The first thing to remember about rebranding is that it's a costly, time-consuming and resource-heavy task, so it needs to be done in the right way. Of course, the rebranding process can be avoided with a strong initial brand development strategy. But if you're strongly considering a rebrand, take a look at some of our pointers below:
If you're wondering whether it's time to rebrand, it's important to acknowledge why. Here are some compelling reasons to rebrand your business:
1. A brand update or refresh
If your name, logo, or colour scheme is outdated, a small brand refresh is easier to manage than an entire brand overhaul, although it can still be expensive if you have physical items and packaging to consider such as car wraps, stationery or staff uniforms. Similarly, a tagline change may also be appropriate to reposition your product offering, such as Walmart in 2007 which changed its 19-year-old slogan from 'Always Low Prices' to 'Save Money. Live Better', which better reflected its brand values and mission as a business.
2. To differentiate your brand
If a new competitor has popped up with a similar name, logo or product offering to yours, or some of the businesses in your industry are starting to get a bad reputation, a rebrand will give you a good opportunity to differentiate yourself among the market. Sometimes, competing e-commerce stores can have a very similar look and feel, so a rebrand, in this case, may involve updating your website, fonts, colour schemes and imagery to avoid customer confusion.
3. To outgrow a bad reputation
One of the big reasons why brands may evolve and change is to outgrow a poor reputation. One of the biggest examples of this is McDonald's. After the documentary Super Size Me came out, it struggled with its brand image and was seen as an unhealthy, cheap option for fast food. Now, McDonald's uses earthy tones, has an updated logo and its advertising regularly focuses on salads and healthy menu options.
4. If your brand evolves significantly
In the case of brand evolution, it might be that your company has been bought or merged into another, and in this case, a rebrand is unavoidable and expected, and the costs for this are usually planned in advance by the buyer. A great example of a successful merger and rebrand was Orange and T-Mobile in 2010, which merged to create EE, which was then bought by BT six years later for £12.5 billion.
If you're evolving as a business with your product or service offering, entering a new market or splitting your company to cover multiple markets, that's the perfect time to rebrand your business and get it right.
How to manage your rebrand
The rebranding process can be overwhelming, but here are some tips to ensure that it goes as smooth as it can:
1. Be transparent
Keep your customers, partners, staff other stakeholders in the loop, and be transparent and honest about the reasons behind your rebrand whenever this is possible.
2. Put fail-safes in place
Depending on what's being rebranded (logo, name or complete brand overhaul), there will be fail-safe measures you can put in place. For example, if you're changing your name, you may need a new website URL. You can redirect your previous relevant domains to your new website URL – this will help your website visitors land in the right place. It's also worth keeping your previous name, at least legally, for a while during and post-transition period, in case another business comes along and intends to use it – this can be confusing for your customers.
3. Try to change everything at the same time
If your website says one thing and your social media another, or you're still selling products with old packaging, you're sending out mixed messages and this can be problematic. As much as possible, try to switch everything over at once –this can be made easier by relaunching your new brand into the world, giving you a deadline for everyone to work to.
4. Be patient with your audience, and keep them informed
Some businesses never shake the legacy of their old brand, so try to be patient with your customers if they misname you or get their wires crossed. This will particularly apply to your customer services team, so make sure you have some extra hands on deck to support your customers in the week following your brand relaunch.
5. Apply your new brand consistently
Even if you do everything right and you relaunch, the chances are some of your customers may take a little while to catch on. Remember that your brand is a long-term investment, so make sure you apply your new branding consistently from launch day onwards. This will include some staff and stakeholder buy-in, so clear communications leading up to your new launch date will be essential.
To conclude, rebranding your business doesn't have to be a headache. There are plenty of reasons why a rebrand is appropriate, and the tips above will help you to manage it successfully internally and externally – and for the long haul.