Rebranding assures that a company fully moves in a new direction. Find out how you should apply rebranding strategies successfully. By using this inside info
Complete guide and strategy to make a rebranding work
It isn’t in our nature to stand still, we keep moving forward and evolve over time. This also applies to brands. Brands evolve over time, and that is where rebranding comes in. New goals and objectives are set, the markets or customers’ needs change, competition needs to be surpassed, and identities are restructured. Successful rebranding is reached when your brand embodies and conveys your new identity.
What is rebranding
The world is ever-changing, and so are brands and businesses. Over time, we rethink and redesign marketing strategies. Rebranding is then applied to introduce the new identity to customers and other stakeholders. The name, logo, design, tonality, positioning, and way of working may change to fit the new strategy. The aim is to make sure your new approach shows through in your brand, evoking the right reactions and connections when stakeholders see it.
Ask yourself: is rebranding really necessary?
Rebranding isn’t a process that happens overnight. It takes time, effort, investments and comes with risks. Your brand will be transformed, even if these changes aren’t significant, they will have an impact on the way stakeholders view your brand. You should therefore determine if a rebranding strategy is necessary and beneficial. The timing and communication to your stakeholders should also be taken into account to assure you approach this with care and respect.
Reasons for rebranding
You want your brand to stand out from the competition. Over time, a—once unique—brand, can become generic as their competitors follow their lead. Rebranding to make sure your brand embodies your competitive advantages and USP’s is therefore a great reason. A great example of this reason to rebrand is Tuum (formerly known as Modularbank), a leading fintech company, that aimed to stand out in the fintech sea of sameness.
When you adopt a new philosophy or change your mission, vision, and values, you want your brand to reflect this. You want stakeholders to see your brand and immediately recognize your philosophy or values, for example. Rebranding to assure that your brand fits these changes, is therefore more than viable.
In this day and age, innovation and new trends and technologies sprout up all over the place. You therefore want to utilize rebranding to make sure your brand is up-to-date, and fits the values and needs of your stakeholders.
Sometimes, businesses reposition themselves to target an entirely new customer profile. In such instances, rebranding can aid in conveying the repositioning through the brand. A great example is the rebranding of Old Spice, which went from a male hygiene brand mainly favored by men over fifty, to one of the most widely purchased brands used by millennials in the US.
A great example is the rebranding of Uber. The brand started as a ride-hailing platform, but over time, it expanded its services to include food delivery (Uber Eats), freight transportation (Uber Freight), and electric bikes and scooters (Jump). As Uber expanded into new markets and diversified its offerings, the old brand identity centered around ride-hailing became less representative of the company's overall mission and scope. Therefore, repositioning the brand helped Uber to reflect its broader range of services and its transformation into a comprehensive mobility and logistics platform.
Different market, who this?
When your brand enters a new market, there are a lot of factors that may impact the way the brand is perceived. Cultural differences, trends, needs, and perceptual characteristics could be great reasons for rebranding strategies. When Caya went from a B2C to a B2B company and worked on fine-tuning their service, a rebranding was just what they needed to set them up for success.
Mergers and acquisitions
When two companies merge together, it is important to use rebranding as a way to introduce the shared focus and identity to stakeholders. This minimizes the questions and confusions stakeholders might have about the merger.
Reasons not to rebrand
We all make mistakes, so do brands. Some mistakes are understandable (to some extent), and when handled and addressed correctly should not lead to major issues. Other mistakes are less understandable and can cause stakeholders to associate these mistakes with your brand. Yet, you should never use rebranding as a way to cover up your mistakes. Problems, mistakes, and error’s should always be addressed and fixed accordingly. Rebranding will not fix a mistake, nor hide it away. It will only cause more discomfort and even animosity with your stakeholders.
Making a name for yourself
New managers and directors feel the need to prove themselves. There are many ways to do this, but rebranding a company is usually not one of them. Rebranding has been used in the past to ‘initiate a period of change’, even when this wasn’t necessary. Rebranding strategies should never be applied for personal gain or success, but only when it is needed and would benefit the company.
Another unnecessary reason to rebrand, is because people are ‘bored’. They are tired of seeing the same brand for years and want something new. This is not always necessary, your brand is what make you recognizable. There are many rebranding examples, where changes were quickly undone, due to the displeased stakeholders. GAP and Tropicana, for example, undid all changes made as their sales plummeted after rebranding.
Look at me
Some companies use rebranding to try to draw attention to their brand. Though this works in some instances, a lot of the time this ends up being an unnecessary investment, that does not impact the popularity, sales or perceived image of a company. Making sure you rebrand to do it well and establish a brand that lives and breathes your identity, should be the goal. Then there should be no need to apply rebranding strategies every other year.
Different types of rebranding
There is no set way of working when it comes to rebranding. Every brand, identity, and target group is different and goes through a different rebranding process. There are different types of rebranding, though. So determine what you aim to achieve by rebranding, and ask yourself the question: what needs to change for me to achieve that?
For well-established businesses, a full rebranding is not always necessary, nor wise. When there already is a high brand loyalty and awareness, you don’t want to risk losing this because of a full rebrand. In those instances, a brand refresh is the perfect way to update or elevate your brand, without losing its essence. This can be done by updating the logo, changing the theme, select a new color palette, or add new products or services. It is also a great way to see how stakeholders react to these changes, before deciding to go for a full rebranding of a company or not.
A full rebranding is usually applied when a company positions itself in a totally different direction. This could be because of a merger, a new market, a change of objectives, or even new management with different ideals and goals. A full rebranding is carried throughout the company and impacts a lot of stakeholders, including different departments within the company. It can lead to a change in how customer service is carried out, how a social media department strategizes, and what a R&D department researches. From top to bottom, the entire imagery, tone & voice, brand name, and identity change. This takes a lot of time, effort, and a serious investment. Making sure it is done well, is therefore extremely important.
Rebranding process for your company
Ready to start rebranding a company? Then there are a few steps you need to take. Let us run you through them.
Find yourself the right data
Before you start rebranding, you need to carry out market research. Look at your customer profiles, stakeholders, and competitors: does your current brand fit the needs and wants of your target group(s) and does it set yourself apart from your competitors? If the answer is no, you should definitely look to rebrand your company. Start gathering data from your customers and stakeholders to help you garner a better understanding of how they view your reputation, story, products, and services. You can use surveys, interviews, focus groups, and information from your market research for this. From there, you can identify gaps between your current brand, and that what would fit your customers’ needs and wants.
Evaluate the key message, mission, vision company name
When a company grows, goals and objectives are reached, and new ones need to be set. By evaluating your current mission, vision, and key message: you can form new ones that fit your new brand identity. By doing so, you also (re)form your company culture and tone of voice.
Your values constitute your company. They are the pillars upon which a company is built and act as communication and action indicators. Over time, your values might no longer fit the direction in which your company is moving. In that case, they should be redefined, so that they compliment and lead the direction your company is moving in.
Who you are and what your purpose is as a company, is stated in your mission statement. This doesn’t only give you purpose and direction internally, it also impacts the way customers view your company. This might need to be changed when you decide to change the identity of your company.
Your vision revolves around the current and future objectives of the company. It is therefore crucial to formulate this well, as it has a substantial impact on rebranding strategies. Your objectives and goals should be visible through your brand. From the logo to the tone of voice, everything should work towards reaching your objectives and goals.
Customers should be able to recognize your mission and vision from your slogan. It is the key message you communicate to the world. You want to make sure your brand message is clearly stated and represented in your slogan. When you change your mission and vision, you should therefore make sure your slogan fits these changes.
Changing the name of your company is always scary. It can cost you a lot of organic traffic, recognition, and authority. When you take a good look at your company name, you should be able to determine if it fits the new direction you’re taking, or not. If that isn’t the case, a name change should be made. But there are many ways in which you can do that. You can go for an entirely new name, but can also make smart changes to the spelling or add prefixed or suffixes, to assure that your company name fits, without losing the name entirely.
Redesign your visual brand identity
When you have done your research and (re)formulated your mission, vision, values, slogan, and company name, the time has come to redesign your visual brand identity. Your visual brand identity is made up out of your logo, color palette, themes, typography, and imagery.
Your company name and logo are the most recognizable and memorable elements of your company. Customers remember the swoosh they see on a pair of sneakers, or the name that fits the fruit shaped logo of a technology company. When you redesign your logo, you should keep in mind that simplicity and adaptability are just as important as the impact it has.
Colors can have a great impact on customers. You want to keep color psychology in mind, just like your market research, when your rebranding involves redesigning your company’s color palette. Make sure the colors you select compliment your mission and vision, and don’t evoke the wrong emotions or associations with customers.
Your themes lead to the structure that is associated with your company. If you want to exude clarity and elegance, you’ll want to use enough white space and a concise structure with not too many enhancers, for example. By establishing the right themes for your company and rebranding, you will build recognition through continuity. It can also be implemented to clearly establish your visual branding identity.
Your brand identity should also be visible in your typography. Stakeholders read your products, communications, social media posts, and information on your website. They will also be able to recognize your brand through typography. Taking the time to find the right typography for your brand identity will assure that customers’ experiences with your products or services are not negatively affected by an unflattering, unclear or mismatched typography.
Prepare and make the launch unforgettable
When you’re rebranding a company, it is important to prepare everything in detail, before the launch. That way, everything can transition smoothly, without a period of uncertainty because you are still using the old branding strategies in certain places.
What you should keep in mind when preparing the launch of your rebranding:
(Re)Design your website(s) – it is important that your website(s) fit the rebranding and go live together with the launch of your rebranding.
Employees – if you want your rebranding to work, your employees need to be aware of the rebranding strategies, so they can implement them directly.
Launch events – by planning different events surrounding the launch of your rebranding, you prepare stakeholders for the change that is to come in a positive way.
Legal – attain trademarks, make necessary document and legal changes.
Purchase URL's – with a new
Social media – make sure the handles of your social media accounts are available and fit your rebranding, prepare a list of fitting hashtags in advance.
Transparency and clarity – you want your stakeholders to know the story and reasoning behind your rebranding. It shouldn’t be just a new name or logo, explain which direction your company is going and what this will mean for your stakeholders.
Brand movie - in this day and age, where video is even in your music app (hello Spotify!), you can hardly introduce a new brand without having a solid brand movie that literally puts things in motion for you.