A brand is so much more than a color palette and a memorable logo. But what exactly a “brand” is can be confusing to a lot of people, even business owners. We get it. It’s definitely an elusive topic.
We’ve talked a lot about branding on our blog in the past—topics ranging from choosing the right name for your brand and crafting a compelling brand story to making your existing brand more memorable. But maybe you’ve been around for a while and you’re feeling like it’s time for a refresh or rebrand. Rebranding is a common task many businesses have to take on, but knowing whether and when rebranding is right for your business can be critical to your success.
What is Rebranding?
But what exactly IS a rebrand? There are a couple of different levels of rebranding—partial rebranding and full rebranding. A partial rebrand is more common for companies, while a full rebrand is rare, costly, and should only be done if absolutely necessary.
Partial Rebrand – Partial rebrands usually mean updating the company’s logo, tag line, color palette, focus, etc. This can be relatively easy because it doesn’t change the core of the company. It simply alters the company’s appearance.
Full Rebrand – On the other hand, a full rebrand can sometimes feel like starting a completely new business. A full rebrand can include things like changing the company’s name and/or what the company offers. This is far more disruptive to customers and can endanger the progress you have made so far if you don’t get it right.
Do I Need to Rebrand?
There are many different scenarios where you might realize a rebrand is necessary, whether it be confusion about what you actually do, outdated or underwhelming style, offering a new service or product that doesn’t make sense with the original brand, or merging with another company (to name a few).
So whatever you’re going through that has you thinking about the possibility of a rebrand, we’re here to help. Sometimes a rebrand is definitely necessary, but sometimes maybe it isn’t worth the effort and cost. Here’s our two cents on when to and when NOT to rebrand. Shall we?
When to Rebrand
- Confusion About What You Do/Offer – If you consistently receive questions about the products and/or services you offer, you may want to rebrand. Ideally, your target audience should get a sense of what you do from your brand and be drawn to you before ever contacting you.
- New Service Or Product Offering – If you offer a new service or product that doesn’t make sense under the original brand umbrella, that’s a great time to rebrand.
- Recent Merge With Another Brand – When two companies merge, or one acquires another, there are many important decisions to make. It’s critical to assess both previous brands’ values to determine the best options.
- Outdated or Underwhelming Style – Style trends are always changing, so don’t feel like you need to change with every ebb and flow of trends. However, a style refresh is definitely recommended at certain increments along with the evolution of your audience, society, your company, and style.
When NOT to Rebrand
- To Copy Your Competition – Just don’t do it. It’s important to remember that it’s a GOOD thing to differentiate from your competition, not just follow everything they do. If you don’t have something truly unique to offer, your chances of success are going to be low. Elevate what makes your company unique and communicate that with your brand.
- Just For The Sake Of It – All companies, no matter how successful, need to find ways to be fresh and relevant to remain competitive. However, a rebrand can be costly and can cause confusion with your customers.
- Negative History – You’ll hear a LOT of marketing professionals say this IS a time to rebrand. But hear us out. If you are an ethical business owner who has a great product or service and you have a negative incident that happens, that’s an opportunity to build on your brand, not just start from scratch. Most often, the best thing you can do is own your mistakes, grow, and do better. To us, rebranding feels like hiding from your mistakes, and we’re not about that life.
- You are Overexposed – We run into this all the time with our clients and in our own business. We look at our brand collateral, website, social media, and logo all. the. time. so it’s easy to feel overexposed to it. But just because you’re overexposed to or even growing tired of your brand doesn’t mean everyone else is!
If you’ve thought it through and have a legitimate reason for a partial or full rebrand, it’s important to do it both slowly and intentionally. Developing a rebranding strategy will help you successfully recreate the way customers view your brand without risking your existing momentum and/or relationships. If you thrust change upon your customers, you run the risk of them becoming confused or even resentful. Some may be really excited, but the truth is most people don’t like change. So if you do want to make a change, make sure you have a valid reason and a plan.
As always, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have. We’d love to help you with your next steps.