Tips for a successful rebrand
1. Bring in a branding consultant
Branding is a specialist area of expertise. So bringing in a brand consultant can help you successfully rebrand.
A branding consultant provides a valuable outside opinion. They're not connected to your business, they're not emotionally attached to your current brand, and they don't care about your internal politics.
As such, they can move your brand forward more easily than if you try to manage the process internally.
The consultant should drive forward the process, conducting workshops with stakeholders to understand your objectives, develop your new brand, and provide new brand guidelines at the end of the project.
2. Assess the risks of rebranding
When you rebrand your business, you do it to gain some form of commercial advantage. Whether that's distinguishing your brand from competitors or appealing to new audiences.
But there's always a risk that rebranding will have the opposite effect. You might alienate your existing audience, fail to appeal to your new target market, or lose what already makes you distinctive in the marketplace.
Is rebranding really the right thing for you, right now? Make sure you're clear on why you're doing it and that you're sure it's the best strategy for whatever business challenges you're hoping to overcome.
3. Know your rebranding goals
It's important to establish the goals of your rebranding strategy. Your goals should tie directly into your overarching business strategy. This will influence the direction and depth of your rebrand activities. Here are a couple of examples.
Rebranding example 1: Merger
Imagine you are a business that has recently acquired two other companies. Your goals may be to:
- successfully consolidate all of the businesses into a single brand
- retain individual brand equity when you the new businesses into your parent brand
- communicate this to the market in a way that improves brand awareness and sentiment
- unify employees around a new shared identity
This is likely to require a complete brand overhaul, from vision and values, to visual identity and messaging.
Rebranding example 2: Modernization
Now imagine you're a long-established family brand that's losing market share. Your research has shown customers think your brand is old-fashioned and unappealing.
In this situation, your goals may be to:
- modernize the brand
- increase brand appeal
- regain market share
This could be achieved through a brand refresh that mostly addresses visual elements of the brand, like a new logo and packaging. You may also need to reimagine your brand values and communicate those to the market, such as a commitment to sustainability.
As you can see, these different goals will influence how you plan your rebrand, what's in scope, and how you'll measure success.
4. Conduct market research
Equipped with your strategic goals, you should conduct appropriate research to inform your rebranding strategy. Two important forms of research for rebranding are market research and competitor research.
Market research uncovers how your brand is currently perceived in the market - by existing clients and customers who use your services, people who use competitors, and people who've never even heard of you!
You can use market research to understand what people do and don't like about your brand's identity. And use it to benchmark brand awareness, so you can check again after your rebrand, to see if it has improved.
Focus groups, on-site surveys (for example, in supermarkets), and online surveys are good ways to collect audience insights.
Competitor research is helpful because it shows what others in the market are doing. Not so you can copy them. There's no point in rebranding just to be like someone else - that won't differentiate you! The purpose is to see what other brands your audience is exposed to. Understand how they position their business. Be inspired by what you like and don't like about your competitors' branding. And find your unique place and brand personality among them.