How to rebrand? Where should you even start with this whole thing?
Good questions. These days, it seems as if massive corporations are flipping from one logo to the next faster than you can say “Meta.”
However, there’s always bottom line-driven reasoning behind why companies decide to rebrand and what they rebrand as—it’s never as willy nilly as it seems.
For instance, in 2002, management consulting giant, Deloitte, spent $92M (in today’s dollars) to get a single, neon-green dot by its name:
And they’re Deloitte—all they’re supposed to do is strategize.
Point is, rebranding should always be strategic and bolstered by robust data that (in)validates every assumption you can possibly test.
Then, with in-depth research to back up every decision, you lower the chance of finding out your logic was flawed after the grand public unveiling (looking at you, Netflix—does anyone remember “Qwikster”? No? Exactly.)
So, with the right guidance (and some extremely thorough assumption validation, industry analysis, and market-testing), you, too, can execute a beautiful rebranding.
Well, that’s what we’re here for. So let’s get into it.
What is Rebranding?
Rebranding is the process of reconstructing the way your company is perceived by the public—your current and prospective customers. Your brand is comprised of your brand identity, as well as all interactions that the public and customers have with your company.
Moreover, your brand identity is a little more specific than that—basically, it’s all of the visual and brand voice elements that communicate to your audience your value proposition, who you are, and what you stand for. So, everything from your UX/UI, logo, tagline, visual identity in your website and marketing materials. All of those elements should be consistent in tone and tailored to your audience.
Therefore, rebranding is going back to the drawing board. What do you need to communicate to your audience has changed about your organization?
Are you, for lack of a better word, “hipper” and more with the times? Did you add a new service, or are you expanding to new markets? Are you revitalizing your customer service? Or, is your branding an attempt to diverge from your saturated market and highlight the way you’re different from competitors?
There are many reasons your organization is rebranding, but they’re likely all associated with creating a “stronger” brand. A stronger brand is more likely to attract customers with willingness-to-pay at lower customer acquisition costs (CAC.) It’s differentiated from competitors, communicates your value proposition clearly, establishes trust and credibility, and is tailored to your audience. And, it fosters stronger customer loyalty.
So, when might you consider rebranding? Well, you may be trying to reprice, enter a new market, add a new product or service, or shift from an outdated branding strategy or recoup from a reputational mishap.
Therefore, whatever the case may be, it’s all about building a stronger brand.
How to Rebrand
The first part here is establishing your goals and motivations for rebranding. As we mentioned above, these could range from the following (and onwards):
- Replacing branding or brand name that’s:
- No longer aligned with your brand vision
- Associated with negative implications
- Tailoring to a shifting demographic
- Repricing or raising prices
- Entering new markets
- Communicating your business’ evolution (mergers, acquisitions, new products, new revenue streams, etc.)
- Attracting better or better-fitting talent
- Differentiating from competitors
Of course, your goals for rebranding could span way beyond these—but whatever the case may be, it’s essential to begin with nailing down your goals.
The next step: research. And a lot of it. An exhaustive (and at times exhausting?) amount of it.
You should begin by assessing where you stand. This entails researching your current brand perceptions of both internal and external stakeholders; what do your employees and the public already think about your brand?
What are their associations with it? Stellar customer service, or, on the negative side, perhaps weak privacy protections? What is your current positioning, according to customer needs and marketplace standards?
Start with listing out your assumptions about your current perception and the perception of your rebrand vision. For example, what do you think your customers want, and how are you doing meeting current needs? What do you think your customers associate with your company?
From there, (in)validate those assumptions with comprehensive research—i.e., surveys, market-testing, focus groups, and customer research. Then, actually find out what you should aim to fix and what you should aim for in rebranding.
Is your demographic allergic to sunburst orange or Times New Roman? You should know that.
Your conclusions should stem from your robust, data-driven research that will inform your strategy and your Brand Positioning Phase.
You gotta know where you are to roadmap where you want to go—and how to get there.
In your Identity Phase, you’ll want to thoroughly nail down and understand your company’s mission and values. What did you set upon accomplishing when your company started?
You should know what makes your organization special, why it exists, and what values it has essential to its functioning. Some call this your “brand compass”: purpose, vision, mission, and values. So where did you begin, where are you heading, and how do you plan to get there?
Once you understand these key components, you can build your visual and verbal identities.
- Visual identity: logos, colors, typography, and visual elements
- Verbal identity: names, taglines, messaging, brand voice
When you’ve established your visual and verbal identities, you can begin redesigning your website, product, and marketing materials. Additionally, make sure to market-test your ideas before launch, to know that they resonate with the public and effectively communicate the things you’d like to tell them.
Style Guide and Brand Guidelines
It’s so, so crucial for credibility and trustworthiness to have cohesive and consistent branding. No one likes a flip-flopper—just consult Twitter’s opinion stream about any public figure who’s ever changed their mind about anything.
This consistency follows every aspect of your branding—from verbal to visual elements to customer service and UX/UI. So to keep it consistent and keep everyone internally on the same page—new and old employees—you should create a style guide and brand guidelines that dictate the creation of new materials and redesign of the old.
Your brand guidelines and the style guide are a set list of rules that your internal team follows anytime they publish, present, or promote content for your website, product, marketing, and social media.
Your style guide will tell your team:
- Font for your logos
- Approved coloring
- Image guidelines
- Language—do your hyphenate the word “co-working” or not?
You’ll establish your style guide by first doing a brand overview of your brand, what it stands for, and the goals and vision for your company.
You should then design a company logo and brand identity that represents your aesthetic. Moreover, it should specify color values (RGB, CMYK, Pantone) established by your design team.
Additionally, your typography and images also fall under this ~aesthetic~ umbrella. That means headers, quotes, copy, font choice; and image sources, coloring, and content (people? Abstract graphics?)
And, finally, your brand voice: the lexicon your company uses to define your brand’s personality. You’re sassy? Be sassy. You’re known for your witty quips? Be witty quips. You’re serious and well-informed? Define seriousness and be its definition in everything you put out—advertisements, web materials, and social media engagement.
Align the Rebrand with Your Current Brand
If you already have an established brand, you’ll want to shift to one that is aligned or at least partially consistent with the one you already have. Again, this is important to create a smooth transition of perception to the public.
While the goal is to redesign and reconstruct your perception, completely shocking everyone with a tectonic shift is not it. Why? Well, inconsistent and erratic behavior fosters confusion and mistrust by the public.
Therefore, aim for a rebrand and redesign that’s at least a bit reminiscent of the old one—even if it’s a significant change. A consistent brand will reinforce your position in the market as a reliable and stable option.
And, with that reputation, you’ll attract higher-quality customers with higher retention rates that perceive your offerings at a higher value. Which, if you care about your bottom line and industry impact, are all good things.
To understand how to navigate the thin line between differentiation and being too out there, it’s essential to know how you comparatively stand in your industry.
Therefore, you should run a thorough competitive analysis to understand where you stand out from your competitors and your true value proposition. In doing so, you can build your rebranding strategy around those highlights.
Another point about competitive analysis: it’s critical to understand and stay on top of industry design trends and best practices. There’s a reason those exist. That’s why they’re called best practices.
So, while you’ll definitely want an original and relevant take on things, you want to avoid creating something that’ll be quickly dated or feels too foreign or avant-garde.
Well, it’s time. You’ve done the research, the reimagination, and the redesign. Now it’s time to launch.
Part of your launch will be to do it carefully—deadlines, division of responsibilities and task ownership, and risk mitigation strategies that’ll ensure a smooth transition.
And the other part of your launch is announcement prep: you’ll need to be able to explain why you rebranded in the first place beautifully. By having a cohesive narrative around your launch, you’ll minimize customer confusion. So, explain why you rebranded, why it strategically made sense, and how your rebrand will realign you with your missions and value.
Additionally, you can take advantage of your rebrand as a press opportunity—get your name out there and proactively associate it with your sparkling future.
Well, this was a lot. We know.
So, it could be beneficial to consult product strategy and design experts who’ll help you put the theory to the rubber.
Coincidentally, hi, we’re Goji Labs—a product and software development consultancy with experience in designing, “rescuing,” and deploying hundreds of products.
Looking to develop a new app or revamp an existing one?
Have any general questions about who we are and our authority on the subject?
Reach us at GojiLabs.com.
– Goji Labs