There is no doubt that rebranding is an art-form, and one that is exceptionally difficult to master.
The challenges of rebranding have been borne out by previous failures, such as Animal Planet’s forlorn design efforts back in 2008. As you can see below, the brand took a familiar and iconic logo and ruined this with atrocious typography and a significant deviation from the accepted colour palette, without seeming to have a clear indication of what they were trying to achieve.
This should highlight the potential pitfalls of rebranding, and encourage brands to think long and hard before they look to revise their visual identity.
In this post, we will take a look at the accepted dos and don’ts of rebranding, while providing a brief guide on how to successfully revitalise your brand’s identity.
DO justify your reasons for rebranding
Not only can rebranding have a huge impact on your future business, but it also represents a significant cost. It is therefore crucial that you identify justifiable reasons for change, while also establishing a clear set of core objectives. It is also important to question yourself and your decisions at every stage of the process, as this will help you to decide whether or you need to pursue a full rebrand or simply alter individual elements of your business. This will help you to think strategically and avoid making costly mistakes.
DON’T focus on simply changing colours, logos and typography
Conversely, you should never focus your rebranding efforts on the redesign of colours, logo and typography. Even if such minor amendments to the visual identity of your brand are necessary, they should not be confused with a strategic rebrand that marks a fundamental shift in your business model or proposition. Similarly, redesigning your entire brand simply to incorporate cosmetic changes should be avoided at all costs, as this will most likely cause confusion among your existing customers.
This is a mistake that even iconic brands such as Pepsi have made down the years, spending millions of pounds while making minor and often pointless changes to their visual identity.
DO assess exactly what needs to change
If you do decide to rebrand your venture, it is important to evaluate exactly what needs to change for you to achieve your goals. This is part of a clear and strategically-focused mind-set, and one that breaks down the process of rebranding into single, manageable and well thought-out steps. This approach also encourages you to think about every conceivable aspect of your business, helping you to strike the ideal balance between improving your brand proposition and maintaining loyalty among existing customers.
DON’T become preoccupied with your competition
As you can see, successful rebranding requires you to focus on your own business model and consumer base. Although you never want to alter your brand so that it begins to mirror that of your rivals, you should not become obsessed with the competition and begin to base your decisions on their actions. Ultimately, you new brand proposition must be designed with your commercial objectives and customer needs in mind, as this will help to ensure that you remain focused and achieve longer-term success.
DO solicit the opinion of your employees before rebranding
For any company rebrand to be successful, it must be understood and implemented at every level of the business. This ensures that all customer facing representatives are immersed in the new brand values, and able to communicate these directly to loyal consumers. It is also crucial that your employees buy into the new brand proposition, which is why you should immerse these individuals in the process and actively encourage them to share their ideas. This can also boost engagement, as it identifies even entry-level employees as key components within the business.
DON’T forget your customers
Often, the purpose of a rebrand is to reposition your business and successfully target new customer segments. This should not come at the expense of your existing customers, however, so it important that you reach out to loyal patrons and garner their insight on the current brand and your proposed changes. Remember, it is five times more expensive to acquire new customers than retain existing ones, so inviting them to share their own opinions can help you to save money and complete a more accurate redesign.
While rebranding is different in every given scenario, this general guide should at least help you to recognise pitfalls and make informed decisions. Above all else, it should empower you to think strategically about your rebranding plans and determine precisely what is required to take your business onto a whole new level.