Rebranding is more than just changing your logo or your filter on Instagram. The process is really about changing how people think about your brand. Companies rebrand for various reasons, including new leadership, a new target audience or a new company vision, but no matter the reason, rebranding is a big deal, and deciding to rebrand should not be taken lightly.
"Rebranding (or at least one that is done right) will energize your company," said Mike Jones, CEO of brand agency Resound. "Staff will be clearer on your purpose, vision and values. Potential customers will resonate with your personality and communications. Sales will get easier. Marketing will be more efficient, as designers, writers and creators for your brand will have clear guidelines."
How to tackle a rebrand
Rebranding efforts shouldn't be rushed. Take the time to develop a detailed plan on how you plan to rebrand and any events surrounding the launch. But before you put pen to paper, think through each stage of your rebrand. These five questions can help you get started.
1. Ask yourself the tough questions.
Michelle Barry, founder of Mesmerize Media Consulting, said it's important to really think about your company and get a strong understanding of who your company is, what you do better than anyone, and what you want your customers to know about you. Think about your current customer base and what type of brand values they are searching for. Keep up to date with current events and find out what is trending right now in the market. What are customers looking for in a business similar to yours?
"I often suggest doing a customer focus group to kick things off, to get a better idea of what your customers think of you right now," Barry said. "That can help you inform the strategy for how to get your brand to where you want it to be."
2. Decide who will execute what.
Jones suggests asking the following questions:
- Who needs to be involved to create a clear purpose, vision and values?
- Who will redesign your logo?
- Does the company name need to change?
- Who will create the guidelines for colors, fonts, writing and design?
- Who will implement all the new elements (website, signage, collateral, intranet, invoices, etc.) across the company?
"In this process, consider the different roles required: leadership team, marketing team, design, copywriting, legal and HR," Jones said. "If you haven't led a rebrand before, it's probably wise to engage a brand agency or consultant to help guide you through the process and provide an outside perspective and even additional resources."
3. Create your new brand.
It won't, and shouldn't be, a fast and easy process. You want to make sure you get it right the first time around; otherwise, it could impact the credibility of your business. Jones suggests involving different perspectives at each step in the process. Seek input from customers, employees, partners, vendors, etc., to make sure you're on track with a new brand that paints your business in the right light.
When creating your new brand, also think about why you're doing it. If you are doing it just to make the news and get attention, you might want to rethink it. In Barry's words, "I can't think of a worse reason to rebrand."
4. Prioritize and set goals.
Since rebranding should be a slow, calculated process, you can't do everything at once.
"Complete a brand inventory," said Lauren Craven, director of communications at Imperial Dade. "List everything that is branded, from marketing materials to delivery vehicles to forms and invoices. Prioritize the rebranding of each item, create a timeline, and assign the person responsible for execution."
Having a plan written down for when you want each part of your rebranding completed can help all those involved stay on track for the announcement, so write down your goals and feelings about the rebranding.
5. Make the announcement.
Once you've completed the processes above, it's time to announce your rebranding. Rebranding is the perfect opportunity to tie into marketing opportunities.
"Send an email to your customers letting them know that they're going to see some new things," Jones said. "Clearly explain your goals and reasoning for the rebrand, and assure them that the great service they've already been receiving will continue. Get the media involved. Draft up a press release and get it in front of key media outlets in your industry. Write a blog post discussing why you rebranded. Put out the word on social media. And prep your sales and customer service for how to inform current customers of the changes."
Barry echoed this sentiment, saying that it's best to start with customers and partners because they've probably gotten used to the way your business has conducted things thus far, and they will want advanced knowledge of the change and why it's occurring.
The best way to announce a rebranding is with a sale, promotion or contest, according to Claire Jones, co-founder of digital marketing agency Witty Kitty. She added that it needs to be something engaging that gets your customers involved and highlights all the ways your rebrand will be best for them. Tie the rebranding into a fun event like a charity run or family fun day.
Social media is an important marketing tool to announce your rebranding. Create new social media ads that highlight your rebranding efforts. Run social media giveaways as an incentive to spread the word about your relaunch. Schedule any rebranding events through social media to help advertise them to a larger audience. [Read related article: How to Rebrand Your E-commerce Business]
"You also want to announce it in phases and not jump to dump it on people – slow and steady wins the race," Jones added.
Examples of successful rebrands
You’re going to put a lot of heart – and work – into your rebranding strategy. So, it's important to ensure that you're getting started on the right foot. Seeing real-life successful examples of a rebrand can help guide you as you start on your own process. Here are three successful rebranding examples, and a bit about what you can learn from each.
The container brand has been a U.S. staple for decades, but the “Tupperware party” style of sales was not keeping up with the 21st-century e-commerce demand. To mark the legacy brand's new era, Tupperware did not stray far from its roots, nodding to ‘70s nostalgia but embracing a clean and modern look. Those deep roots give the rebrand meaning, instead of just randomly choosing fonts and colors.
The Tupperware rebrand underscores the importance of caring for the emotional value of your brand, particularly if your brand has been around for quite some time or has a large customer base. Customers develop an attachment to your brand over time; leaving all that behind during a rebrand can backfire. Consider acknowledging your company history while updating your look for the 21st century.
The travel company unveiled its rebrand in 2014. Acknowledging that it had outgrown its original brand identity, the company said the rebrand was meant to signal its embrace of Airbnb as a home experience, not just a website to rent houses. As customers utilized Airbnb to better immerse in the communities which they were visiting, the brand's purpose – one driven by its customers – was redefined and reflected in changes to its design, mission statement and brand colors.
Airbnb's rebrand reinforces the importance of listening to your customers. They may find a purpose for your product or service that's not in your original scope. Tapping into that potential can bring about powerful results in your rebrand.
The national drugstore dropped the “Caremark” from its brand and replaced it with “Health” in 2014. This rebrand put a heart – and the word "health" – front and center, to formally mark its transition into a company dedicated to “helping people on their way to better health.” This was accompanied by a decision, made around the same time, to stop selling nicotine products in its stores.
Here, the addition of "health" is twofold. First, it clearly distinguishes the "old" CVS from the "new" CVS. Second, it reinforces the pharmacy's new purpose to help customers on their way to better overall health. As you explore a rebrand, consider how your name change reflects your new or evolving values. If those have changed, it may be time to tweak your name.