It happens to the best of us: you spend all that time and effort growing your business, and suddenly you've outgrown your brand. Maybe you've refocused your service offering. Perhaps you've narrowed in on a new audience. Maybe you're doing everything right - but your competitors are doing it better. Or it could be that COVID-19 has got you rethinking who you are and what you stand for.
If something inside you is telling you it's time to try something different, listen to that voice. If you're not sure quite what that "something different" is, we can say with almost total certainty that it's a rebrand.
Change Looks Good on You
Rebranding can be a scary thought. After all, you've spent all that time building brand equity and familiarity. Your audience knows what you look like, sound like, and promise to deliver. But brands are ever-evolving things. They have to be because audiences and their needs are always evolving. Even some of the most recognizable brands out there have reinvented themselves to stay fresh, relevant, and top-of-mind.
Starbucks and Apple instantly come to mind. Both launched with elaborate logos and brand identities that have become increasingly simple and iconic (not to mention suited to digital media) over time. Neither has lost sales or brand recognition over it. In fact, the opposite is true.
Then there's Old Spice. Long beloved by the world's grandpas, it wanted to branch out to capture a younger audience. The brand leaned into the notion of "manliness," jazzing up its packaging and copywriting and focusing on social-friendly ad campaigns. The end result was a major win for the company.
There are plenty of reasons you might want to rebrand, and plenty of good things that can come of it. Rebranding helps create a fresh, targeted, and relevant brand. And at a time when the world's needs, norms, and expectations have all undergone a huge change, now is an excellent time to consider what your brand needs to bring to the table.
How Big Should You Go?
Rebrands can range from the equivalent of a lick of paint to a foundations-up renovation. If you want to make sure that you're aligned with current aesthetics or market preferences, a "refresh" of your logo, typefaces, or color palette might be all you need. Google's gradually shifting logo and style is a top-notch example of the typical refresh.
Then there's the full rebrand, which goes well beyond a simple visual makeover. This entails a wholesale reimagining of your brand values, mission, identity, and vision. McDonald's is a pro at the rebrand: they have no qualms about starting over if it means closing the gap between consumer expectations and reality.
Some brands prefer to strike a happy medium, going with a new look and feel that ties in with a shift in emphasis or product line. Take Dunkin' Donuts, which recently became just Dunkin' in order to focus more on its coffee offering. The core brand pillars are still there, but they're presented a little differently.
The extent of your rebrand will depend on what you're trying to achieve and what needs to change for you to get there. For some brands, an updated logo and visual identity are plenty. Others might want to hit the "do-over" button, especially in the wake of COVID-19.
Dos and Don'ts of Rebranding
If you're going to pull the trigger on a rebrand, remember that rebrands should be strategic. To return to our renovation analogy, you don't just want to knock out a wall without checking to see what it's holding up.
Here are some handy dos and don'ts to keep in mind.
- Do think beyond your logo. Changing your logo won't fix deeper issues with your brand. Be honest about the challenges you're facing and consider a more impactful approach.
- Don't forget to get buy-in. A rebrand is a major undertaking and should have support from your major decision-makers. Otherwise, you're going to have a hard sell on your hands.
- Do your research. Remember when Uber changed its logo and mystified everyone? Research your market and test on an audience before unveiling a new look or brand.
- Don't get too out there. You want your brand to stand out, but not too much. A rebrand that erases your brand equity or sets you too far apart from others in your category won't do you any favors.
- Do keep it real. Lofty promises of making the world a better place are great, but only if they actually align with what you do. Authenticity is always better than smoke and mirrors.
- Don't rebrand just because. Ask yourself why you want to rebrand. If it's just out of boredom or because you want to make your mark on the business, reconsider. A rebrand should be strategic and underpinned by a real business need.
- Do hire an expert team. Reconsider undertaking a rebrand yourself or outsourcing it to a marketing intern. Branding experts (like StellaPop) can guide you through a rebrand that looks great - and delivers.
If you think a rebrand is in your immediate future and you want an experienced team to take you through the process, get in touch!