Rebranding Strategies: The Ultimate Guide

by Mark Stephens
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The ultimate guide for rebranding strategies

Rebranding remains a chief weapon in the hands of big firms when it comes to repositioning the brand in the marketplace. From Pfizer to Dunkin’ Donuts, all have successfully rebranded to align themselves with the changing times and customer needs. In this blog we will explore the various methods by which a company can successfully rebrand itself.

But why rebrand in the first place?

Now that is a question which needs a lot of thinking! Like everything else, rebranding too has its sets of ups and downs. If you are looking to rebrand because your sales have been down or your brand awareness efforts don’t seem to add up then rebranding is not the answer you are looking for. Conducting thorough market research or formulating new marketing strategies can help you with your sales and marketing efforts. Uber is a prime example of rebranding gone wrong.

A research conducted by Pollfish found that 44 percent of people were unsure of what Uber’s new logo actually meant. 

Rebranding can be a step into the right direction if your company’s values, vision, mission, and market do not seem to be aligned with the brand.  There are various other reasons you might consider rebranding, some of which are as follows:

  • Market repositioning: Brands and consumers are meant to connect. So, if you are repositioning to connect to completely new customers through product, price and promotion then rebranding is exactly what you need.
  • New location: If you are considering connecting to a global audience or opening a chain of stores in various locations, rebranding might prove to be fruitful.
  • Mergers and acquisitions: When two companies are merged something new emerges out of it. It is a good idea to rebrand in case of mergers and acquisitions or the customers may be left confused as to what to expect from the new brand.
  • New philosophy: Mission, vision and the values of a company should govern every aspect of a brand. So if you decide to change the mission, vision and the values of your company, rebranding should be on the cards.

It is extremely important to evaluate if a rebranding is necessary and at all required. Here are a few reasons why NOT to rebrand:

  • Concealing a disaster: Rebranding might sound the easy way out of a crisis situation, but doing so would only add fuel to fire. Be it bad press or internal disputes, rebranding is not the answer at all. Customers and employees are smart enough to understand if a rebranding has been done to conceal a disaster.
  • Boredom: Changing the visual identity of your brand because you do not feel good about seeing it every day may prove to be catastrophic. The color schemes and the slogan might exactly be what your customers love about your brand.
  • Seeking attention: Going for rebranding strategies because your sales are going downhill or brand awareness efforts not adding up could prove to be a disastrous move as this could result in your brand losing whatever recognition it had pushing the sales and marketing efforts further down.
  • Leadership and ego: New leadership in a company often seeks rebranding. For new managers and leaders, rebranding seems to be the fastest way to make their mark felt. However, this kind of rebranding is done for the benefit of oneself as opposed to the company.

Rebranding strategy and scope: partial or total?

Once you have weighed all the pros and cons and singled out the reasons for rebranding, it is time to determine the scale of this effort.  It is here that you must consider which level of branding is required for your company. Partial rebranding will bear very different results from a total rebranding. So put your thinking caps on and calculate on the scale of the rebranding.

Partial versus total rebrand

Rebranding can cause you to lose more especially if you are an established brand. A partial rebranding for a more established business can prove to be more beneficial in the sense that it will help retain brand loyalty along with refreshing the company image.

However, if you are completely shifting the company’s mission, vision and values, a total rebranding should be the need of the hour. Situations where mergers and foundational overhauls are required, a total rebranding may play a vital role.

Once you have figured what you want between partial and total rebranding, it is time to implement the big five steps to successfully rebrand. The steps are as follows:

1. Re-establish your brand’s market and audience

This is one of the most crucial steps while going for a rebranding, yet businesses tend to overlook it. You must take a look at who is actually buying from you and who they are buying from instead of you. This will require conducting a thorough research from your end. Trust me; you are in for a surprise! The research might reveal some stark differences such as your customers and your competitors being completely different from who you thought they were!

Once you have the statistics that revealed a completely new demographic, you are ready to reestablish your actual market and audience. Understanding who your customers are will allow you to connect with them at an emotional level giving you an upper hand over your competitors.

2. Revise your company’s vision, mission and values

Your company’s vision, mission and values are the three cornerstones of how you would go about building your brand. The vision, mission and the values are your actual guidelines while formulating rebranding strategies. Ask yourself the three crucial questions beginning with what, how and why while revising your company’s vision, mission and values.

  • What are you doing?
  • How are you going to do it?
  • Why are you doing it?

The answers to the above questions will help you re-evaluate your brand’s vision, mission and values.

Vision acts as the guiding star for any company. So, you must be absolutely clear about your vision before moving forward. Perhaps your vision has changed overtime, but that is absolutely alright. The trick really is to redefine your new vision as quickly as possible so that everyone involved with your brand makes decisions based on the new vision.

The Mission of a company acts like a blueprint or a roadmap. Simply put, the vision of a company is “what” and the mission is the “how.” The mission is the road your brand will traverse.  With your company mission changing, your messaging too needs to change.

Values are the “why” behind your company. Values are the reason your company or brand exists. Without them your brand is deemed to fail. Your values may change overtime and must reflect while you are making your rebranding efforts.

The combination of vision, mission and values will give your brand a distinct voice. Your unique brand voice will help you further formulate rebranding strategies.

3. Rethink about your brand’s slogan

When you condense your company’s vision and mission, what you get is a slogan. In other words, your slogan should describe your brand’s vision and mission in a few words or sentences.

A good slogan is extremely catchy and summarizes your brand’s essence. Slogans are extremely helpful while formulating marketing or advertising campaigns; therefore, you must be extremely careful while creating a new slogan for your brand.

While it is easy to get bored with your existing slogan, sometimes they are the ones that stick with customers and build brand recognition. However, if change is what is required, then the following tips could help you  formulate a catchy new slogan for your company.

  • Declare something
  • Create an image through words
  • Get poetic
  • Provide some kind of instruction
  • Compliment the customers

4. Rethink about renaming your company

Renaming your company can be a costly affair as it can cost you your brand recognition. People who look for your company online can also get confused when you rename your brand. So, it is of prime importance that you well plan the renaming of your company for a smooth transition.

Simply put, if your old company name still fits your new branding then it is a good idea to stick with it. However, if you still need to rename your company it is time to think of a formidable strategy – one that will allow a smooth transition from the old name to the new one.

Here are a few ideas to get you started with the renaming process:

  •  Find new ways to use old words
  • Think of a new word that describes your vision, mission and values
  • Tell people what you do
  •  Look to other languages for ideas
  • Use a geographical location

Well, you don’t have to limit yourself to the above ideas but finding newer ways to align your brand with the company’s vision, mission and values could prove vital in your long-term growth.

Related: Authenticity in branding: why is it important?

5.  Rebuild your brand identity

You only think of rebranding after you have been in the business for a few years. Rebuilding brand identity comes after you have observed the strengths and weaknesses of your brand. In order to portray the right image of your brand to the audience and potential customers, your brand identity must be spot on.

Here are a few ideas to get you started on rebuilding your brand identity:

Logo

The company logo is among the most important elements of your visual identity. A logo is memorable and connects with the audience immediately. A great logo communicates brand messages in a split second and remains in the minds of the customers.

You might love your logo, but what use is it if it fails to convey proper messages to potential customers? Changing your logo or removing some of the extras from your existing one may do the trick.

Given below are some important elements that a great logo has:

  • It is simple: A simple minimalistic logo is more powerful than a logo cluttered with too many designs and messages. A clean logo that uses existing space may pull off what intricate designs may fail to achieve.
  • It is adaptable: One of the most important elements of a great logo is its ability to adapt. A logo which is simple and clean is more adaptable and has the ability to become timeless. The Nike “swoosh” is a classic example of a logo which is adaptable and timeless.
  • It makes an impact: A great logo never fails to make an impact. So if you are planning to play safe then it is of no value. Be bold and experiment as much as you can to come up with a logo that can create the maximum impact.

It is appropriate: It is only natural for companies to evolve through the years. Therefore, making changes that would complement the company’s growth is extremely essential. Making appropriate changes to the logo that would reflect the brand’s evolution is crucial for developing your brand’s identity.

Typography

Like logos, fonts play a vital role in rebuilding brand identity. Once you understand what worked and what didn’t with your old font, it becomes that much easier to formulate new strategies.

Being consistent with your choice of fonts will also play a vital role in developing brand identity. Your fonts must be consistent across your website, business cards, logo, billboards, banners and marketing messages.

Your experience with the brand will help you in understanding which fonts worked and which didn’t. Based on which you can make an educated decision on the kinds of fonts that would best suit your brand personality. 

Color palette

Colors can have a serious impact on your brand. Colors are so powerful that it evokes various feelings and emotions within the audience. Big brands have used colors intelligently and to their advantage. McDonald’s yellow, Coca-Cola’s red or Facebook’s blue are some great examples of how colors have become synonymous with the brands they represent.

Colors have a powerful psychological impact and when used with various shapes they could mean different things. Red, for example, evokes love and passion and blue, on the other hand, portrays calmness. So, choose the color that you think best fits your brand and use it wisely.

Since you have been working with colors for a while, it may be a good idea to experiment with various shades because they appear different in different formats. Consistency, again, is the key here. Be it on-screen or in-print, you want your colors to be consistent across platforms.

Shapes

Your company logo, color palette, typography and shapes all go hand-in-hand to create a powerful brand identity. If other visual identities of your brand are changing, it is a good idea to consider if shapes and imagery should change too.

You may take inspiration from your company’s vision, mission and values to devise new shapes and imagery that would work in tandem with other visual elements of your brand.

Building new brand guidelines

Brand guidelines will best work for you post rebranding. Building new guidelines is of prime importance in keeping everything consistent. Everyone from the ground level staff to top management can refer to the new guidelines in keeping operations smooth.

Here are a few ways new brand guidelines can help you grow your business:

  • Keep everyone in the company on the same page
  • Help formulate advertising and marketing campaigns
  • Help customers understand how the brand has evolved
  • Clear out unacceptable practices within the company

Brand guidelines not only work in the above ways but also help in brand positioning.

So are you ready to rebrand? Now that you know what it takes to rebrand, it is time to put your thinking caps on. Whether you are looking for a partial refresh or a complete overhaul, this guide can help you in every step of the rebranding process.

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