THE REBRANDING CHECKLIST FROM IDEA TO IMPLEMENTATION

BRANDING

a signpost showing directions of change

CONTENTS

17 min read

Rebranding your company is not an easy decision to make, but once you’ve committed to doing it, you’ll quickly see the rewards.

We’ve already been over the fundamentals of rebranding, so we’ll not cover old ground, but if you’re in need of a quick refresher, the video below isn’t a bad place to start.

This checklist is just a really easy way of making sure you’re considering every single thing that is worth considering throughout the rebranding process, including some things that are easy to overlook- but vital to get right.

There might be some pretty basic things in here that you think you have already nailed down 100% and don’t need to devote any more thought to, but just think of it as a thought experiment.

Go through the checklist and don’t tick anything off without double and triple checking everything one last time.

Once it’s done, check it off and move on to the next item!

This will help to make sure your rebrand runs smoothly, and is as comprehensive as it needs to be to give you the best chance of success.

sticky notes on a whiteboard

Rebranding Phase 1: Considering your rebranding

Why are you rebranding?

Rebranding your business shouldn’t be a decision taken lightly- it can have massive ramifications for any business, and isn’t without risk. It can weaken your market position if your brand pivot is too extreme, and can even alienate existing brand loyalists.

That having been said, rebranding can also be one of the best things you can do for your business and brand if your existing brand no longer connects with your core audience.

Just make sure you’re rebranding for the right reasons, and you’re prepared to fully commit to the rebrand.

Measure twice, cut once.

Even though you can undo minor cosmetic changes, you can’t undo the impact it has on your brand- and you don’t want to end up on our list of the worst rebranding failures ever!

If you’re 100% sure you’ve given your rebrand enough thought, and you’re ready to rebrand in a strategic and focussed manner, then feel free to tick that off the list and continue on!

Do you have the budget for a full rebrand?

Rebrands can be quite costly endeavours, and once you’re on that proverbial train it can be difficult to get off without causing some major damage to your brand.

Using this checklist will probably give you a good idea of the major costs involved in rebranding, and there really isn’t much space to skimp on costs when committing to a full rebrand.

It’s always a good idea to check the war chest to make sure you have enough to cover the financial commitment all the way through your project.

Abandoning a rebrand half way through can do more harm than good!

If you’re confident in your financial situation and are 100% sure you’ve dedicated enough budget to the rebrand project, tick it off the checklist and move on to the next point!

Will a rebrand harm your brand equity?

Brand equity is the value of your brand as a thing in itself. It’s the awareness of your brand, the social perception, the respect, the reach. Coca Cola has a MUCH bigger brand equity in England and the US (currently) than someone like Hartwall Jaffa.

If you’ve just said ‘Who is Hartwall Jaffa?’ and clicked that link, you’ve illustrated my point.

I think it could be argued that Coca Cola have greater brand equity than Pepsi, but it’s probably much closer and only edged out by the fact that people will order a Coke and asked ‘Is Pepsi ok?’ more often than the other way around.

If your rebrand is going to harm your brand equity, consider how you can mitigate the damage. Chances are, you don’t quite have the brand equity of Coke or Pepsi and can’t afford to take a major hit and give your competitors any sort of edge.

If you’re satisfied that you’ve considered your brand equity and how a major rebrand could affect it one way or another, tick it off the checklist and continue on…

(And to anyone who works at Hartwall Jaffa- if you need any help with cracking the UK market and want some marketing help, get in touch!)

marketers pointing at a screen

Rebranding Phase 2: Picking a rebranding direction

Are you telling a story with your rebrand?

Thinking about your rebrand, have you got a strong narrative thread to really put across your brand?

Have you got a solid roadmap to victory?

Your brand can work for you, and if you’re rebranding you should be ensuring that your brand is working as well as possible for you.

Don’t be afraid to inject a bit of personality into the brand, and develop a brand narrative to really sell yourself and your business to potential clients or customers.

If people have a way into a brand, and a way to connect themselves to it in some way, they’ll engage much better with it. (There’s an interesting academic paper on that available on research gate for anyone who wants to REALLY wants to get into it)

You don’t have to develop an epic tale, but injecting personality and a bit of a journey so that clients can see themselves in the bigger picture of your brand is never a bad thing.

It may be an old cliche that’s dusted off in every sales training session ever, but people buy from people, not corporations.

Giving people a way to see the people behind the brand, in a space that you can control and dictate, is a really good use of the opportunity rebranding affords you.

If you’re happy that you’ve achieved that, tick it off on the checklist and go on to the next point.

Consider your Audience(s)

This could easily have been a point 0 all on it’s own, as audience engagement is core to every business and should be considered first in everything.

When related to your rebrand, it can’t even just be taken as a superficial once over of your demographics.
A fair bit of good quality research should go into defining your core audiences.

Whether or not your new branding speaks to those audiences, and how it speaks to those audiences, is going to be core to the success or failure of your branding.

Your audience research should go beyond just considering your ideal buyer persona as well, and engage in real metrics around your actual customer base.

If you’re happy enough with the work you’ve done around defining your audience, and are satisfied with how your audiences will engage with your rebranding project, tick it off the checklist and continue on.

Prepare for greater longevity

Rebranding is a natural part of any businesses’ lifecycle, with most businesses revisiting their core branding messages every 5 to 10 years.

If you’re rebranding after 2 years because you bought into something that was a little bit trendy or captured the zeitgeist of the time for your last brand, this point is for you. If your rebrand isn’t going to end up looking tired or a little played out, you need to avoid engaging in trends or fads.

Going for more classic, clean graphics isn’t always the answer because who knows how your industry, sectors and core audiences are going to develop. On the other hand, over-the-top graphics playing into the latest design trends are rarely timeless.

If you establish your brand identity, brand story and core offerings in a way that is both well defined but flexible enough to accommodate growth, giving your brand a bit of a visual refresh is a far less resource intensive task than doing an end to end rebrand every few years.

If you’re happy that you’ve given your brand the best chance possible to stand the test of time, you can tick off ‘I am building a new brand that will survive the test of time’ and move onto rebranding phase 3!

Two brand designers working on branding concepts.

Phase 3: Engaging a rebranding agency

Choosing a rebranding agency can be a bit of a minefield- you’re handing over your vision to someone, so you have to trust them to get it right. We’ve done a far more in-depth post on this very topic which we’d recommend reading, but below are the cliffnotes if you’re on a tight schedule!

Narrow your selection

There are a lot of options out there for rebranding projects.

By finding a creative agency you’re already familiar with, or know a little bit about, or already admire the work they’ve done with someone else’s rebrand then you’ve made your decision much easier.

Why not get in touch with Canny to discuss your options, you’re already here so we must be doing something right!

Finding a creative agency that you want to work in partnership with on your rebrand project is vital to getting the most out of your rebrand.

Check their work and portfolios

Once you’ve developed your shortlist, go to their website and check out their previous work. If you haven’t found a rebrand agency by way of other work anyway as a reference, it’s probably a good idea to familiarise yourself with their stylistic sensibilities.

Every project is different, but you get a good feel for an agency, their preferences, and even their skill level by their past work.

Get in touch and measure up the responses

Send emails. Be curious. You’re going to spend a lot of time discussing a lot of very important business vital things with these people, and how they communicate with you in the first instance will tell you a lot.

developing your brand identity

Phase 4: Rebranding your business internally

When rebranding, it’s important to leverage the support of your colleagues and employees. A rebrand can bring some working culture adjustments, as well as changing the core messaging that everyone in the organisation should be presenting externally. Getting buy-in from your staff from the top of the organisation to the bottom can really help with this, and it does make launching a full rebrand much, much easier.

To help explain your rebrand internally, follow Canny’s RESET framework:

  • Reassures – let people know you’re making changes, but it’s all positive changes.
  • Explains – explain why you’re making the changes- rebrand rationale is important.
  • Sells – bring the benefits to the forefront and get your employees to buy in.
  • Essentials – give them the essentials and what it means to them.
  • Timely – announce the rebrand in a timely manner so it doesn’t just appear one day. A rebrand shouldn’t just blindside people in the organisation, even if they aren’t involved directly with the rebrand process.

This framework can also be used for existing clients and partners, if you work in an industry that works closely and collaboratively with agencies or external businesses. By mentioning the process to existing clients, it can even be used as a tool to gain further business as people get interested in the rebranding process.

Asking for feedback on early branding rounds or ideas from external business partners can also help build trust and strengthen relationships, as it demonstrates trust.

If you’re happy that you’ve got a good handle on how best to rebrand your business from an internal perspective, check it off the list and move onto the next steps.

The next step is probably the most important, as it talks about how to rebrand for potential clients.

Woman inputting findings from a rebranding workshop into her laptop

Phase 5: Rebranding your marketing collateral

Rebranding all of your external-facing marketing collateral is absolutely vital to This ensures consistency around your outbound messaging and helps reduce confusion around core brand messaging.

Logo

Your logo is the face of your brand. It has to be a major part of the rebrand, and the new, rebranded logo should be front and centre going forwards. Anywhere your logo appears, it absolutely has to be the rebranded logo. Showing the old logo anywhere at all confuses your brand messaging and reduces your brand equity.

Tagline

Similarly, if you have a tagline or a slogan associated with your brand, the new tagline should be front and centre.

Stationery and Physical Branding Tools

Stationery can be a really powerful tool for marketing. If your stationery isn’t branded correctly, or you’re still using your old stationery, you are just working against yourself. Using and proliferating old, outdated stationery confuses your brand messaging and will make a negative impression on prospective customers.

This also includes things like employee uniform, van wraps, branded live event resources like podiums and poster pop-ups.

Forms and Invoices

Again, anything customer facing needs to be rebranded for brand consistency and messaging.

This extends to sales decks, presentations, forms, invoices, letters, shipping notes basically anything that you could physically send a client or customer in the post.

Video

Video can be an absolute nightmare to edit after it’s been distributed or is already out there, but going forward updating all of your content branding is key- if you have videos that are performing really well and driving search results or converting really well it’s probably fine to leave them for now. Once you have the time and resource, and your new brand is well positioned and secure, it might be worth dedicating the time to update your top performing videos and delete the rest with the old branding.

Website

Your website is your storefront and should absolutely 100% reflect the new brand, no questions asked. Your social media channels are the same, and both should be leveraged to announce the new brand- with the old branding and messaging, and anything else that doesn’t fit with the new brand, totally gone from the site altogether.

Email signatures

Easily overlooked, because it’s so often automated. This is the same as sending a letter, and people are more likely to see it because emails are so common.

Signatures are easily overlooked unless they are wrong. If your email signature still has your old branding it creates a noticeable and jarring brand disconnect and sends the wrong message to your customers.

Advertising

Any advertising you might be running with your old branding style should be pulled as soon as possible, just to avoid perpetuating the wrong messaging. This includes physical advertising such as billboard ads, newspaper adverts, television adverts, and even radio adverts if they include old messaging and slogans.

This might all seem like a bit of a ‘scorched earth’ approach to your old brand, but really it is a question of appearing professional and going forward with your new branding. By making sure you aren’t putting out any conflicting branding, you’re ensuring consistency of appearance, messaging, tone and positioning.

All of these things massively inform how your business is perceived, and are vital to get right.

If you’re happy that you’ve rebranded and completely sorted out all of your external-facing marketing collaterals, you can now- finally- move onto rebrand phase 6: launching your rebrand!

a rocket taking off

Rebrand Phase 6: Launch your new brand

Now that you’ve managed to get everything 100% ready, it’s time to launch! It would be such a shame to have done all of the hard work only to fail at the last hurdle and not make a real impact with your launch.

Announce on your own website

Normally at Canny, we don’t advocate for content that isn’t 100% evergreen, but announcing your new branding after a rebrand is the exception to the rule.

Go big, have fun with it! You only get one chance to introduce your new branding, so you may as well try to make a bit of a splash. Announcing a rebrand is a great opportunity to show off a bit of creativity as the announcement isn’t going to be a permanent fixture on the site so it has a little bit more leeway for creativity and playfulness.

Leveraging your socials

Announce your rebrand across all of your social media channels, and making that post as shareable as possible, should be the absolute minimum you do to promote your rebrand.

Sharing on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, and announcing on YouTube, TikTok, even on Pinterest and Snapchat if you have corporate accounts there is all good publicity for the new brand.

Don’t be afraid to share on your personal social accounts, especially your personal LinkedIn. It’s quite a major thing to go through for any business, so be proud of it and shout about it a little bit!

Depending on your timescales for launching the rebrand, teasing your rebrand with glimpses, previews or even a countdown on any of your social platforms is a really simple way to garner interest, as people start awaiting your rebrand.

Launch on relevant websites

There are plenty of user generated content based news outlet websites, and branding websites that you can submit your rebrand to. Anywhere you think would be an appropriate website to get eyes on your new branding, you should submit to. It’s a little bit of cold outreach, and 9 times out of 10 you’ll probably not be able to get your rebrand featured- but for the sake of sending one email it’s always worth it!

Industry relevant websites that do regular news round-ups and interest pieces are the best targets, as you can gain access to their mailing lists and regular subscribers. All of this will put your brand out there more, and raise your profile both within the industry and to prospective clients.

The boost in SEO from good, relevant backlinks doesn’t hurt either!

Email out with the new branding front and centre

Emailing your existing clients is absolutely vital, and in some cases it might be better to do this in advance of the full rebrand launch just to reassure everyone that the new branding isn’t a change of ownership or something that will affect the way their current project or order will be fulfilled.

Reassuring the customers that the rebrand is entirely focussed on delivering more value to them. You can use Canny’s RESET framework here, with some minor modifications:

  • Reassures – let your customers know you’re making changes, but it’s for the better.
  • Explains – explain why you’re making the changes.
  • Sells – bring the benefits to the forefront and get your customers to buy in.
  • Essentials – give them the essentials and what it means to them.
  • Timely – announce the rebrand in a timely manner so it doesn’t just drip out with a whimper.

As long as this framework is fulfilled, your existing customers will accept the new rebrand with open arms.

If you’re now satisfied that you have (or have prepared) all of the tools you need to launch your rebrand, then congratulations! You’re ready to go!

If this has been a helpful thought exercise, and you’re wondering more about the processes Canny will take you through on your rebrand journey, get in touch today and let’s talk about your rebrand project.