Last updated on January 5th, 2018
There comes a time in the life of every company where the question must be asked—do we need to reposition our brand?
There are many reasons why companies decide that rebranding is essential for their survival. If your target audience is not responding to your brand; if you haven’t achieved widespread brand recognition; if your original brand positioning isn’t future-proof; or if your brand identity is no longer achieving the results you’ve come to expect, it may be the time to consider rebranding of your company for better positioning in the market.
Whatever the reason for undertaking a rebrand, the road to your new brand can be long and sometimes fraught with roadblocks. To make the journey as smooth as possible…
Here are some key do’s and don’ts of rebranding your company
Do Conduct a No-Holds-Barred Brand Audit
It can be difficult to hold a magnifying glass up to your company and examine it. Remember, you’re rebranding for a reason, so be sure you are ready to conduct an honest audit your current brand. Look closely at the visual language of your brand, your company values, the style that characterizes your brand, and your company voice and tone. What needs to change and why?
Speak to your team—including stakeholders—about what they see as the brand’s perceived strengths and weaknesses. Consider creating an anonymous form each team member can fill out to encourage open and honest responses.
If the scope of your rebrand—and your budget—allows it, consider hiring an outside branding agency to take a deep dive into your brand as well as the competition. An unbiased outside opinion can help you identify the blind spots that you may not see because you’re too close to the brand.
The most important people to get input and feedback from before rebranding—your customers. Their opinions should be key to the decisions you make. You should take into consideration their needs, pain points, and the obstacles they face. Think about how your brand can help them solves these issues and use this process as a chance to make changes that will improve their relationship with the company.
Do Involve Every Department in the Process
It’s an easy trap to fall into—you assume that rebranding is a process undertaken solely by the marketing team. While the marketing team will be an integral part of the rebrand, you will do yourself a disservice if you silo the rebrand within a single team.
A successful rebrand requires input from the entire company. These are the people that interact with your brand and your customers on a daily basis. Imagine a customer service team working with no input from the sales team, or a design team that doesn’t collaborate with the marketing team. It’s a recipe for disaster.
To ensure your rebrand is effective and successful, utilize every department to provide insight on their areas of expertise.
Don’t Put Restrictions on the Brainstorming Process
When it comes to brainstorming, every idea is a good idea. It’s important to actively keep your brainstorming sessions open and avoid immediate judgment on other ideas. Rules and negative feedback can limit creativity and keep your team from fully exploring all the possible options.
Avoid putting unintentional limitations on brainstorming by removing as many restrictions as possible. Set meetings with open structures, and don’t be opposed to booking follow-up meetings to allow people more time if needed.
Do Approach Rebranding from a Holistic View
When people think “rebrand” the first thing that comes to mind is an updating your company logo. Famous logo changes such as Instagram, Airbnb, Uber and Google seem to distill rebranding down to re-imagining your logo design.
But a true rebrand is about so much more than that.
It is about redefining or renewing the commitment you’ve made to your customers and employees and examining how you stay true to that commitment as a company. Giving your brand a facelift isn’t going to result in the change you’re looking for—it will not change the perceptions of your team or the world at large, nor will it propel you towards your business goals.
Instead, approach your rebrand from every angle. How will your brand be repositioned? And how will that change be reflected in every aspect of what you do—from your customer service and website copy to your ads and social media channels, you need to plan how your rebrand will touch every aspect of your company.
Do Continue to Embody a Brand Personality
Brands are like people—we interact with them daily and often on a very personal level. We’ll defend brands with whom we align ourselves as quickly as we criticize those with whom we don’t see eye to eye. This is because, much like people, the best brands have their own personality.
Built out over time, a brand personality is the sum of the emotions and behaviors that a brand enacts consistently. The enactment of these characteristics is what allows customers to feel as though they know a brand personality.
If you’ve never heard of brand personality, or you aren’t sure what your brand’s personality is, a rebrand is a great opportunity to build one. Consider your target audience—who are they? what do they like?—and tailor your brand’s personality to them.
Alternatively, a rebrand can be a chance to look at your existing brand personality and evaluate what’s working and what’s missing the mark. If you aren’t reaching your target audience, it may be linked back to a brand personality that doesn’t speak to that demographic.
Don’t Become Absorbed in What the Competition is Doing
It is important to evaluate your competition’s branding and take it into consideration. It is equally, if not more, important to ensure that your competition doesn’t become too much of an influence on your decision-making process.
Developing a brand in response to your competition lacks credibility, and will negatively impact your brand’s personality. Stay true to who you are as a brand, while also finding a way to distinguish yourself from your competitors.
Do Plan a Strategic Brand Launch
Months of work go into rebranding. So when the time comes to share your rebrand with the world, a planned launch is key.
There are many ways to strategically launch a new brand—ads, press releases, social posts, events, marketing campaigns. But the most integral part of any brand launch is to frame it within a larger story. By making your launch part of a larger narrative, your transformation becomes more meaningful.
When Format rebranded in April 2017, they launched a series of marketing campaigns that built on their brand’s purpose. With the message of “Few can do what you do” the brand used different marketing tactics—from a quirky series of videos to a chatbot designed to diagnosis creativity—to create a story surrounding their rebrand.
Without a proper roll out, you’ll miss the opportunity to leverage the impact your rebrand may have in the industry. Take the time to plan a launch that speaks to your target audience to make it all worthwhile.
Don’t Launch Before Onboarding Your Team to the New Brand
Ensuring that your entire team understands the new brand before launch can make or break your rebrand. While this is especially important in customer-facing roles, it’s in your company’s best interest to have all team members well-versed in the new brand voice, tone and positioning as well as how their actions and words can reflect that positioning.
Do Move Forward with Consistency
Once you’ve launched your rebrand, the work doesn’t come to an end. You need to be prepared to continue maintaining your brand.
After launch, your team and your brand should continue to embody the values, tone and visual language developed during the rebranding process. Never think that your work is done—you should be continuously moving your brand forward.