Navigating a successful rebrand
Mita Srinivasan
10x Industry

Navigating a successful rebrand

There are plenty of excellent company rebrand stories out there, from Dunkin (without the Donuts) to Burger King and LEGO. The key is developing a comprehensive, carefully managed strategy, underpinned by an effective communications plan designed to share the news with your customers, explains Lucy Bradley, Brand Commander at Plug Communications in this exclusive piece to SME10x.

Your brand is your business identity, an embodiment of the image you want to portray to the world. It is strongly linked to how positively or negatively your company is perceived, making it one of your most valuable assets. This visual representation can feel very personal, but just as the market evolves, keep in mind that your brand image may need to evolve to stay memorable for all the right reasons.

Some of the signs that it’s time for a new direction might include:

  • The logo looks dated - design styles change rapidly, meaning that a logo produced in the early 2000s will be easy to spot. If you want your company to maintain a contemporary (read competitive) edge, your logo is the first place to start. Home-made logos or those made using logo generator software are common in the start-up sphere; however, the problem with generic rather than custom logos is that your business will get lost in a sea of similar designs. A professional eye can always take what you’ve done and enhance it – for legibility, sophistication, and versatility. When looking at a re-design, remember to avoid anything overly intricate. You need it to work in black and white, small or large format while remaining recognisable.

  • You’ve outgrown your brand - if your logo includes icons that reflect specific services that are no longer relevant, it needs to transition in line with your offering. You might be up to speed with what you do, but consumers won’t keep up unless you tell them. The same with a new name or a different strategic direction; it’s an obvious move to modify the logo, but why not think beyond that and see it as an opportunity for a fresh approach all-round. In business, what you are today, and, more importantly, what you aspire to be tomorrow, is likely to be different from the brand you once were.

  • Your audience wants different things – when your core audience has changed or is rapidly changing, be aware that your current positioning could stop resonating with them. You might start to be seen as dull, uninspiring and outdated, especially compared to the competition. This is the time to step back and really understand your customer base: what are they looking for, what do they care about, and what problems can you help them solve? Once you have a clear understanding of their current needs, consider how you can capture that with your brand personality.

Challenges associated with change

There are many reasons you might decide to update your corporate image, and it’s a strategic move that should be taken seriously. As well as offering new possibilities to attract customers and build loyalty, there are risks involved if you don’t give the project the time and attention it deserves. A lot of companies are looking to alter perceptions out there in the market - perhaps your look no longer appeals to the target demographic, or you may be trying to rebuild your reputation after a rise in negative opinions. Either way, an education exercise needs to happen so that your customers are part of the journey. Keep communicating with them, maintaining clear and consistent messaging that explains the reasons and why it was the right time for the shift across all of your chosen channels. If there are issues to resolve, acknowledge them alongside establishing a new path forward. People’s previous knowledge and biases won’t transform overnight but suddenly unveiling a different look without proper communication will only raise more questions, creating scepticism and confusion.

Depending on your motivations and budget, rebranding doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul. The chances are that your previous identity has at least some elements that could carry over, and retaining a colour scheme or other design elements, for example, helps ease the transition for an audience that has difficulty changing gears. A new look should be reflected across all of your assets, though. Customers shouldn’t see a different look on your website than your social pages, business cards, and email signature.

As with any major project, it’s always preferable to work with professionals who can guide you through the process and ensure that you maximise the investment by getting it right the first time. When you do choose a provider, try to meet them face-to-face, and come armed with as detailed a brief as possible. Be clear about your objectives, your vision, what you (and your customers) like, and what inspires you.

There are plenty of excellent company rebrand stories out there, from Dunkin (without the Donuts) to Burger King and LEGO. The key is developing a comprehensive, carefully managed strategy, underpinned by an effective communications plan designed to share the news with your customers.

About the author:

Lucy Bradley has been the Brand Commander of Plug for 15 years. She is passionate about design and helping companies grow, making it her mission to educate business owners and marketing departments on creating successful marketing plans and retaining customers.