What Is Rebranding: Why It’s Important You Consider It
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Asking yourself, “What Is Rebranding?”, means you’re not just looking for what rebranding is about, but understanding the risks involved once you’ve committed to the process. Rebranding is not simply a marketing buzzword or the latest brand that got a new logo like Twitter’s recent rebrand to ‘X’; it’s a comprehensive and vital strategy that businesses undertake to redefine and reposition themselves in the marketplace.
You’re here either because of changing market conditions, a shift in your corporate vision, a recent merger or acquisition, or the need to overcome a poor image. Whatever your main driving reason is in asking, ‘what is rebranding’, rebranding offers companies like yours a path to reinvent themselves.
We delve into the what, why, and how of ‘what is rebranding’, distinguish it from BRAND REFRESH, shed light on its various stages and nuances, and provide a comprehensive understanding of this transformative concept so you can decide WHEN it’s time to rebrand.
What is rebranding and why is it important?
Rebranding is the comprehensive process of changing and transforming the public image of a company or organization. Merely knowing ‘what is rebranding’ isn’t enough. It’s a strategic endeavor that involves altering essential elements that define the company’s identity in the eyes of both internal stakeholders and the public. While some might think of rebranding simply as changing a logo or a type of partial update, it’s much more complex.
Although rebranding might include partially updating the brand, rebranding often reflects a complete and comprehensive transformation in the business or a response to changes in the marketplace or public perception.
The Difference Between Rebranding and a Brand Refresh
You might have heard ‘Brand Refresh’ before, but differentiating between rebranding and a brand refresh is CRITICAL, as these are two distinct strategies with varying implications. While rebranding involves a fundamental transformation, a brand refresh is a more subtle, nuanced adjustment to the existing brand. It can be likened to renovating a house versus building an entirely new one.
When you hear others refer to ‘partial rebranding’, what they’re really referring to is “brand refresh”. It’s just that branding has evolved over the past 10ish years and because of “modern branding”, these are newer terms that have evolved. Do the digging, you’ll see that these terms are a bit all over the place.
A brand refresh updates and revitalizes the brand without altering its core essence, whereas rebranding often leads to a significant shift in how the brand is perceived and may encompass changes at a foundational level.
Understanding ‘what is rebranding’ requires an explanation of both rebranding and a brand refresh. Although they are strategies to update and enhance a company’s image, they differ in scope, purpose, and execution.
Here’s a comparison to illustrate these differences:
Scope: Rebranding is a more radical and comprehensive change that often involves a fundamental transformation of the brand. This can include changes to the company’s name, logo, mission, values, visual identity, target audience, and overall strategy. To sum it up in one word, rebranding is an “overhaul”.
Purpose: Rebranding is typically undertaken when there is a significant shift in the company’s direction, target market, or if the current brand is severely misaligned with the company’s goals. This can also be triggered by mergers, acquisitions, or a need to overcome negative perceptions. This is why you’ve landed on our article to consider, ‘What Is Rebranding’.
Process: Rebranding is usually a complex and time-consuming process that involves deep research, planning, and implementation. It often requires the input of branding experts and careful consideration of how the changes will affect all aspects of the business.
Risk Management: Rebranding comes with higher risks, as it can lead to confusion among existing customers and might require significant effort to communicate the changes and their rationale.
Scope: A brand refresh is more of a subtle update rather than a complete overhaul. It might include tweaking the logo, updating colors, modernizing the website, or refining messaging to make it more contemporary. The core identity of the brand remains the same.
Purpose: The goal of a brand refresh is usually to reinvigorate a brand that might feel outdated or to realign it with subtle shifts in company strategy or market trends. It’s a way to keep the brand relevant without changing its fundamental essence.
Process: A brand refresh is generally quicker and less complex than a full rebrand. It focuses on enhancing existing brand elements rather than creating new ones from scratch.
Risk Management: The risks are usually lower with a brand refresh since the changes are more subtle, and the core brand remains recognizable to existing customers.
Types of Rebranding - Which Type Are You In?
Understanding ‘what is rebranding’ can be as complex as learning how to do branding, the only big difference is that in the case of a rebrand, it’s because of a reason once you’ve been established in the market for some while.
Don’t get mixed up that a type of rebranding is about partially versus totally changing your identity or strategy. That’s really about a brand refresh versus rebranding.
These ACTUAL types, however, are about WHY you are rebranding. They fall into an either/or situation:
1. Are You Proactively Rebranding?
Proactive rebranding is a strategic decision made to position the company for future opportunities or to align with a new direction or vision. It’s forward-looking and driven by a desire to evolve and grow.
2. Reactively Rebranding?
Reactive rebranding, in contrast, is often a response to specific challenges or issues, such as negative public perception, legal disputes, or a need to distance the company from past failures. Whether proactive or reactive, each rebranding effort must be meticulously planned and executed to align with the underlying reasons and to achieve the desired outcomes.
When Do You Need Rebranding?
It’s typically because of these reasons:
When the Market Conditions are Changing
Adapting to changing market conditions is often a key driver behind rebranding. Whether it’s technological advancements, evolving consumer preferences, or shifting industry landscapes, companies must stay agile. Rebranding provides the necessary tools and strategies to align with these new market realities, ensuring continued relevance and competitive advantage.
When the Public Perceives You Negatively
Overcoming negative public perception or past mistakes might necessitate rebranding. Whether it’s a product failure, a public relations mishap, or an outdated image, rebranding offers a pathway to regain trust, rebuild reputation, and reconnect with customers.
When You’re Going Through A Change In Leadership
Rebranding plays a crucial role when a company goes through mergers, acquisitions, or decides to take a new direction. Aligning the brand identity to new business realities ensures a smooth transition and creates a unified vision that resonates with all stakeholders.
When Your Brand Image Is Outdated
Modernizing an outdated brand image is another compelling reason to consider rebranding. In a world where trends change rapidly, maintaining a fresh and relevant image is vital. Rebranding can breathe new life into a brand, making it appealing to new generations of consumers while keeping loyal customers engaged.
If you think you’re ready to rebrand, here’s how to approach it:
How to Approach Rebranding - A Risk Worth Considering
Assessing the Need
Rebranding is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration and a comprehensive analysis to determine whether it’s the right move for the company.
- Is your current brand failing to resonate with your target audience?
- Is it misaligned with your company’s vision and values?
- Is there a significant shift in market dynamics requiring a repositioning?
Assessing the need for rebranding involves evaluating these questions and more.
This involves a deep dive into current brand performance, consumer perception, competitive landscape, and overall business goals. The decision to rebrand must be based on clear, tangible needs that align with the long-term strategy, rather than temporary setbacks or fleeting trends.
Planning and Research
Once the need for rebranding is established, the planning phase begins. At the heart of successful rebranding lies an in-depth understanding of the target audience, market position, and competition. This requires THOROUGH research to gauge customer expectations, identify gaps in the current brand offering, and recognize opportunities for differentiation.
A comprehensive analysis of competitors can also provide insights into areas of potential advantage.
From this foundation of understanding, a detailed rebranding strategy can be developed, outlining the goals, scope, timeline, budget, and the specific elements that will be transformed.
The planning phase sets the stage for a cohesive and well-directed rebranding effort, aligning all elements to the company’s overarching objectives.
The execution phase is where the rebranding strategy comes to LIFE. Implementing the rebrand across all platforms and touchpoints requires meticulous coordination and attention to detail. Whether it’s a new logo, revised messaging, updated website, or a complete overhaul of the visual identity, each element must be consistently applied across various channels.
Coordination with stakeholders, including employees, partners, and suppliers, ensures a seamless transition and minimizes confusion. Internal training and communication may also be necessary to ensure that everyone within the organization understands and embodies the new brand. Timelines and project management tools can aid in tracking the progress and ensuring that all aspects of the rebrand are implemented as planned.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Rebranding doesn’t end with execution. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation through ‘brand management’ are vital to assess the impact and effectiveness of the rebrand. This involves tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) related to brand awareness, customer perception, engagement, and financial metrics. Surveys and customer feedback can provide valuable insights into how the new brand is resonating with the target audience.
Analyzing the data allows for continuous refinement, ensuring that the rebranding efforts align with customer expectations and business goals. Moreover, it enables the identification of potential issues early, allowing for timely adjustments. The monitoring and evaluation phase is an essential component of the rebranding process, providing both validation of the efforts and guidance for future branding initiatives.
Confidently KNOW When to RISK a Rebrand
Rebranding, however, is not without risks. It can be an expensive and time-consuming process, and if not done properly, can lead to confusion or even alienate existing customers. Moreover, a poorly executed rebranding effort might not address the underlying issues that necessitated the change in the first place.
Here are some Successful and UNsuccessful Rebrand Case Studies and Examples:
Rebranding can be a transformative experience for a company, leading to renewed growth, visibility, and relevance. Several examples illustrate this potential.
In the late 1990s, Apple was struggling, but with the return of Steve Jobs and a renewed focus on innovation and design, the company rebranded itself from a niche computer manufacturer to a lifestyle brand. The “Think Different” campaign encapsulated this new positioning, leading to an era of unprecedented success.
Once perceived as a dated brand for older generations, Old Spice managed to reinvent itself through a highly successful rebranding campaign. By embracing humor and modern masculinity, Old Spice connected with a younger demographic, dramatically increasing its market share.
Initially started as a service for budget travelers, Airbnb rebranded to focus on a sense of belonging and community. This shift not only broadened its appeal but also aligned with the values of the millennial generation, making it a dominant player in the travel industry.
Facing bankruptcy, LEGO rebranded by returning to its core principles of creativity and quality. By engaging with its community and refocusing on what made the brand unique, LEGO rekindled growth and re-established itself as a leader in the toy industry.
These examples highlight the importance of aligning a rebrand with authentic values, clear objectives, and an understanding of the target audience. When executed well, rebranding can reinvigorate a company, opening new markets, and strengthening relationships with customers.
Lessons from Failed Rebrands
However, not all rebranding efforts succeed, and the failures offer equally valuable lessons.
In 2010, Gap unveiled a new logo almost out of the blue, sparking immediate backlash. The design was criticized for being bland and disconnected from the brand’s heritage. Within a week, Gap reverted to its original logo, acknowledging that they had missed the mark.
Marissa Mayer’s attempt to rebrand Yahoo! by changing its logo and updating its services failed to address the underlying issues facing the company. The rebrand lacked a clear vision and failed to resonate with users, resulting in continued decline.
An ambitious rebranding aimed at transforming J.C. Penney into a hip retailer backfired as the company alienated its core customer base. The dramatic shift in branding, coupled with changes to pricing strategies, confused customers and led to a significant drop in sales.
Tropicana’s 2009 rebranding of its packaging resulted in a 20% drop in sales within two months. Customers were confused by the new design, and the company quickly reverted to its previous packaging.
These failures underline the importance of understanding and respecting the existing brand equity, customer expectations, and the need for clear communication. A misguided or poorly executed rebrand can erode trust, confuse customers, and even lead to financial losses.
Why Partnering with Our Agency is a MUST for Businesses That Want to Rebrand
As we covered, rebranding is an intricate process, a journey of rediscovery, alignment, and transformation that requires expert guidance. In asking “What is rebranding?”, you must realize that it involves a holistic approach that encompasses all the components of branding and the decision to ‘Let’s overhaul it’.
Our agency guides you at every phase of this process, offering tailored solutions that fit the unique needs and aspirations of each business.
If you’re then wondering: How can 28Lions rebrand my business without a clear understanding of my brand’s essence and our audience’s perception? To that we answer, “Effective rebranding demands a profound comprehension of your current brand’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the expectations and needs of your target audience.”
Our agency’s research-driven approach ensures that rebranding efforts are grounded in data and insights, resulting in a rebrand that genuinely resonates with the audience.
We cover all the components and we do this through a succession of workshops with you. The meticulous planning, coordinated execution, and attention to detail provided by our agency ensure that the rebrand is implemented flawlessly across all channels and touch points.
Our agency’s 20+ years of experience in branding—brand strategy and brand identity is testament to our ability to deliver on these objectives. By partnering with us, businesses are empowered to embark on the transformative journey of rebranding with confidence, guided by expertise, inspired by creativity, and driven by results.
Businesses that want to rebrand partner with us because we carry the strategies, data-driven insights, and creative firepower to execute a strong, roaringly successful brand.
So, could now be the time to rebrand? Maybe by having some questions answered that will help you decide. We will be happy to answer and guide you through making the best and right decision for your brand.
Schedule a FREE consultation with us to get started in the process.
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Nicole Andrew is a 20 year brand designer, Level-C certified brand strategist, educator, and co-owner of 28Lions, a branding & marketing agency that helps service-based entrepreneurs turn their expertise into powerful brands.