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Step by Step Process for Rebranding in 2021

Branding is the process of connecting a good strategy with good creativity.” -- Marty Neumeier, author of 'The Designful Company "

It’s not uncommon for businesses to have started with certain branding designs which stopped working down the road. Whether it's your logo variations or brand values, your branding defines your identity and a change in business inherently leads to a change in branding as well. Fortunately for you, rebranding is quite popular in actuality- big names such as Uber to Zara have successfully launched rebranding campaigns in the past.

All in all, if your initial branding designs are failing to keep up with the times, or even if you’re unsatisfied as a business, you should certainly consider rebranding. We’re going to explore some important reasons for rebranding, and how you can effectively rebrand your website, company, purpose, and mission.

Reasons for Rebranding

First off, let’s begin with why you might want to rebrand your business. There are a few notable reasons which are quite justified, while there’s also a couple of reasons which should not be a motivation for rebranding. This is because rebrands are often complicated, pricey, and carry major risks.

In fact, even bigger brands such as Uber remain unspared with an astounding 44% of customers having been unsure of Uber’s new logo redesign when it was presented. 

Ultimately, it is important to be aware of the many risks which come with rebranding. This can help you navigate your own reasons whilst determining whether or not you’d like to go ahead with a rebrand.

For example, if you’re considering a rebrand because your business sales have fallen or your brand awareness is proving to be a loss to your business, you should consider a revised marketing strategy rather than a rebrand. Similarly, it would be wise to conduct thorough market research in order to identify the underlying issues as well.

However, if you’re looking to rebrand because the vision, values, or mission of your company isn’t reflected in your brand anymore, you’re likely on the right path.

There are a couple of major reasons which justify a rebrand:

  1. New location: as a business, you would probably need to rethink your brand while expanding into newer, international markets that are unlikely to resonate with your current messaging.

  2. New philosophy: your brand decision should ultimately be governed by the vision, values, and mission of your business. If these factors are no longer consistent with your brand, you should certainly follow through with extensive rebranding.

  3. Acquisitions and mergers: if you happen to have your company acquired by another one (acquisition), or if you’ve intersected with another company (merger), you cannot simply adopt the brand of one company for both. In a situation such as this, it is far more lucrative to discover a new brand that adequately reflects both companies.

  4. Market repositioning: if your business has decided to target an entirely new customer profile, whether it’s based on promotion, price, place, or product, you’ll certainly need to redesign your brand in an effort to connect your company with the new customers.

In contrast, here are some reasons why you shouldn’t rebrand:

  1. Post-crisis: Rebranding is not the answer to bad press or internal issues faced by your business. In fact, consumers are more than likely to identify a cover-up when they see one.

  2. Boredom: Businesses often consider rebranding because they’re tired of their initial slogan and logo. However, when you start to feel this way, it is important to remember the consumers you’re appealing to who have come to adore your signature colour.

  3. Attention: If you’re facing a drop in sales, or your brand awareness efforts have been less than lucrative, it is unwise to rebrand in order to create short-term buzz. Without a marketing strategy to sustain the same, you’re likely to lose the brand recognition you worked so hard for.

  4. Ego and impact: When businesses employ new managers, they’re likely to be desperate to make their mark and hit the ground running. However, when new managers consider a rebrand, it often isn’t supported by the institutional change required to justify it. More often than expected, you’re likely to encounter new leadership insisting on a rebrand primarily for themselves rather than the company.

Total Rebrand vs Partial Rebrand

If you’ve decided that a rebrand is the right move for your business, you’ll now want to identify whether your business needs a total, or a partial, rebrand. Following the same, you’ll need to re-establish the target market of your brand by identifying the demographic you want to attract. Lastly, you’ll need to redefine the mission, values, and vision of your company.

As such, you’ll need to recognise that rebrands come in different sizes. It is important to determine whether a total or partial, rebrand is ideal for your business. Remember, the bigger and more established your company is, the more you stand to lose from a rebrand.

Partial Rebrand

A partial rebrand allows your business to retain the brand loyalty you’ve worked so hard to build, alongside helping your company refresh its image in order to keep up with the times. As such, you could look at a partial rebrand as more of an adjustment to focus on the visual brand identity of your business. This helps you to align with any new markets and offerings, rather than encountering an identity crisis.

A good example to look at is Old Spice, the company which manufactures men’s deodorants. Old Spice witnessed massive growth in revenue following its rebrand, while also managing to reposition itself in the market. A partial rebrand allowed them to retain their original integrity while appealing to a newer market.

Total Rebrand

A total rebrand is needed when you’re undergoing an identity shift while also encountering changing vision, values, and missions within your company. As such, a total rebrand is more suited to product overhauls, mergers, and extensive foundational shifts.

When a total rebrand is underway, everything from the company’s name and purpose, to the market the appeal to, and the brand identity they project, is open to redesign. If you were to look at a partial rebrand as a quick touch-up, a total rebrand would be a complete makeover in comparison.

”What if the problem wasn’t the product? What if the problem was the way we talked about the product?” -- Donald Miller, CEO, public speaker, and author of ‘Building a Storybrand’

Branding of products, by Coca Cola

Step by Step Process to Rebrand Your Company

Now that you’re familiar with the correct reasons for a rebrand, coupled with whether you’d need a partial or total rebrand, it's important to navigate the step-by-step process for rebranding your company. This is inclusive of five major procedures which we’ll highlight below,

  • Reestablishment of the market and audience of your brand

  • Redefining the vision, values, and mission of your brand

  • Renaming your company

  • Alternating the slogan of your brand

  • Reconstructing the identity of your brand

1. Reestablishment of the market and audience of your brand

Once you’ve conducted your market research, including data analysis and focus groups, you’re likely to notice that your customers' expectations have changed over time. Moreover, you’re also likely to discover new demographics which you wouldn’t have considered engaging with earlier, coupled with new competitors which are directly impacting your sales. The data you compile is going to be extremely crucial.

As a brand, you need to focus on which customers purchase from you, in comparison to those who purchase from your competitors and if so, which competitors. When comparing the same with the target market you initially resonated with, you’re going to come across some major differences.

Once you’ve recognised your actual audience and market-post your comparisons and research, you can go ahead with rebranding your company in order to fend off your competitors and attract new customers.

“Your personal brand is a promise to your clients… a promise of quality, consistency, competency, and reliability.” Jason Hartman, author of ‘Become the Brand of Choice’

2. Redefining the vision, values, and mission of your brand

Three important questions to ask yourself, as a brand, are:

  • What am I doing?

  • Why am I doing it?

  • How am I doing it?

While it’s certainly easy to disregard your messaging foundations when you initially establish them, you cannot simply take them for granted when your company starts to grow. Therefore, you’ll need to ask yourself these three crucial questions when you begin to re-evaluate your mission, values, and vision.

This is because new priorities, stakeholders, products, and services, can entirely undo your initial foundations. Some major components which you’ll want to analyse in-depth are:

  • Your Vision

Your vision underlines every action taken by your company; thus, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of what it is. If your vision has changed with the progression of time, you’ll need to redefine it as soon as possible, whilst ensuring your employees are acting on the basis of your new vision

When you begin your rebranding, the vision of your company will blanket everything from the website redesign to your recruitment process.

  • Your Mission

The vision of your company refers to ‘what’ you’re all about, while the mission refers to ‘how’ you go about your accomplishments. When rebranding, you might be pursuing the same direction as earlier, except the way you pursue it is what's changed now. Ultimately, your mission is going to be the roadmap of your company.

Therefore, when there’s a change in your mission, you’re going to need to rework your messaging as well. It is just as important to a successful rebranding as your vision is.

  • Your Values

Your values determine the ‘why’ component of your brand. Essentially, it inculcates why you have a vision and why you’re striving to accomplish your mission. However, when brands begin to grow and change, their founding values often tend to become unsustainable. If you’re no longer able to support your previous values, or maybe you’ve started to prioritise some new values, you’ll need to ensure your rebranding reflects them.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” -- Simon Sinek, author of ‘Start with Why’

  • Your Brand Voice

As your values, mission, and vision change during the rebranding procedure, the manner you convey them to customers will also need to be changed. This is inclusive of your vocabulary, your tone, and the voice your company uses. Ultimately, you’ll need to make sure your brand voice aligns with your brand message. So when you’re changing the content of your message, the way you convey this content needs to be changed as well.

3. Renaming your company

Changing a name could very well cost you your brand recognition and the organic search traffic you’ve built so far. Therefore, if you’ve decided to rename your company as a part of your rebranding process, you’ll need to make sure you have a recovery plan in place as a part of your post-rebrand strategy.

All in all, if your original name still fits your company, it is best to stick with it. However, if it comes across a mismatch for your new company identity, you’re better off going back to the drawing board. Here are some excellent starter ideas to help you work on the renaming process:

  • Literally, say what you do

  • Modify the spelling of a word

  • Come up with a new word

  • Use an ancient word in a new way

  • Consider other languages

  • Utilise a location

  • Come up with an acronym

  • Combine two words

  • Add a suffix or a prefix

If renaming is a primary focus of your rebranding strategy, you’ll want to focus on aligning it with the vision, values, and mission of your brand as well. Simply going for what sounds attractive would not suffice. As such, your new brand name has a higher chance of contributing to your goals and growth in the long term.

4. Alternating the slogan of your brand

An ideal slogan is meant to capture the vision, and mission, of your company while still coming across as catchy. Essentially, a slogan condenses the purpose of your company. In fact, changing slogans is comparatively easier than changing the name of your company.

You’ll need to begin by questioning why your company, and does it really, need a change in the slogan. Maybe you’ve come to despise your slogan because you've heard it so often, this can make you forget that your customer actually still loves it.

If you’re unable to make an objective decision, you can hold a focus group to see if your slogan still resonates with your company. If you’ve decided it doesn’t, here are some great ideas to get you started with a new slogan:

  • Get metaphorical

  • Make use of poetic language

  • Include instructions in your slogan

  • Make a strong claim

  • Compliment your customers

  • Leverage your label

5. Reconstructing the identity of your brand

The last step in your rebranding strategy is drawing on the strengths, and weaknesses, of the tangible elements your brand, uses to communicate its identity. This could include redesigning your logo, revising your brand guidelines, using new colours for your brand material, and a change in typography. Here are some of the most common changes made as a part of any rebranding strategy:

  • Logo

Perhaps you’ve come to realise that your customers no longer understand your logo. Or maybe, your logo isn’t as trendy, or fresh, as that of your competitors. Whatever the reason may be, you’ll need to revisit the basics of redesigning your logo in order to get it absolutely right this time around.

Infamous Porsche Logo

  • Selecting a new Colour Palette

Colors undoubtedly have a huge impact on your brand; this is because colours are synonymous just as you’re likely to identify the colour yellow with the McDonald’s yellow. With your company constantly developing, you’ll certainly need to revise your colour palette.

Utilising color psychology, and conducting extensive competitor research, can assist you in the process of coming up with a brand new, lucrative colour palette. Moreover, you’ve likely noticed that there’s a stark difference between the way colours are showcased in print vs on-screen.

  • Typography

Similar to your color palette, the font you originally chose may look different in actuality. When you’re revisiting fonts as part of your rebranding strategy, you should pay attention to what seemed to work with your old font, and what proved to be useless. You should also focus on any complications you may have encountered, such as your ability to access the font when web designing.

Moreover, you’re also likely to consider whether the font you’ve chosen remains consistent with any new messages, or markets, you may have discovered while rebranding. Now that you’ve effectively familiarised yourself with different marketing channels, you’ll be able to carefully determine cuts and weights.

  • Revisiting Imagery and Shapes

The shapes and imagery utilised by your brand are just as important as your color palette, logo, and typography. Because you’re changing various other visual elements of your brands, you’ll want to work on the shapes and imagery you’re making use of in order to ensure an overall consistency during your rebranding process.

While carrying out the different steps in your rebranding design process, you need to ensure the why, what, and how of your brand are properly communicated through the visual elements you’re using.

So what do we know now?

Beginning with the crucial reasons which justify a rebrand, along with those which do not, you can now effectively determine whether a rebranding procedure is the one for your business. Following which, we differentiated between a total and a partial rebrand, allowing you to contemplate what your company needs. Lastly, our detailed guide, showcasing a step-by-step procedure for rebranding your company in 2021, explores many useful concepts to successfully rebrand your business in an optimum manner.

Starbucks branding

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