Your brand is the way people think of your business. It’s a perception molded by your products, logo, website, customer service and every other customer touch point you have.
A strong brand usually means strong sales and more dollars in your bank account, while a weak brand, or one that doesn’t align with your business goals, can often mean the opposite. Yikes.
If your brand isn’t performing there may be a solution for you. Rebranding, that is.
To help you get rebranding right (and figure out if it’s right for you), we’ve put together an A-Z guide to rebranding – from defining the term to spelling out its benefits and laying out a roadmap to help you create your own strategy.
What is rebranding?
Rebranding is the process of transforming the perception of a brand and the associations that people have with it. Sounds simple enough right? Not quite.
This process may involve changing visual brand identifiers like logos, fonts and website designs, but it may also require countless other changes. That could include changes to your products and services and how they’re delivered and marketed.
You may even need to redefine your target audience and rethink your business’s mission and values. It’s a pretty big job!
Reasons to rebrand your business
Before you start a rebrand, you must have a clear, compelling reason to get it done. Common reasons for rebranding include:
Going global: Australian businesses export $284 billion worth of products and services every year. If your brand wants a piece of that lucrative international market, you may need to rebrand to ensure your brand suits the new markets you’re entering.
A damaged reputation: when businesses go through controversies or hard times, a rebrand can help distance their brand from those events. This can help improve sales and allow the business to move on successfully.
Repositioning: if you want to attract new audience demographics, a rebrand may help to change or reinvent the brand to suit their preferences and catch their attention.
Your brand is outdated: Over time, your brand may become outdated. A partial or full rebrand can help freshen your brand up.
Microsoft were in danger of appearing dated after keeping the same logo and brand aesthetic from 1987 to 2011. For a business that’s meant to be producing cutting edge technology, that’s not a good look! In 2011, they refreshed their design language to appear more contemporary and cutting edge. We think you’ll agree the change was a good one.
Your business has changed: if your business’s products, services, mission or market has changed, then your old brand may not align with your new direction. A rebrand can help bring your business and your brand back in sync.
Whatever your reason for rebranding, it’s important that you focus on how the change is going to affect your business during the process. Each and every rebrand should start with the goal of increasing profitability and accomplishing your business’s mission – whatever that may be.
Time for a change? The benefits of rebranding
Rebranding could mark a new, brighter beginning for your business. In fact, a good rebrand could be what your business needs to recover from hard times – or usher in even better results.
These are just a few benefits of rebranding (the right way):
1. Differentiate yourself from the competitors
In a world where you see half a dozen ads before your morning coffee, it’s more important than ever for your business to stand out. A strong rebrand can help differentiate yourself from your competitors to better compete for eyeballs and wallets.
2. Improve your bottom line
Sometimes the perceptions of brands hold them back. For example, Old Spice had been considered an ‘old man scent’ for years and sales were slumping.
In 2010, they rebranded with a hilarious campaign that was more young and funny than ‘fuddy duddy’. In just 3 months, sales of their body wash increased by 27%.
3. Rethink your business
During a rebrand, you’ll have a rare opportunity to look under your businesses’ hood and check that everything’s running right. Are you targeting the right audience? Is your company’s mission still relevant today and does it align with the values of you and your staff?
Do your brand’s visual identity and name align with the reality of your business?
By asking hard questions during a rebrand, you can make sure your business is heading in the right direction – and use a rebrand to right the ship if it isn’t.
It’s not all roses: The risks of rebranding
Rebranding your business can reap huge rewards – but it’s not without its risks. If your rebrand isn’t done right you could:
- Lose existing customers: after years in business, chances are your brand has become recognisable to your existing customers. As a result, your logo and other brand identifiers bring all the positive experiences they’ve had with you to mind.
A rebrand could risk alienating these customers and losing that brand equity – if you don’t handle it sensitively and maintain the brand’s core identity.
- Attract negative press: if your business has gone through a PR crisis, it may be tempting to rebrand to distance the organisation from whatever happened. If this isn’t done carefully, you could risk worsening the situation and attracting more negative attention. British Petroleum or BP went through their own rebrand in 2002 to present a greener image.
They changed their name to Beyond Petroleum, debuted a new logo and pledged to hold their emissions constant. After failing to hold emissions, and causing the largest marine oil spill in history, the rebrand (costing over $200 million) was abandoned amidst a massive PR crisis.
- Blow the budget: rebranding can be expensive. You’ll need a marketing manager who knows their stuff, copywriters, UX designers, graphic designers, brand strategists, and more. It’s better to hire the right people the first time to avoid having to re-rebrand.
If the time is right for your business to rebrand, don’t let BP’s disastrous effort scare you off. With a smart strategy and the right experts in your corner, you can avoid these common rebranding risks and cash in on the benefits.
The strategy behind your rebrand
Unfortunately, rebranding isn’t as simple as hiring a graphic designer to make a new logo and calling it a day. You’ll need to research your market and reassess your company’s mission before you change a thing about your brand’s visual identity:
Before you rebrand, you need to define your market – who’s buying your products or services? What’s their average age, lifestyle, income, and where do they live?
This can be done using social media, focus groups, or questionnaires sent out to your email database. Once you know who you’re marketing to, you can start thinking about how your new brand will adapt to appeal to them directly.
Who are you?
With your market research in mind, you need to do some soul searching. Ask yourself what your business does, how you do it and, most importantly, why you do it.
Hubspot recommends reassessing your business’s vision, mission and values to get started:
- Vision: the idea that guides everything your company does – what do you want to achieve?
- Mission: how you’re going to achieve your vision. The details of your plan.
- Values: the reason behind your vision. A business’s values often change as it matures.
Once you’ve taken a close look at your business and worked to understand it, you’re ready to start making changes.
Building a new brand
A rebrand can involve changing every aspect of your business but for the sake of our word count, we’re going to stick to the marketing side. As part of your rebrand you may consider:
Renaming your brand
Changing your brand’s name is time-consuming and can be risky so you should only do it if it’s absolutely necessary.
Make sure your new name aligns with your brand’s renewed mission and values and, if you can, ensure that your brand is still recognisable to avoid squandering the brand loyalty you’ve built up with existing customers.
The iconic Australian brand Coon Cheese changed its name to Cheer Cheese in 2020 for (we think) obvious reasons. This is a good example of when a name change was absolutely necessary!
Designing a new logo and brand identity
Most businesses redesign their logos as part of a rebrand. This usually happens as part of a refresh of your brand’s entire identity, from your website’s design to the type of fonts and colours you use in your marketing materials.
In general, it’s a good idea to go for something simple and impactful that will suit your business in the long term. If you can, try to ensure that existing customers will recognise your new logo as belonging to your brand.
In 2009, US juice brand Tropicana commissioned an agency to redesign their logo and packaging to the cost of $35 million. Tropicana lost sales of $20 million in a month as customers didn’t recognise the refreshed brand.
They reverted to their old packaging after just 30 days – and became a cautionary tale about the importance of maintaining brand recognition during a rebrand.
Developing a new brand tone of voice
Brand tone of voice refers to the way you speak to customers – whether that’s via customer service email, on your website, or on social media platforms. Your tone of voice should be a representation of your brand’s values and its personality and,importantly, it should be the same across all platforms. During a rebrand, you may redevelop this tone of voice to address a new target demographic or better represent your brand.
Developing new brand guidelines
Brand guidelines are a set of rules that govern the way that your brand is presented. It should describe:
- Your brand story
- Your ideal tone of voice
- How your logo can be presented and used
- Brand colour palette
- Imagery guidelines
This document is essential to any rebrand as it ties all elements together to present your brand as coherent and consistent – no matter where your customers encounter it. This helps build brand recognition, which is vital in establishing and building good will among your customers.
Are you ready for a change? Pounce Marketing is a team of marketing wizards with decades of combined specialist experience in rebranding – from strategy to creative and everything in between.
Get in touch with our team for a no-obligation chat about how we can help with your rebrand.