Rebranding is a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal that can help you reintroduce your brand to both loyal and potential new customers, reposition yourself in the market landscape, and keep your company relevant and fresh in the minds of consumers.
Whether you’re planning on a major overhaul that sees you completely revamp your brand identity, or you’re envisioning slight tweaks to your logo, company colors, and brand voice, embracing change is critical for ensuring that your business moves forward with the times and evolving customer preferences. Seasonal rebranding, which sees your business launch its new look at the end of the year, can help you maximize your holiday marketing campaigns.
Here’s what you need to know about successful rebranding for your business to reach new audiences and optimize your market impact.
What’s on this page
What is rebranding?
Rebranding is a catch-all term that refers to a decision to revamp a company’s brand identity, which typically includes visual aspects, such as its logo, colors, typography, website, and product images. However, rebranding often means more than an aesthetic change – it can cover a new brand voice, messaging, pain points, and other fundamentals that demonstrate a business’ value proposition for its clients and customers.
What is the purpose of rebranding?
There are a number of reasons why rebranding a business may be a necessary step. From getting a leg up on your competitors to communicating changes within your venture, rebranding is critical for making sure that your audience, competitors, and existing customers understand exactly who your company is, why they should care, and how you can bring them value.
1. Gain a competitive edge
One popular reason that businesses embrace company rebranding is to stand out from the pack in a crowded market. An eye-popping visual aesthetic, replete with clever or irreverent messaging on your site’s home page, can help you shine when reaching out to customers who are overwhelmed by multiple options in your industry.
Beyond the visual changes that come with rebranding, you can use your rebrand to more clearly and obviously communicate your company’s differentiators from competitors. A smart rebranding strategy will focus on your business’ strongest points and promote them, from both an aesthetic and messaging standpoint.
2. Your business has evolved
It’s likely that your company, its offerings, and its value for customers have changed since the initial launch. If your company has merged with or acquired a new enterprise, a rebrand can demonstrate this major change to the public.
It’s incredibly important that your branding accurately reflects your services and company values, so it’s a good idea to periodically update your branding. Rebranding products is also a great way to better express the benefits of your offerings to your audience, as well as make them more appealing to consumers unfamiliar with your business.
3. Reposition according to new goals and markets
If you’ve switched up your core operational strategy and functions – for example, switching from a B2B to a B2C model – or made dramatic changes to your core products or services, a rebrand is a critical move. The same goes for if you’ve decided to pivot and are now focused on a new sector or industry; you need a branding that’s specifically suited to your space.
When is it time to rebrand?
The answer to this question will be different for every company, depending on that business’s unique needs and market standing. But as a general rule of thumb, if your messaging is no longer accurately expressing what you’re offering to your customers, ownership or the composition of your business has changed due to a merger or acquisition, or your branding feels irrelevant, stale, and that it doesn’t resonate with modern consumers, it’s probably time to consider rebranding your business.
8 steps to rebranding a company
These steps can help you achieve an effective, powerful rebrand that will refresh interest and raise awareness around your company.
1. Identify your audience
Before committing to a new look or voice, it’s crucial that you figure out exactly who you’re speaking to and whose eyeballs you want on your brand. If you’re reaching out to a new geographic audience in a different country, market research is key to understanding what visuals and graphics will resonate with your target market.
Likewise, if you’ve pivoted your business model to focus on a new sector or industry, you need to understand the market landscape and branding used by your competitors in that space. Once you know who you’re attempting to reach and what branding is more likely to interest them, you can make smarter decisions and create an effective rebranding plan.
2. Ensure that you’re aligned on brand identity and core values
This is the time to buckle down and take stock of whether your current branding demonstrates what matters most to your company. If one of your strongest selling points is decades of experience and a classic approach towards customer service and your offerings, funky typography, eye-popping bright colors, and an ironic voice likely won’t be the right fit.
During this phase, it’s crucial that stakeholders and decision-makers sit down and hash out precisely the pain points and messages that you want to express to your existing customers and new audiences. Your whole team must be in agreement on core values and brand identity in order for your rebranding effort to be successful.
3. Analyze what’s working and what isn’t
Before rushing into a dramatic overhaul and scrapping the branding that your company has used for years and is familiar to your customers, you should conduct extensive research. An educated decision about what changes to make is key.
Rebranding your logo and producing something entirely new from scratch can potentially be the wrong decision, should it render your company unrecognizable to your clients and people who are already aware of the brand.
Mind the “little” details
Small changes, like capitalization, slight color tweaks, and using different shapes with your traditional wording and tagline, can have a big impact. Conversely, if you find that your current branding – perhaps created when your company was first launched and had a smaller budget for design and branding – isn’t cutting it, this is the ideal to start over and create something brilliant.
There’s a reason why startup rebranding is so common. Oftentimes, a company’s mission or target audience changes as the business grows to scale. Make sure that your business’s current value proposition is clear in your branding.
4. Get creative and have fun
Effective corporate rebranding can mean thinking outside of the box and expressing your brand identity in an imaginative, unexpected way. While those in more traditional and regulated industries – such as finance, insurance, and law – might feel like they need to stick to more conventional branding, there’s still wiggle room to show some personality and create a distinctive voice and visuals for your business.
5. Look to the future and long-term shifts
While you definitely want your rebranding design to be relevant in terms of what’s trending in the modern landscape, you should ultimately choose a look and voice that have staying power. It’s a tough balance to strike, but you need to find a rebranding design that is fresh and up-to-date, yet isn’t overly “of the moment.” Beware of embracing visuals or a voice that will seem dated a decade from now.
You can also identify and follow trends that have emerged in your industry in recent years, given that they’re part of a sector-wide shift in how companies brand themselves and relate to their customers For example, the person-first brand identity of many tech companies, which includes both friendly visual design and a casual voice, shows no signs of going away anytime soon.
6. Consider retaining rebranding experts
While you may have awesome marketing and graphic design teams within your company, a large-scale rebrand could require you to recruit external professionals who provide rebranding services. They can give you expert guidance on choosing the right rebranding design for your organization, the ideal timing for your rebranding launch, and other aspects of rolling out your new aesthetics and messaging for the best possible results.
7. Fully commit to the launch, including a comprehensive plan
Casually unveiling your new look one day is not going to be enough to create buzz and excitement around your company. Successful rebranding requires a plan of action beforehand, which sees you engage with your existing and potential customers and hint about the rebranding before it officially launches.
That could look like social media campaigns teasing your followers that something big or new is coming, creating a video reintroducing your company to the world, or even recruiting influencers in your space to help you unveil your rebranding.
Ensuring that the public is aware that important news about your company is on the horizon increases the likelihood that your rebranding will make a bigger impact.
8. Don’t forget about internal branding
Rolling out a rebrand means making sure that everyone in your organization is on board with your new look. That means crossing all your T’s and dotting your I’s, down to email signatures.
This often-overlooked aspect of branding is actually a very important one – when you’re sending emails to existing clients, vendors, or industry colleagues outside of your company, your email signature should include the most up-to-date logo and typography of your business.
Branded email signature example
This visual reminder to both staff and external contacts is critical for establishing your brand’s new identity. Don’t forget to review all your brand collateral materials, such as brochures, product descriptions, business cards, and stationery, to make sure that they’re in line with your rebranding.
Create a free branded email signature with the WiseStamp signature generator
How to avoid common rebranding mistakes
There are some common errors that can see your rebranding effort to fall flat. Here’s how to ensure that your rebrand has the best possible impact on your business.
- Generally speaking, the worst rebrands are ones without a clear, unified message and no overall sense of continuity or purpose. Sometimes this happens to organizations that are failing or stagnant, and who launch a rebrand as a last-ditch effort without properly thinking about what they’re trying to achieve or what they want to communicate.
- Rebrandings go wrong when decision-makers at the company aren’t in agreement about their vision for the updated brand identity. Understanding what messaging, pain points and personality should be front and center, as well as what aspects of the old branding should remain in place, is crucial.
- Impulsively rebranding without a solid, months-long plan in place for your new launch, is bound to end in disappointment. Be sure to set aside the time to prepare for your rebranding debut, including rolling out your rebranding internally, building hype ahead of the launch, and market research to confirm that your new branding will resonate with your existing and potential customers.
When is rebranding a bad idea?
The old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” definitely applies here. Think about the classic, catchy McDonald’s’ tagline: “I’m loving it.” It’s been in use for decades and evokes instant brand recognition among its customers.
Should McDonald’s abruptly decide to change their tagline, they would likely experience backlash and bewilderment from the public. If your current branding is serving your company well, change for the sake of change could be the wrong move.
Timing is extremely important when it comes to rebranding. If you’ve rebranded within the last few years, you may want to wait before once again rolling out a new look to avoid confusing and frustrating your customers. Too many rebrands in a short time period can turn off consumers and cause the public to struggle to recognize or identify your business.
6 amazing rebrand examples
Thanks to their creativity, respectful nods to the past and company legacy, and imaginative reinterpretation of their brand identities, these are the best rebrands we’ve seen in recent years.
1. Burger King
This fast food giant decided to go old school in its 2021 rebranding, reintroducing a slightly tweaked version of its pre-1999 logo. Featuring bold red letters, placed between hamburger buns, the Burger King logo is easy to understand and evokes a sense of nostalgia among customers who remember the original logo used during the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
The American car brand has stayed strong throughout its decades on the market, but its luxury factor has been overlooked in recent years by alternatives from Europe and Asia. In order to push its image as a premier-class, luxury carmaker, Cadillac rolled out a new, sleek logo that incorporated the instantly-recognizable checkered features from its original logo, in an elevated package.
Mastercard’s iconic logo features two overlapping red and orange circles, and the company wisely decided to keep this distinctive aspect of its logo when rebranding. Because the geometric shapes instantly call to mind the Mastercard brand, the company decided to drop the wording from its logo. The result is a streamlined logo which still has powerful brand recognition.
British luxury fashion brand Burberry has been in business since 1856, and is known for its classic, timeless design. Burberry kept its straightforward, traditional look in its new branding, by incorporating classic shapes and a bold font, while incorporating eye-catching yet understated orange, red, and white geometric patterns featured on its website.
One of the most popular workplace instant messaging applications, Slack is a staple of workday operations for millions of people. After using the same logo and branding since its founding in 2013, Slack rolled out a new logo and icon that better expressed what the company actually does – enable lightning-fast communication between people. The new logo features a series of speech bubbles, an easy-to-understand demonstration of the value of the app.
6. Pizza Hut
An iconic fast food chain that’s been a major player in the American pizza market for decades, Pizza Hut’s recent rebranding came after a failed rebranding which occurred in 2009. Back then, Pizza Hut dropped the word “Pizza” from its branding, sparking backlash and confusion from consumers.
The company learned from that mistake, and this time around, decided to reintroduce a slightly refreshed version of their well-known original logo, featuring the words “Pizza Hut” in clear script under a red roof.
Rebranding announcement examples
A rebranding announcement is a perfect opportunity to promote the new image or brand message and help to make sure that everyone is fully onboard. A rebranding announcement can be communicated in a number of ways, including a press release, social media posts, or an event. Each approach will reach a different audience, so it’s important to select the best option for your business.
Example 1: Press Release
A press release is a traditional method of announcing a rebranding and can be a simple and effective way to reach journalists and influencers. The key to a successful press release is to keep the content short and to the point.
When writing a press release, it’s important to remember that the journalist wants to be able to write the article as soon as they have finished reading your press release.
A suggested format for a rebranding press release is an Introduction:
This should include a sentence about the rebranding and visual identity of the company. Body: The body should include a sentence about the product or service and one sentence about the brand. Conclusion: The conclusion should summarize the key points from the body of the press release. Press releases are usually sent by email, but it’s also worth sending it by post to increase the chances of it being published. It’s also worth contacting the PR team at the relevant publications to tell them about the rebranding and see if they would like to publish it.
Example 2: Social Media Blitz
Social media can be an effective way to announce a rebranding and reach a large audience. It’s important to use the right channels, so they are most effective in reaching your audience. A rebranding on social media should be informative and show the new identity of the business. It’s important to choose the right channels, so you can reach the right audience.
For example, a rebranding announcement on Instagram should be visual, whereas Twitter is better suited to short, snappy messages.
It’s worth creating a visual rebranding announcement to post on all channels. This can be a short video clip or slideshow, as well as a range of still images. It’s best to use a consistent vision throughout the rebranding announcement so that the same style is used across all channels. It’s also worth linking each channel to the others, so there is some crossover between channels.
Example 3: Public Event
A public event is a great way to announce a rebranding and it can help to create a buzz around the rebranding announcement. It’s important to choose an event that is relevant to the business and that will help to generate coverage.
Host the event in an interesting location, if possible. It’s worth creating a short video clip or slideshow that can be used to promote the event.
This can be posted on social media, used in emails, and even shared on the event’s website. invite journalists to the event, as well as key influencers within the industry. It’s also worth inviting customers, so they can get the first look at the new brand.
Host a short event and make it interesting, so it gets coverage in the media.
Example 4: Video Announcement
A video announcement can be a great way to introduce the new brand or visual identity of a business. Keep the video short and simple, so it’s easy to understand.
Create a video that shows the new logo but also highlights the brand promise and the benefits of the product or service.
Share the video on social media and ask your followers to help spread the word by sharing it with their friends.
It’s also worth submitting the video to relevant websites, such as industry websites and blogs, so it can be shared with a wider audience.
Example 5: Integrated Campaign
An integrated campaign can be an effective way to announce a rebranding.
It’s important to choose a campaign that works with the new brand and generates enough coverage to make the rebranding announcement worthwhile.
It’s worth hosting an event or creating an online campaign, such as a website redesign, to announce the rebranding.
Involving key influencers and customers to help make the most of the campaign. It’s important to have the new brand consistently throughout the campaign, so it’s easy to associate the new brand with the campaign.
How to promote your new brand
Your promotion strategy for rebranding should revolve around storytelling. Think about your rebrand as an exciting event that requires build-up before the big day when you reintroduce your company to the world. Like a “save the date” card before a wedding invitation, you should leverage teasers to intrigue your customers and target audiences before launching your rebrand.
Consider creating a video that explains your rebranding story and reasons for change. Rebrand your website, email signatures, all promotional images, and company collateral so that there’s consistency across the board.
Ahead of your rebranding launch, you should create a press kit that can be downloaded by the media and others interested in your new look. Leverage all your social media channels for both the build-up phase and the official launch day announcement.
I’m ready to rebrand. Now what?
If you’ve decided to move forward with rebranding, congratulations! Refreshing your brand identity and reintroducing yourself to your existing customers and new audiences alike can bring a renewed sense of interest to your brand that results in stronger sales and a strengthened position in the market.
The keys to reaping the benefits of a rebrand are proper planning, a clear vision for your new brand identity, and a deep understanding of your goals and what success looks like for your business.
Taking the time to make sure that all decision makers and stakeholders are aligned regarding your pain points, messaging, voice, and visuals is critical. With the right research, planning, and strategy, your rebrand has the potential to take your brand’s sales and reputation to new heights.