Make it a celebration. A rebrand is an exciting time for new growth and opportunities, so have fun with it! Whip up a promotion, show off new designs on your social media pages, or create a countdown for the launch of new assets. Don’t be afraid to generate some excitement; it’s your brand (re)birthday.
So, what’s next?
Two things are at the core of every brand: trust and confidence.
A rebrand is an awesome way to refresh or rekindle these two, if you put in the work, delve right down into the core of your business identity, and put your audience first when making decisions.
As mentioned, rebranding isn’t a magic miracle cure, it’s not a quick shot in the arm for any issues, and there’s no solid rulebook for how to rebrand a business since every single one of them will have their own challenges.
If well planned and considered, however? It’s a fantastic way to refresh, refocus and rekindle interest in your business, giving you the chance for a new start with old experience on your side.
Looking for more info on rebranding a business?