Featured image by Pavel Vinnik
A brand is everything to a successful business. There are a lot of elements that make up the brands we think about. For instance, their logo design might come to mind. Their social media presence and their values are also a part of their brand. Rebranding is something a company’s leaders might choose to do if the business has been around for a while and needs a facelift.
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Branding is a combination of features that identify the products and services of one business as different from another.
Something that a lot of business owners don’t realize though is that your branding is never completely set in stone. Your brand identity can and should evolve in certain circumstances.
The following is a guide to rebranding for businesses, from knowing when it’s something to consider to how to implement rebranding successfully.
Rebranding is a process of change where you’re working to change or shift the public identity of your business in some way.
To understand rebranding, you have to first understand branding.
Branding is how you make a memorable impression on your customers, clients, and the public in general. Clients know what they can expect of you, and you’re setting yourself apart from others.
Your brand should convey what makes you a better choice than your competition. Your brand is a representation of your business, but it’s also aspirational in some ways because you shape it to how you want to be perceived.
There are a lot of areas that make up the larger concept of a brand. There’s customer service, reputation, visual elements, advertising, and social responsibility, for example.
The goal is to have all of these different areas work together and get the attention of your targeted audience.
Branding requires an understanding of marketing and businesses, but also the human element. What appeals to real consumers? What is going to get their attention to the point where they want to do business with you rather than your competition? How does your brand not only attract new customers but foster loyalty from your current ones?
This all brings us to rebranding, which isn’t as uncommon as you might think. A lot of major national and international brands successfully rebrand all the time.
Of course, rebranding can be a failure too.
Rebranding is complex and risky, so doing it for the right reasons is imperative.
One reason to consider a rebrand is if your vision, mission, values, or market aren’t reflected in your brand anymore.
If you’re expanding locations, for example, to an international market, a rebrand can be appropriate.
Your brand is meant to connect you with your customers, so you might want to target new customers, in which case market repositioning can call for rebranding.
Mergers and acquisitions can also call for a change in brand strategy.
Your business might have been around for a long time, so your brand could simply be outdated. You might need to breathe new life into it and keep it current.
You might have also outgrown what your original mission was when you started your business, which often happens over time.
While there are plenty of good reasons to change your brand, there are some bad reasons that you should avoid.
Don’t think about rebranding simply because you’re restless or bored. This is not a viable reason.
Another reason not to rebrand is as a means to cover up a crisis. Rebranding isn’t the answer to a difficult situation, and people are going to see through your efforts and view it as a cover-up, which is what it is.
Rebranding shouldn’t be something you do if you’re just looking for short-term buzz and attention.
If you are thinking about a rebrand, it doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul. Your focus should be on meaningful, relevant changes.
The upsides of rebranding can include:
- A rebrand can give a company a sense of rejuvenation. You can make your company feel fresher and newer, and your employees might also get more excited with this. They might feel a renewed sense of creativity. Additionally, you could improve your sales and market position if you’re able to successfully rejuvenate your brand.
- You can make your company separate from your competition and create a clear sense of distinction.
- You might be able to give yourself a fresh start and change the public perception of who you are as a business.
So what about the possible downsides? These can include:
- It’s possible that rebranding can be confusing to your customers. People might not understand what you’re trying to convey, or they might think you’re an entirely new company.
- You might face backlash, particularly if your goal is to rehabilitate your public image after a negative PR event.
- There’s never a guarantee that your audience will like your rebrand, and there will probably be people who preferred it the old way.
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The following are some of the general steps that you might follow if you’re contemplating a rebrand and you want it to go smoothly:
When we say understand who you are, we mean your company. What’s central to the heart and soul of your company in terms of your mission, values, and vision?
It may have been quite a while since you thought about these things and what makes your company unique and special. Why do you exist? What voice do you want to convey, and in what tone do you want to do so?
Thinking about these elements can give you a foundation to begin rebranding.
Maybe you think you should throw everything out regarding your current brand and completely start over, but most businesses aren’t going to do that.
You’re more likely to do a partial rebrand.
When you’re doing a partial rebrand, assess what you have currently as part of your brand assets and how you can make those things work with the changes you’re considering. You can rebrand but still stay consistent in your overall branding.
Sometimes you’ll see rebranding broken down into three categories.
One is a brand refresh. A brand refresh means that you’re changing small aspects of parts of your brand. For example, maybe you’re changing your tagline and logo. A refresh can still be very impactful.
The second category is partial rebranding. Partial rebranding is when you’re changing some things and leaving others the same.
Then, there’s a brand overhaul, which typically includes every part of your brand. This is the most significant in terms of how much time and money you can plan on investing, and there’s the potential for higher levels of both risk and reward.
Rebranding requires due diligence, which, again, if your business has been around for a while, these are things you might have done in a really long time.
Research your competition. How do you set yourself apart from your competitors, and what is your unique value proposition as it stands now?
Think about what’s trendy, but not so much that your rebranding will lose steam quickly. You want your rebrand to lead to something fresh, but not something so trendy that it’s quickly dated.
Have a Strategy in Place Before You Start Rebranding
A lot of companies are caught off guard by how complex it can be to dive into a rebrand.
You have to think about so many elements, from logos to products and also web design and content. You might have to consider product guides, the clients you’re trying to target, and whether or not you’re going to need to change your name.
Additionally, you want things to go smoothly. You don’t want to lose customers while you’re in the midst of the process.
The more you can plan for everything that needs to be done and also proactively think about obstacles, the smoother the actual roll-out is likely to be.
Put members of your team in charge of different aspects of the rebrand.
Look at the entire thing as a multifaceted process that’s going to drive your entire mission going forward.
The last thing you want to do is lose your current customers due to your rebrand. You can begin to prepare current customers, so they aren’t caught off guard by the changes.
You’ll want to be transparent from the start about how and why you’re going to rebrand.
Make sure that as part of your comprehensive plan, you’re focused on the continuation of excellent customer service.
You want your rebrand to affect your current clients in the least intrusive ways possible.
When you’re ready, you want a plan for publicizing your rebrand. This is separate from your internal communication with employees and current customers.
You want to build buzz and excitement around the changes you’re making.
Even if you’re company is well-established and is performing the way you expect it to, at least giving your brand a refresh every seven to ten years is a good rule of thumb. Sometimes you can keep these changes very minor. Other times, depending on your goals, they could be larger scale.
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