Rebranding your business is a big task, so you want to be confident that doing so is the right move. First, make sure that you not only know what exactly a brand is, but that you also know what rebranding means and have a real, valid reason to do so. When done effectively, rebranding is a great tool for companies looking to revamp their look and feel.

What is a brand?

According to branding expert Seth Godin, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” Basically, your brand is what makes you you. It’s everything about your business that makes you recognizable and creates loyalty in customers.

What is rebranding?

In Laurent Muzellec and Mary Lambkin’s article “Corporate rebranding: destroying, transferring or creating brand equity?” they define rebranding as “a marketing strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders.” To simplify things, rebranding is when a business further develops their identity, often giving it a fresh look and feel in order to remain competitive and appealing to consumers.

Why should you rebrand?

If you don’t have a true reason to rebrand, doing so may only negatively impact your business and confuse customers. It’s also important to recognize that more than just your logo needs to change. Other things to update could include your brand’s mission statement, brand philosophy, and product offerings.

According to a blog post by Canva about rebranding, “Everyone knows logos are important, but it’s not all about the logo. These days, your brand must permeate all parts of the market, from your packaging and print ads, to social media posts and campaign videos.” Does your brand do this? If not, it’s time for a rebrand.

When should you rebrand?

Change is necessary; businesses can’t remain stagnant. Your goal when rebranding isn’t to create a completely different brand, it’s to give your already-existing brand a makeover. Here are a couple of instances where a rebrand may be necessary:

  • Your business is merging with another business. When two businesses combine, it’s often necessary to rebrand in order to incorporate both businesses into the new logo, mission statement, and overall identity.
  • You’ve outgrown your company’s original mission. As your business grows and changes over time, you may find that you’re pursuing different goals than when you began. Updating your mission statement can establish clarity, which will further help you rejuvenate your entire brand.
  • Your logo was designed a long time ago or may only be attracting a certain kind of audience. If it’s possible that the appearance of your logo is hindering your business’s potential, it may be worthwhile to make some changes. Additionally, if your logo is just plain outdated, it’s probably best to update it. Although we all know the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” we also know that most of the time, everyone does.
  • You’re coming out with a big new product or idea. The big reveal of a new product, product line, service, or idea can be a great time to rebrand. If your business expects the new addition to be the main focus of the company, it’s a great time to update your brand’s look as well.

How do you rebrand?

Before beginning your rebrand, be sure to have a clear business objective. If you don’t know exactly where you want your brand to go, how can you expect your rebrand to be successful?

  • First, focus specifically on your target audience. Who are you targeting? Is your audience changing, expanding, or narrowing? If part of your decision to rebrand is due to your old logo appealing only to a certain audience, then reassessing your target audience or audiences is vital. However, be sure not to alienate old customers when attracting new ones!
    • Example: Vans. Originally, the shoe brand was associated with skaters and the punk music featured at Van’s Warped Tour. Today, Vans are a staple in everyday fashion not only for men, but women too. However, the company has made sure not to forget about the people who helped them reach success. They’ve remained true to their original style and audience while also marketing to new customers.

Vans in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” in 1982.

Photo by Angela Dutre

Vans in women’s fashion today.

  • Next, think about which aspects of your brand currently attract customers. What makes your product resonate with your audience? Does your brand align with the current needs and desires of your customers? By playing to your products’ strengths, you can better emphasize why your business is so great.
    • One way to do this is by rethinking your product availability. Where does it make the most sense for your product to be sold: in stores or online? Make your product easily accessible to consumers. If it’s something that’s most often bought online, make sure your website is appealing and easy for buyers to use.
  • Make your brand relevant. So many successful rebrands are due to companies recognizing when consumers weren’t connecting with their product or brand. The success of a product is largely determined by how it’s marketed, so having a strong brand is essential.
    • Example, Old Spice. Rebranding completely turned this business around. Before its major rebrand campaign, Old Spice was viewed as a product for older men. Then, it found relevancy in marketing toward a younger crowd by coming across as the “cool” product. The company also realized that women purchase the majority of men’s body washes and deodorants. This revelation led them to appeal to women with their advertisements.
  • Finally, the most obvious aspect of rebranding: the logo. Don’t overcomplicate your logo change, but don’t make the change so small that it’s hardly noticeable, either. Many brands have made this mistake in the past and then returned to the original logo, costing them a lot of money for little reason.
    • Example: Coca-Cola. This brand has made logo changes throughout the years without losing its identity. By gradually updating their look, Coca-Cola is able to remain up-to-date and relevant while still being true to their brand.

Coca-Cola logo 1887-1890.                                           Coca-Cola logo 1890-1891.                                            Coca-Cola logo today.

With these tips, your business can execute a successful rebrand. Remember, rebranding is successful when done right. Make sure all changes are necessary and focus on the same objective, breathing new life into your business.