The Fundamentals of Rebranding: Why You Might Need a Change

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Branding

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19 min

Published

17 June, 2021

Understanding the fundamentals of rebranding will help you make better decisions throughout the rebranding process.

In the ever-evolving business landscape, staying relevant and capturing the attention of your target audience is crucial for long-term success.

As consumer preferences evolve and the competition intensifies, you might find that your business has reached a bit of a crossroads.

This could lead you to consider rebranding your business to steer it in the right direction so that you can better connect with your customers.

The Rebranding Brief Template

The Rebranding Brief Template is a free template that will help you get the brief for your rebranding project right. ...

This blog explores the fundamentals of rebranding and dives into the reasons why you might need to embrace change and how you should kickstart the process.

Changing up your business is not something that should be done on a whim, and understanding the fundamentals of rebranding will ensure you’ve covered all bases before jumping straight in.

For a summary of the fundamentals of rebranding you can also watch this video:

What Does Rebranding Mean?

Rebranding is the reshaping, remodelling, and recreating of your business brand identity.

It involves more than making a few changes to your brand (also known as a brand refresh) as you’re deliberately changing the direction of your business.

View this as a complete overhaul of your current brand identity so that you can better engage with your target audience.

Throughout the rebranding process, you will typically revisit key aspects of your brand such as the name, logo, visual identity, messaging, and overall brand perception.

The overall purpose of this exercise is to revitalise your brand, improve its relevance and resonance in the market, and address any evolving market changes.

The goal in rebranding is… to strengthen your brand’s message and allow it to evolve. Although rebranding can do many things… it should support your core message while connecting with your audience in a new, authentic way. – Greg Liberman, Chairman  & CEO of Spark Networks.

Why Is Rebranding Important?

Rebranding is important for several reasons as it gives companies the chance to revisit their brand to make sure it’s working. A lot can changer over time, and something that was once fit for purpose, perhaps just doesn’t meet the mark anymore.

Instead of sitting back and accepting it, rebranding allows businesses to evaluate their current brand so that they can make necessary changes. For example, if your brand values have changed but this isn’t reflected in your identity, then rebranding is important.

Whilst the decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, it is crucial that your current brand is performing the way you intended.

Overall, rebranding plays a crucial role in signalling growth and transformation so that your business is ultimately a success.

Now that we know why rebranding is important, let’s delve into some of the reasons why companies rebrand.

ask-questions

Why Do Companies Rebrand?

Rebranding should not be done lightly; there needs to be a solid reason for rebranding that goes beyond you just being ‘bored’ of your current logo.

Whether you’re looking to improve your brand reputation, expand into new markets, or differentiate yourself from competitors, understanding the reasons for rebranding is the first step towards unlocking new possibilities for your business.

Some reasons why you might consider rebranding your business are:

The direction of your business has changed

As your business evolves and your strategic goals or offerings shift, your existing brand identity may no longer accurately represent the new direction or values of the company.

For example, if the business has expanded into new products or services that significantly differ from the original offerings, rebranding can help communicate this change to customers and stakeholders.

It ensures that the brand identity reflects the current direction of the business and avoids confusion or misalignment which can be very costly.

Additionally, if your business has changed its core values, target audience, or market positioning, a rebrand can help realign the brand identity to reflect these changes.

You’re attracting the wrong clientele

If your current brand identity, messaging, or positioning is attracting customers who do not align with your target audience or desired market segment, rebranding can help address this issue.

Engaging in this process allows you to redefine your brand positioning, messaging, and identity to better resonate with your desired clientele.

By undergoing a rebrand, you can communicate your unique value proposition and appeal to the target clientele that aligns with the products and services you offer. This can lead to improved customer acquisition, loyalty, and ultimately, more sustainable business growth.

It’s important to note that rebranding should be accompanied by thorough market research and a deep understanding of the desired target audience to ensure that the new brand positioning and messaging is effective.

Your branding and design are outdated

You might choose to rebrand if your current brand image feels outdated or no longer appeals to your target audience.

Rebranding provides you with the opportunity to modernise the visual identity, messaging, and overall brand perception by revisiting key branding elements (your logo, tagline, colour palette etc).

However, rebranding to address an outdated image is not a superficial change; it goes beyond aesthetics.

It involves reevaluating the brand’s positioning, values, and messaging to ensure they align with the aspirations of your defined target audience. By modernising your brand image, you can rejuvenate your presence in the market, attract new customers, and re-engage with existing ones.

You want to expand

If your business expands into new markets or aims to target a global audience, then considering a rebrand is wise.

Different regions and cultures may have varying preferences, values, and perceptions.

As such, rebranding your business allows you to adapt its brand identity, messaging, and marketing strategies to resonate with the specific cultural preferences of the target markets.

This might involve adjusting the brand name, logo, colour palette, language usage, or even creating localised versions of the brand to ensure maximum relevance and connection your defined audience.

Rebranding for expansion and globalisation allows your business to establish a strong presence in new markets, create brand recognition, and compete on a global scale.

To improve your reputation

Rebranding your business can be driven by the need to repair or enhance your brand reputation.

If you have received negative publicity, customer perception issues, or past controversies, it can tarnish your brand’s image and erode trust among your target audience.

Rebranding allows you to distance the business from its troubled past and reposition itself in a positive light; view this as a bit of a fresh start.

Essentially, it allows the business to redefine its values, improve its messaging, and showcase its commitment to delivering exceptional products or services.

This means you are able to rebuild trust, attract new customers, and regain a favourable reputation in the marketplace.

There are lots of brands whose need to rebrand has been driven by their reputation. For example:

  • Microsoft – Microsoft rebranded in the mid-2000s to shed its image as a monopolistic software giant and establish a more customer-centric perception. The company introduced a new logo, redesigned its products with a focus on user experience, and emphasised its commitment to collaboration and creativity.
  • Airbnb – In 2014, Airbnb launched a rebranding campaign to position itself as a global hospitality company beyond just a home-sharing platform. The company introduced a new logo and visual identity that symbolised belonging and connection, aiming to expand its offerings to encompass unique travel experiences.
  • Salesforce – Salesforce rebranded to reinforce its position as a customer-centric and cloud-based solution provider. The company’s rebranding efforts have focused on its commitment to helping businesses build meaningful customer relationships and delivering personalised experiences.

You’ve merged with or acquired another company

If you have recently merged with another company or acquired another company, then rebranding might be necessary.

In these situations, a new brand identity is created to reflect the combined strengths, values, and offerings of the participating businesses.

By rebranding, it allows you to form a new identity that is cohesive and unified to represents the collective vision and purpose of both/ all parties.

The new brand identity acts as a signal to all stakeholders, employees, and customers that a significant change has taken place and that a fresh, unified entity has emerged.

To get ahead of your competitors

Rebranding your business can give you a competitive edge by differentiating your offering from other brands with similar products/ services.

By overhauling your brand identity, you can showcase your unique selling propositions and highlight your distinct market position.

Creating a distinct brand identity helps customers differentiate your business from a sea of others, making it easier for them to remember, relate to, and choose your brand when they need something.

This differentiation becomes a crucial competitive advantage in capturing their attention, building brand loyalty, and increasing your market share.
Confused Man Frustrated with Laptop

The Wrong Reasons to Rebrand a Company

Rebranding can be a powerful tool for companies to rejuvenate their image, connect with their target audience, and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving market.

However, not all reasons for rebranding are valid or strategic. It’s important that you carefully evaluate the motivations behind rebranding to ensure your are engaging in it for the right reasons.

Below are some common wrong reasons to rebrand a company and why they should be avoided.

Following trends without purpose

One of the wrong reasons to rebrand a company is to blindly follow the latest fads in the industry. Rebranding should be a thoughtful and strategic decision that aligns with your company values, objectives, and target audience. Don’t try and mimic what your competitors as can make you look unauthentic.

Internal dissatisfaction

Rebranding solely based on internal dissatisfaction, without considering the impact on your customers and the market, is another wrong reason to rebrand. While it’s important for a company to continuously evolve, rebranding should be driven by a clear strategic vision and a genuine need to better serve customers.

Superficial changes

Rebranding for the sake of superficial changes, such as updating your company logo or changing up the colour scheme, without considering the broader brand strategy, is risky. A successful rebranding effort goes beyond visual elements and involves a holistic approach that extends to your brand messaging, customer experience, and brand positioning.

Short-term financial gains

Rebranding solely for short-term financial gains or as a ‘quick fix’ to boost sales can be a wrong reason. While rebranding can create excitement and generate interest, it should be approached as a long-term investment in the company’s brand equity and customer loyalty.

How to Rebrand Your Business Step-By-Step

Rebranding your business successfully takes tactical, well thought out planning and researching. Choosing an agency that specialises in rebranding will help ensure the process is a success.

Instead of jumping the gun and making decisions on a whim, consider the fundamentals of rebranding to get started:

Reestablish your audience and market

Following market research, you have made a surprising discovery: your customers or competitors do not align with what you previously thought.

You might find yourself engaging with a demographic you never expected to or facing a new competitor whose products/ services directly compete with yours.

If this is the case, it’s time to examine who is actually buying from you and who they are turning to instead of your offerings. By comparing this information to your initial target market and audience, you might be surprised.

Once you have identified your genuine market and audience (i.e. those who make a purchase), you can start rebranding your company to establish a stronger connection with your customers and gain an edge over your competitors.

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Download our free customer persona worksheet here

Get clear on your company’s vision, mission, and values

There are three key questions you need to ask when rebranding:

What are you doing? How are you doing it? Why are you doing it?

When you’re re-evaluating your vision, mission, and values during a rebrand, these questions are essential. Perhaps you once knew the answer to all of these things, but as the company has changed so has the answers.

Let’s unpick these one by one.

Vision

Your company vision is the guiding light for every action you take, making it crucial to have a clear understanding of what this is before you progress further.

It’s also possible that your vision has evolved over time which is why you need to revisit it. This is perfectly normal, but it is essential to redefine your vision to ensure that all your employees are making decisions aligned with it.

During the process of rebranding, the company vision will have a significant impact on various aspects, ranging from the redesign of your website to printed marketing collateral.

Mission

The vision is the “what” of your brand and the mission is the “how.”

While you may still be headed in the same direction, the approach you take to reach your goals might have changed. In other words, your mission serves as the roadmap for your company.

For example, the mission statement for Microsoft is: “Our mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.”

Before rebranding it’s important to make sure you mission statement is still accurate, otherwise it needs changing.

Values

Values are the why of your brand, providing the underlying reasons for pursuing your vision and staying committed to your mission.

However, as your brand grows and evolves, certain foundational values may no longer be sustainable.

If you find that you are unable to uphold old values or if you have identified new values that take precedence, you need to update your value so that they are in alignment.

Clearly identify your services

Along with understanding who your audience is, you need to make your services distinct and certain.

You should create a list of exactly what products/ services you provide as this helps you gain clarity of what your offering is.

Sometimes as a business grows, the offering can grow arms and legs and not all of the services/ products are still relevant.

Also by having a clear understanding of your services, it becomes easier to develop targetted marketing strategies and communication campaigns to engage the right customers.

You can tailor your messaging and promotional activities to effectively reach your target audience, showcase the value of your services, and address their specific needs and pain points.
person writing and scrumpled up bits of paper

Consider your brand name

If you’re thinking about renaming your company as part of a rebrand, it’s crucial to plan for recovery to mitigate potential loss of brand recognition and organic search traffic.

You don’t always need to rename your brand during this process and it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly.

A lot of brand equity is in your company name so make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons (which we’ve listed above).

However if your current name still aligns with your brand, then keep it.

If you’re absolutely sure it needs to change then consider ideas when thinking of a new band name:

  • Use descriptive language to convey what you do
  • Modify the spelling of a word into something fun/ quirky
  • Combine two words to form a new name
  • Develop an acronym
  • Incorporate a relevant location

Also when revisiting your name, make sure it aligns with your brand’s vision, mission, and values rather than solely focusing on aesthetic appeal.

We’ve dedicated a whole post to naming your brand so make sure you give it a read first!

Reconsider your brand slogan

Similarly to your brand name, you might not necessarily need to change your brand slogan.

It’s about weighing up whether or not it’s still relevant and if it still communicates your company’s mission and vision whilst also being memorable.

That said, changing your brand slogan is comparatively easier than changing your brand name but it still needs careful consideration.

It’s about understanding why you want to change it as your slogan is important for building brand recognition.

If you’re absolutely sure you want to change your brand slogan, consider the following ideas:

  • Make a claim
  • Get metaphorical
  • Use poetic language
  • Provide instructions
  • Compliment customers

Like all of the fundamentals of rebranding, this about this decision carefully before jumping straight in and weakening your existing brand.

Rebuild your brand identity

If you’re considering a rebrand, you’ll most likely already have brand assets and brand collateral in use. This allows you to assess their relevance before considering replacements.

Potential changes during the rebranding process might involve logo redesign, an updated colour palette, and the development of new brand guidelines.

Below are some typical areas that are affected when undergoing a rebrand.

Logo

Whilst your logo might have been great when you first started your business, your current customers might not truly connect with it.

Or, your logo might be in desperate need of an update to align with significant internal changes that have shifted the focus of the company.

Whatever the case, your logo needs to reflect your offering to be successful.

The best logos are those that are simple and clear for the consumer.

Whilst you want to make an impact and be remembered, you also want your offering to be obvious – otherwise customers will be disengaged.

Colour palette

Your chosen colour palette has a significant influence on your brand, with certain colours becoming synonymous with the brands using them.

For example:

McDonald’s has their iconic yellow.

Cisco is always associated with blue.

This proves that selecting the right colour palette is key. However as your company evolves, your colour scheme might be in need of a refresh.

You should conduct competitor analysis when assessing whether your current palette aligns with the brand image you wish to convey.

It’s also to check that whatever colours you use works well across various brand assets.

Brand guidelines

To ensure your new brand identity is executed properly, you must create and follow brand guidelines. These play a key role in maintaining brand consistency throughout and after the rebranding process.

Consider the following key elements when formulating your logo guidelines:

  • Logo elements: Define the visual components comprising your logo and outline when and how each should be used.
  • Colour variations: Specify the appearance of your logo in colour, black and white, and any other relevant variations, along with the appropriate contexts for each.
  • Clear space: Determine the required spacing or padding around your logo to ensure it remains unobstructed and distinct. Aim for a minimum of 10% of the logo’s width.
  • Unacceptable uses: Clearly outline any manipulations or alterations that are strictly prohibited, including color variations, rotations, scaling, and other undesirable modifications.

Having comprehensive brand guidelines readily available is essential when rebranding to ensure that all brand elements are used correctly across different channels and touchpoints.
lit up sparkler

Launch your rebranding campaign

For your rebrand to be successful, you need to plan a launch campaign.

It’s time to reveal your new brand identity to the world – otherwise what’s the point?

This involves a comprehensive strategy that might include tactics such as digital advertising, print media, radio, and more.

Below are some ideas to successfully launch your rebrand:

  • Write a press release and send it to industry publications to tell people all about your rebrand and the reasons for doing it.
  • Create a social media post to announce your new brand identity and share some photos of your updated look and feel along with a quote from the company owner/ founder.
  • Craft a compelling email campaign to inform your existing customers, subscribers, and partners about the rebrand.
  • Create a dedicated landing page on your website that highlights the rebrand, its significance, and the value it brings to your customers.
  • Develop engaged print advertisements that convey the essence of your rebrand and target specific demographics.
  • Partner with local or industry-related events, organisations, or influencers to expand your reach and reinforce the rebrand message.

Ultimately, a rebrand launch campaign is essential for communicating the reasons behind your rebrand to help build awareness and to engage your target audience.

By investing time into this, you can ensure your rebranding efforts are successful and also facilitate a smooth transition into the new brand identity.

Rebranding Examples

We’re going to look at some rebranding examples to give you an idea of how businesses approach this process.

We’re kicking things off with X-Lab, a health-tech brand that makes diagnosing patients easier and faster.
x-lab website on purple background
See the full case study here

X-Lab

Before engaging Canny, X-Lab was operating with two different brand identities. The first was for X-Lab the company, and the second was Labgnostic (a product they created and own).

The main challenge was aligning both brands whilst allowing the product to retain its own identity. As leaders in healthcare, X-Lab wanted to put people at the forefront, creating a brand that emphasised the benefits whilst still feeling human and approachable.

We built a cohesive visual framework that retained core elements of Labgnostic whilst fitting it seamlessly under the master brand: X-Lab.

Introducing a series of playful illustrations, benefit-driven copy, and impactful messaging statements, we created a brand that truly reflects their position in the industry. All of these elements were tied together in comprehensive brand guidelines which served as the foundation for any future design decisions.

blue exhibition graphics for Ovation Data
See the full case study here

Ovation Data

Across the Ovation Data brand, there was a lack of consistency and alignment which fractured the brand identity. As a leader in data transformation, they needed a strong, impactful brand which fully communicated their unique value proposition.

Lead flow was also an issue due to an outdated website that didn’t connect with their audience and served a poor user experience as a result.

Our team provided a complete, wrap-around service to support Ovation Data across all areas of their brand from identity design to website development.

Every part of the new brand style was created, managed, and implemented by us. We were able to deliver everything the brand needed whilst actively making recommendations for further marketing and brand growth.

The Fundamentals of Rebranding: Why You Might Need a Change

There you have it – your guide to the fundamentals of rebranding to ensure you get the process right.

As we’ve discussed, rebranding is a huge opportunity to reposition your brand and reconnect with your target audience. However, it’s important you don’t get lost in the fun and excitement of changing up your brand, if there is no real purpose behind it.

Every decision needs to align with what you’re trying to achieve and represent you in the best possible light.

If you need help getting your rebranding project right, then you’ve come to the right place. At Canny we’ve helped businesses across the globe to bring them closer to their customers in a way their competitors can’t. And we can do the same for you.

All you need to do is get in touch!

Hey, I'm Will, a Brand Designer here at Canny. I work as part of the design team helping to build amazing brands and websites.

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