Overhauling the look feel, or even name of your brand is a big deal. So much so that many brands struggle to pull the trigger a rebrand — often to the detriment of their bottom line.
The stakes are high, after all. Get it wrong and at best you confuse your audience. At worst you've thrown away your brand equity and reputation. But sticking with outdated branding can be an even riskier proposition. You might be lagging behind the market, giving consumers the wrong impression about what you do, or failing to make room for your own growth.
How do you Know When to Rebrand?
It's time to rebrand when you've changed as a business or the market has changed around you. Perhaps you've grown from a scrappy start-up to a dominant enterprise-level business and you need to align with market expectations. Maybe you've switched verticals or pivoted, or you've added new products or services that don't fit under your current brand.
It may be time to overhaul your brand when:
- You want to nix old associations
- Your strategy, focus or audience has changed
- You're feeling stale and sales are slow
- Your original brand is broken or poorly thought out
What's In a Rebrand?
Rebrands don't have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. Some brands start over with a new name, new visual identity, and new positioning. Others keep the bulk of their brand and do a refresh to ensure relevance.
A rebrand may consist of a combination of the following:
- A new or updated name
- A new or updated logo or mark
- New or updated messaging and colors
- A new or updated/ expanded visual system
Who's Doing It?
From updates to overhauls, rebrands are everywhere. Even Google, which launched its holding company Alphabet in 2015, has given it a try.
Here are a couple of others who have caught our eye:
Budweiser—A brand refresh that draws on the brand's existing look and feel, but stripped back and simplified for today's market. It maintains the 150-year brand equity while modernizing an iconic brew for today's craft beer-oriented times.
MasterCard — Another icon that has jazzed up its look. MasterCard kept its famous Venn Diagram-style logo but simplified things in keeping with market expectations. The result is clear, simple and great for digital contexts.
Chobani — A recent brand overhaul has been good to Chobani. Its new softer logo, more gentle typeface and nature-oriented visual assets are much more in keeping with the idea of natural yogurt than its former incarnation. The result is branding that reflects the product rather than working against it.
Planning a Rebrand
A rebrand isn't something that happens overnight. If you're going to overhaul your brand, you want to take the time to do it the right way. Missing the mark or failing to capture your brand's full potential means lost opportunities and revenue. Don't be these guys. Each time you rebrand you're asking customers to develop an entirely new set of associations and expectations, so do it infrequently — and well!
Depending on the size of your company, a rebrand may take months or even a year to implement. Fortunately, that lead time means that you have plenty of opportunities to let your customers know what's going on.
You'll want to approach a partial rebrand differently from a full rebrand. For a partial rebrand, you can generally continue business as usual while rolling out small changes according to a pre-determined timeline. This reduces "shock" and lets consumers acclimatize to your adjustments.
A full overhaul is better off rolled out all at once — although you'll want to make an announcement that change is coming, and what to expect. This is particularly the case if you're changing your name or your product/services.
Case in point: IHOp (soon to be IHOb). In June 2018 it set social media alight with a "teaser" about its new name change and business direction. Customers know to expect change going forward, and have had their interest piqued about what it might be. To be determined whether or not this was a smart rebrand for the powerhouse of breakfast who is claiming they're now a burger joint. And Wendy's was starting some beef on Twitter.
One last thing: wherever possible, do your testing behind the scenes, such as on a "staging" website. This will prevent customers from being confused as you make tweaks and changes along the way.
Planning a rebrand and need an expert to take you through the process? Get in touch!