In our last article, we looked at reasons businesses often choose to rebrand and provided 4 top strategies to help you shape your new brand.
In this article, we explore how to implement those strategies to effectively rebrand.
Let’s first consider whether a partial or total rebrand is the best option for your company.
Partial vs. Total Rebrand
Rebranding has to be done with caution, as the more established your business is, the more you will have to lose.
When your business is more mature, a partial rebrand can help you maintain brand loyalty while refreshing your image.
Rather than a complete rebrand, think of a partial rebrand as an adjustment to your visual brand identity that fits new products or markets.
A partial rebrand can still be effective, however. Old Spice is a great example. Old Spice redefined its position in the market and has seen massive growth every year since repositioning the brand — while still retaining what made it so cool.
A total rebrand, however, may be necessary if your company’s mission, vision, and values are changing drastically. For mergers, product overhauls, and other similar foundational changes, this option is typically appropriate.
From your name to your purpose, market, and brand identity, everything is on the table.
A partial rebrand is a quick touch-up; a total rebrand is a complete overhaul.
The following five steps can help you successfully rebrand your business once you determine whether your business needs a partial or total revamp.
1. Reestablish your brand’s audience and market.
As a result of extensive market research, including focus groups and analyzing the data, you have discovered something startling – your customers (or competitors) aren’t who you expected.
Perhaps this is a demographic you never expected to engage with. Perhaps a new competitor has entered the market and is directly competing with your products or services.
You have the data to prove it.
Consider who is actually buying from you — and who they are buying from instead of you. Taking a look at this in comparison to your initial target market and audience might reveal some stark differences.
When you’ve identified your actual market and audience, you can start rebranding your company to connect with customers (and outsmart your competitors).
2. Redefine your company’s vision, mission, and values.
Do you know what you’re doing? Do you know how you are doing it, and why are you doing it?
A rebrand requires you to re-evaluate your vision, mission, and values. It’s easy to take your message foundations for granted, but they can change over time.
What once seemed set in stone can be completely undone by new products, priorities, services, or stakeholders.
To figure out which parts of your company need a little love, analyze the following components.
Here’s a big one. As the North Star of everything your company does, it’s essential you have a clear vision before moving forward – additionally, your vision may have evolved over time. While that’s fine, you must redefine your vision as soon as possible to ensure all your employees make decisions based on it.
Rebranding affects everything from your website redesign to your hiring process.
The vision is the what, the mission is the how. Maybe you’re still going in the same direction, but your approach has changed. Your company’s mission is its roadmap.
A rebrand requires that your messaging change as well — just as crucial as vision.
Sweetgreen, for example, uses its mission statement to describe the brand, from its advertisements to its press releases. This motto guides everything about Sweetgreen’s brand.
Values are the driving force behind your brand. It’s why you’re committed to your vision, and why you’re working towards it.
As brands expand and change, some of their founding values may become unsustainable. You may need to update your company’s values if you can’t support your old ones or have come to prioritize new ones.
You will also need to change how you communicate the mission, vision, and values of your company during rebranding. Using the right vocabulary, tone, and voice for your brand is crucial. In other words, if what you’re saying is changing, then how you’re saying it will need to change, too.
3. Rename your company during a rebrand.
It is a big undertaking to change your company’s name, one that can damage your brand recognition and organic search traffic. Make sure your post-rebrand strategy includes a plan for recovery if you’re renaming your company.
In general, if your name still fits, you should keep it. However, if the name of your company doesn’t match its identity, it might be time to rethink it. For starters, here are some ideas to help make the renaming process a little less daunting:
- Make a new word
- Use an old word in new ways
- Say what you do (literally)
- Modify a word’s spelling
- Add a prefix or suffix
- Look to other languages
- Bring two words together
- Create an acronym
- Use a location
Focus on aligning your name with your brand’s vision, mission, and values, rather than just what sounds good. By doing so, your new name will be more likely to support your long-term goals and growth.
4. Reconsider your brand’s slogan.
Good slogans capture the mission and vision of your company. This is your company’s purpose in a nutshell. Changing slogans is easier for marketing than changing names. However, it is still important to think carefully before changing your name.
First, ask yourself, why do you want to change your slogan?
Because you’ve heard your slogan so many times, it’s easy to hate it. However, it is that repetition that builds brand recognition. In spite of the fact that you might have grown tired of your slogan after seeing it constantly, your customers might love it.
In case you’re on the fence, you can hold focus groups to see if the slogan really resonates. These starting points could give you some new ideas for slogans if it doesn’t:
- Make a claim
- Get metaphorical
- Use poetic language
- Provide instructions
- Leverage labels
- Compliment customers
5. Rebuild your brand identity.
By the time you start considering a rebrand, the tangible elements you use to communicate your brand may have been in play for a few years. As a result, you have likely had time to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses prior to replacing them.
Consider redesigning your logo, using new colors in your brand materials, or even creating new brand guidelines. As part of your rebranding strategy, you might make these changes:
When you started your company, maybe you loved your logo, but your customers never understood it. You may also want to refresh your logo to reflect other major changes you’ve made internally.
Getting your logo redesign right this time requires going back to the basics of what makes a good logo.
Keep it simple. It’s generally not a good idea to jam as much symbolism as possible into a logo. For young companies that are still striving to prove themselves, that’s a hard truth. Having established yourself, a simple logo shows your confidence.
Make an impact. When designing your original logo, maybe you chose a safe route because you feared being bold. If people can’t remember your logo, it’s not worth much, so don’t settle for something that won’t stand out when you’re redesigning it.
Don’t be afraid to adapt. One thing you may have learned from your first logo is that it has limitations. Keep in mind the shapes or styles that might not be as versatile for the channels your business actually uses during the redesign process.
Make sure it is appropriate. When a company matures and gets to know its customers better, a logo that might have been appropriate at launch could now seem completely inappropriate.
Consider the long term. In spite of how fun rebranding can seem, you don’t want to do it every year. So think carefully about your vision, mission, values, and purpose, and determine whether the new logo can support them in the long run.
Maintain through-lines. Logos are one of the most memorable aspects of your brand, just like your name. Try to maintain the parts of your old logo that worked when rebranding to avoid losing too much brand recognition. Maintaining a sense of continuity will allow you to retain some of the brand recognition your old logo had.
Choosing Your New Color Palette
Colors can have a huge impact on your brand — some colors, like McDonald’s yellow, have become synonymous with brands that use them. It can be challenging to choose the right color for your company, and your color might need updating as your company grows.
By using color psychology and competitor research, you can assess whether your brand colors work with (or against) your brand image.
You may have also noticed that your colors don’t look the same in print versus on-screen now that you’ve been working with them for a while. During your rebrand, make sure the colors look the same across a variety of brand materials.
As with your original color, your original font may have exhibited differently in practice. Be aware of what worked and what didn’t work with your previous font, as well as any difficulties you encountered — such as accessing the font for web design or PowerPoint presentations.
Additionally, you might want to consider whether your font is consistent with any markets or messages uncovered during the rebranding process. It might be better to use a more traditional Serif font if your customers are more mature than you initially anticipated. The medium is the message, after all.
Having a good understanding of your marketing channels will allow you to make better decisions about weight and cuts, such as which fonts look good and which don’t.
Shapes and Imagery Revisited
A brand’s identity is shaped by its imagery and shapes, as well as its logo, color palette, and typography. If you’re changing any of your brand’s other visual elements, you should reconsider your imagery and shapes to keep everything cohesive.
It’s not enough for your rebrand to look cohesive — it must also support the core messages of your brand. Make sure your new brand identity reflects the what, how, and why behind your brand at every step in the branding process.
Building New Brand Guidelines
If you’re going to create a new brand identity for your business, you better use it correctly. Your brand will remain consistent after the transition if you have (and use) brand guidelines.
For logos, brand guidelines are especially important. With logo guidelines, customers can easily see, recognize, and remember your logo — making up for any familiarity lost when you rebrand.
When writing your guidelines, consider these elements:
Elements of the logo. What are the visual elements that make up your logo? What is the purpose of each of them? When and how are they used?
Variations in color. What does your colored logo look like? How about black and white? Which of these is used when?
Clear space. Also known as padding, this protects your logo from overlap or obscuration. Always aim for at least 10% of width.
Unacceptable uses. Is there anything you can never do to your logo? Do you want to avoid color variations, rotations, scaling, etc.?
When it comes time to redesign your website, create a rebrand campaign, or create other marketing materials, make sure you have your guidelines on hand.
6. Track brand sentiment along the way.
As you design all the new elements of your rebrand, get feedback from your customers. You can conduct focus groups to determine whether the new branding images and messages communicate your new mission, values, and vision. It might be time to go back to the drawing board if you don’t receive positive feedback.
In rebranding, it is crucial to track brand sentiment before, during, and after the launch. Customer sentiment can be analyzed before a rebrand to determine what customers dislike. Taking this into account, you can conduct your rebrand strategically, adding new messaging that aligns with your audience.
Once you’ve evaluated the feedback and tested your new rebranding elements in a focus group, it’s time to launch your rebrand.
7. Plan a successful launch.
The process of launching a rebrand isn’t as straightforward as changing your website’s colors, fonts, or logo. Rebranding is about communicating your new message: What is your new mission, values, and vision? Planning a successful rebranding launch is essential to communicating this.
Advertisements can be posted online, in print, on TV, on radio, etc. Next, you will want to launch your rebrand with a press release on your site and a social media post that describes what this rebrand means for the future of your company.
In the best case scenario, a rebrand can serve as an incentive to maintain consistency in your marketing efforts moving forward — something that can slip over time in businesses.
Looking to rebrand, but don’t know where to start?
Our team of experts can ensure that you get the most from your business, if a rebrand is on your mind don’t hesitate to get in contact with our expert team. We will manage the rebrand alongside you, constantly communicating what your vision for the future of your organization is – with our help we can revolutionize the way your business is projected to the world. Get in contact with our team and see what more we can do for you.