Rebranding: When to Do it & Why

Rebranding is a popular marketing strategy – one that has been successfully implemented by small and big brands alike. On the topic of branding and traditional marketing theory, author Anil Kumar Singh et. al. says, “A further premise that underpins marketing education and practice is that strong brands are built through many years of sustained investment which, if well judged, will yield a loyal consumer franchise that will result in large sales, a high market share and a continuing stream of income for the brand owner.” (Rebranding and Organisational Performance) That being said, rebranding seems to counteract traditional marketing practices. Rebranding means potentially jeopardizing the very investments your brand has cultivated: such as capital, time, and client base.

To this end, rebranding sounds a lot like sloppily gathering your company’s worth into an overflowing rucksack and heading to the nearest landfill – carelessly dropping your hard earned relationships, savings, and general goodwill along the way. But there are several instances when rebranding is beneficial or even necessary for a company or organization. Rebranding can range in scope and magnitude, from something as small as integrating a new color into public-facing designs, to something as impactful as an entire name change or a complete overturn in the type of products or services offered. Here are a few instances that may prompt a rebrand, no matter how small or large.

Circumstances that Call for a Rebrand:

  1. Your logo design or brand name too closely resembles that of another company: It’s not too uncommon for companies to have similar aesthetics or comparable color schemes. But when your brand too closely resembles another company’s, it might not be worth fighting the legal fees and headaches to save one or two aspects of your brand. And to that end, you’ll want to distance your brand from other companies in order to avoid confusion amongst your clientele.
  2. Growth: Growth is exciting in a company – whether it’s growth in employee headcount or overall budget. However, growth may warrant a rebrand. If you have grown past the original scope of your product or service offering, or have expanded your global imprint, you may want to consider rebranding. This way, your customers will have a better grasp of your offerings and identity, to avoid limiting their understanding of your brand to a specific product or service.
  3. Lack of Growth: If your sales have been stagnant or on the decline, it may be time to reconsider the message that your brand is putting out. The best way to analyze this is by doing a simple cross-comparison. What are your competitors doing differently? What about their logo, slogan, or overall look & feel is drawing your customers to them (and away from you!)? While we don’t recommend imitating your competitors down to the letter, seeing how they are successfully positioning themselves can help to lead you in the right direction.
  4. Aesthetic and Functional Disconnect: Physical attributes like storefront, logo, or website make up the overall embodiment of your company. Each is something your customers should look at and quickly be able to grasp the function of your business. If there’s a disconnect between what appearances suggests and what your actual company represents, then it’s time for a rebrand.
  5. Plain Outdated: While trends tend to repeat themselves over, you can’t just sit around with an old design, waiting for it to become interesting again. Consider exciting new typefaces for your marketing collateral, as bigger businesses like Google and LEGO often give their fonts a refresh.

    Think of some gradients or dramatic drop shadows – while they definitely had their moment (an as an exception, sometimes still do) – they’ll generally make your brand look outdated. Design Shack points out a few of these Once-Popular Design Trends that will automatically make your brand look a bit passé.

    When Moroco Orthodontics updated their logo, they spread the change throughout their office to make their public space more memorable and appealing to clients. Consider how a redesign of your corporate offices, physical store, or website may better reflect your brand as it is now, and where it wants to go in the future.

This is simply a short list of instances that may prompt a rebrand. The multitude of potential external and internal circumstances that can warrant a rebrand really shows how important, yet complicated, the process can be. It is imperative to be able to take a step back from time to time and ask yourself these fundamental marketing questions:

  • Is my brand attracting the right clientele?
  • What message is my brand sending to my customer base?
  • How is my brand perceived by the general public?

If you’re unsure of the answer to any of these questions, it may be time to consider rebranding.

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