One of our collaboration partners DesignRush.com recently published an article: How Rebranding a Company Can Lead to a Long-Term Growth. We include their thought leadership here as well as our own.
Chances are that you have an idea of the power of branding and what it can do for your company's success. After all, most of the companies you can name off the top of your head are household names because of their branding.
At present, it's even easier to discover and connect with brands thanks to social media. With about 90% of customers reaching businesses through social media, it's even more essential that your brand stands out among its peers on these platforms.
Whether your business started with a brand strategy in place or you've been able to get by with just a business name and a simple logo for so long, a comprehensive business rebranding is a step to consider for your company's long-term growth.
You are about 5, 10, 20 years in and you start to get antsy, you know something feels off. Business may be booming and contracts may be coming in and you've hit a groove but something feels off. It's time to innovate. There is a season to everything and so too your company has a season, and it must innovate or diet. This diagram is called the S-Curve of innovation, and it displays quite clearly the narrow window of opportunity to innovate or watch your business decline further and further. Rebranding is not the innovation - it is a RESPONSE to the innovation. And a birthday is not an innovation. It is wonderful, but your age is not your innovation.
What Is Rebranding?
Rebranding is a process in marketing strategy that involves the redesigning of your brand identity, visuals and messaging to realign them with your long-term goals and your target audience’s expectations and needs.
Rebranding can include various collateral representing your brand, such as a new logo, a refreshed color palette, an updated tagline, and a revamped social media presence. You can also choose to go back to your fundamentals, remake your mission-vision statement, and let it guide your rebranding decisions moving forward.
In making these changes to your business, you exercise further introspection of your business's goals.
Does it still align with your initial objectives when you first started your company?
Are you still able to provide the quality of service you have set?
How well are you able to serve your customers and cater to their needs?
Have you innovated and is your company getting better?
Reconsidering these can help get you started as you rebrand.
Which Business Elements Does Rebranding Entail?
There are key components to your brand that are usually affected when you rebrand, if not always. Below are some of the brand elements you should consider updating as you rebrand.
This usually comes in the form of a company history, mission-vision, or a manifesto. It's a good place to start when crafting your brand, because it can inform your choices as you progress.
Your brand story answers the question of what initially motivated you to start your business:
What is the need that you are seeking to fill?
How were you inspired to build your company to where it is now?
These details encompass your company's founders and its leaders, milestones you've achieved throughout the time you've been providing a service, and how you see the future of the company.
As its initial touchpoint, your brand visuals are how the audience encounters your business and how first impressions are formed. You may know these as the brand's logo, color palette, graphics, image and video collateral you see on the website, social media, and advertising materials, among others.
These are typically the easiest way to experience the brand for your audience, how you can capture their attention, and craft potentially entertaining and engaging content they can enjoy.
Your brand's personality shines best through your written material and messaging, both on printed and digital copy. This comprises of your brand voice and attributes that can shine through your messaging and copy. Similar to your visuals, this builds a platform through which your audience can connect and relate to your content.
How to Rebrand Your Company
Knowing now the benefits of rebranding, how exactly does one rebrand? There are a few different ways you can approach this. It all depends on your goals and how much you plan to change.
One thing to keep in mind, whether you're a big corporation or a small startup, branding is a way you can approach business with as much authenticity as possible. This is most apparent when you are open to getting to know your sincere motivations from the start.
These can be your true north moving forward in your business, and can resonate with your target audience and customers. Knowing your intentions for your work and letting them guide you as you work on your brand can work wonders. If you choose to work with a rebranding agency, it will be the same starting point but certainly much easier since you’ll be working with branding professionals.
Before we get into the basic steps to rebranding, let's get into the different ways you can carry out and accomplish a rebrand for your business.
6 Specific Steps to Rebranding a Company
It is possible to not have considered branding when you decided to start a business. It could have been as easy as you seeing a gap in the market and then marketing your products to fill in the gaps. Business, after all, is about making a profit. When you make steps to turn your business into a brand, however, that is when you can build a lasting impression for decades to come.
Step #1: Take Stock of Your Current Branding
Establish an understanding of your business's values, and how they are incorporated into your mission and vision. Take note of what you are doing right, what can be improved, and how you can readjust moving forward – even after the rebrand. With holistic changes come adaptable choices.
Step #2: Evaluate Your Audience’s Response to Rebranding
Prepare for how the audience may receive the changes you will make in rebranding. While change is a constant, most people still find it uncomfortable, especially if they've been loyal to your business for a long time and may be anxious about the changes you'll be making.
Conduct customer research as needed, be familiar with their wants and needs, and see how you can keep addressing them as you refresh your brand. Take this chance to note how well the brand changes will help you differentiate the business from its competitors. You can also consider future plans for how you can cater to potential audience you can garner with the rebranding.
Step #3: Collaborate With the Team to Develop and Implement Changes
Consider your workforce your first batch of approval for the rebrand. As members of the team, they will have valuable insight into what functions well and what can be minimized.
Working on the rebrand with the team gives you an opportunity to strategize with key movers in your company and get on the same page as to how you will achieve your future objectives together. This set up can work like this: Leadership sets the intentions for the brand, coordinates and gathers feedback from the team, and crafts the changes together. Tip: Ask for everyone's thoughts about your why. Ask them about their participation in the company, talk the cleaning person all the way up to the CEO. We bet you'll get the best answers from those who don't use a bunch of sales speak or jargon but speak plainly about who you are and who you help.
Step #4: Stir up Audience’s Interest For Rebrand
This can serve as an initial test to see the audience's first impression of the rebrand will be like. If you're rebranding to refresh your image after some negative publicity, it can also gauge how hopeful your loyal customer base is despite the hiccups.
On the other hand, if you've generally had a positive imprint with your audience, this can tell you how well they will handle the upcoming rebrand.
Step #5: Monitor Reactions and Feedback
Of course, it's not enough just to be aware your audience can either like that you're rebranding or not. Tracking their responses is an essential metric that can inform if you're making good changes that they will appreciate and attract a new audience. Take their input into account and incorporate these into your rebranding strategy accordingly. DO NOT, we repeat, do not DESIGN by committee. Have your team and your friends give feedback on the story telling part of your brand but NOT the logo, they will come at you from fear only. YOU are responsible for your logo design with your designer, it is an intimate relationship and more than tow is a menage a don't.
Step #6: Introduce Your Rebranded Business
Don't let this short list fool you, rebranding your business from scratch can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. This timeline comprises the preliminary research, ideation and conceptualization, design and implementation, and rebrand launch. That said, this is definitely the most exciting part, as months of hard work are finally reaching the public. The next step is to see how well your audience receives your rebranded business.
Think of the most successful names in business: Google, Apple, Nike, Starbucks, Sony and Nintendo, to name a few, are companies who've been around for a long time and are more than just the services they provide to their customers – they are brands that have become household names in the years their customers have been loyal to them.
Despite how long these businesses have been around, however, it doesn't mean they've been immune to having to rebrand. It's an experience most, if not all, businesses will have to go through. So, the sooner you’re familiar with how to craft good branding, the smoother the process will be when the time comes to refresh your brand once again.
Why Is Rebranding Necessary?
Businesses and organizations rebrand around once every 7 to 10 years. It’s only natural, with the market constantly evolving, for your business to change along with it.
It is especially critical to consider rebranding if your business hasn't been through the branding process at all, with only a business name and a basic logo to represent you to your customers. While this doesn't mean your business can't grow or succeed, it will also take a significant effort in your sales strategy to carry your weight and make sure your customers appreciate your value.
Branding allows your company's personality to come through, and it is what will resonate with your target audience. People want brands that can relate to their values and support their interests. Additionally, if your market has changed, or your own business objectives no longer resonate with your own goals, it would be the perfect time to consider rebranding.
What other concerns may a business have that can motivate a rebrand?
You've done the work to deserve it.
If you've listened to anything the world has to tell you (from your customers to best industry practices) you know that you must innovate or your business will declined until it is no longer competitive. If you've done the work, you've innovative, you've learned from your customers and your employees and you've made your company better than it was before.
To reflect the company's long-term goals
Your business doesn't have to be decades old to need a rebrand. Business is unpredictable and there are many things that could happen between your first day and today. Rebranding can be prompted if you feel you've outgrown your mission and vision for the company. You might be considering a redirection for your business, and rebranding is a good way to realign with your new internal goals.
This can also apply to businesses that are in the process of mergers and acquisitions – with new management and staff restructuring, it wouldn't be a surprise if the company undergoes a rebrand to adjust to the change.
Your company can also go through a rebrand if a market repositioning is in order. If your business is considering a new market to approach, with a different set of products or services, the brand will have to match these accordingly.
To stand out among its competitors
For your company to catch your audience's attention and upstage the competition, investing in your business's brand is the way to go. This is a critical step for those who haven't gone through the basics of branding their business.
You can start developing your brand, or rebrand, as soon as you establish what distinguishes you from your competitors, it can guide your long-term goals. Growing through these introspective steps can inform your branding choices, and establish how you can provide a unique service to your customers that can help you stand out.
To give the brand a new look
Even a simple update to your visuals can do wonders to renew your brand. Anything from changing your logo, your website design, your graphics and your social media feed can incite revived interest in your business. Long-time customers will be curious to see the transformation, and how much you’ve rebranded.
Be sure to take steps to keep the aspects of your brand which your customers like. Retaining these elements shows your loyalty and appreciation to them. While this isn't always possible, it's a good idea to address these changes and put forward your intentions for making them.
To refresh the brand's character
The highs are a part of business as much as the lows. Rebranding is the go-to strategy in place to redirect the business from their blunder to a much cleaner path. This is especially applicable to brands that may have been established under different circumstances that are no longer acceptable to today's standards.
Facebook’s shift in 2021 to becoming Meta has driven a wider acceptance to rebranding. As a large corporation, it was an unconventional step to change most of what almost 3 billion people are familiar with using to realign with their company's goals to connect people. This was also an effort to shift attention from the general impression of Facebook after the political controversies it faced in recent years.
There is also the case study of weight watchers and Oprah where the brand experienced significant success after realigning their values, rebranding their designs, and eventually receiving an endorsement from Oprah. Ideally, your company would be free from such circumstances, but a rebrand is a good way to acknowledge your limitations and make efforts to do better moving forward.
How to Know If You're Crafting Good or Bad Branding
It feels wrong
You let your fear get the best of you.
You edited the magic out of the designers's work
You listened to too many fear-based people
It was done by a lousy artist
Your brand should feel like a tuning fork. It should be amazing. AND it should be between YOU and your designer not YOU and every damn person on the planet with an opinion.
Think of branding as a means to connect your business with its primary audience. As you craft a brand that communicates your brand identity and unique proposition, you are also addressing your customers' needs and why you're the solution to their problem.
This provides an opportunity for you to build a long-term relationship between you and your customers, whether they convert from a lead into a sale right away or later down the line.
Branding seeks to incite awareness and keep the customers' attention for a long time to come, so that your company becomes the business at the top of their minds when they do eventually need a solution from you.
Good branding, then, is when you follow up on this initial impression of how you can serve them with a quality service that satisfies what the customer wants. Bad branding is when you become disingenuous to the messaging you've put out into the world and promised to serve your audience.
At the end of the day, the real purpose behind branding should be more than the surface-level look of your business. It should start with the foundations you've established from the beginning – and in terms of rebranding, you've readjusted your sails and developed conditions to push forward your goals.
It takes a considerable amount of introspection and knowing the ins and outs of what you would like to achieve in the long run. Skipping this step will leave holes in your branding strategy, as it will only be surface level changes you'll be making, and wouldn't be helpful to your long-term branding. Make sure to consider what is truly important to your business and determine how it can resonate with your audience to most effectively provide satisfactory service.
Top Rebranding Agencies to Help Grow Your Business in 2022
The world of digital marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years.
It’s no longer enough to have a website, hoping that it will bring in sales without any further effort on your part.
Today’s consumers are far too savvy to fall for this approach– they expect brands to provide them with a seamless experience across all channels.
You need a team who understands how people interact with brands today– online and offline– to create something extraordinary for them.
When rebranding your business and giving it the boost it needs, these agencies yield the best results in the market.