The Ultimate Rebranding Strategy Guide
Companies built to last for years to come need to be able to change with the times. More often than not, that means rebranding.
Rebranding is the art of revitalizing, revising, or redoing your brand wholesale depending on your needs, market conditions, and past reputation. Because rebranding is such an in-depth adjustment to your company’s aesthetic, values, and even offered products, it’s important to have an excellent rebranding strategy ready to go before you start making any big changes.
Don’t know where to start? This ultimate rebranding strategy guide will break down everything you need to know about analyzing, beginning, and following through with a rebranding operation. Let’s begin.
Why Rebrand At All?
When you “rebrand” your company, you essentially revise or refresh your brand itself. If your brand is the expectations and relationships your customers have to your company and its offerings, rebranding yourself means deliberately shifting those expectations and relationships in the pursuit of one or more goals.
Since rebranding is such a dramatic shift for what your company means, why do it? There are a number of reasons why rebranding might be necessary or desirable:
- If your company merges with another, you’ll likely need to rebrand to at least some extent to make sure that both of your brands align with one another. Sometimes this involves combining logos and names or coming up with totally new marketing campaigns, so you ensure that you capture the existing customers from both companies.
- If your company is being sold, you may also need to rebrand or refresh your company’s theme. This is extremely likely since, after being acquired, your services and products will probably be changed in order to better fit the brand of your new parent company.
- If you want to target a new audience, you’ll need to rebrand yourself for future marketing campaigns and product offerings to actually draw in your ideal consumers.
- If your brand has a bad company image, whether due to an unlucky prior event or poor marketing in the past, it may be time for a brand refresh. Rebranding yourself can help to salvage your company’s reputation, even in drastic cases. People love a redemption story.
Why Do You Need a Rebranding Strategy?
With any complex marketing or customer relations operation, it’s smart to have a game plan in place before you start making big moves. A rebranding strategy can help you deliberately re-create or renew expectations and relationships with your customers and ultimately lead to better results than if you make choices day by day and don’t have a solid outline.
Furthermore, poor rebranding can destroy your company much more quickly and completely than many other big adjustments. If you want your branding to be successful and not lead to catastrophic customer drop off, you’ll need to make sure that your rebranding efforts pay off immediately. This is doubly true if you want to retain some or most of your existing customer base, even as you pursue new customers.
With all this in mind, let’s take a deeper look at rebranding types and strategies you can implement.
Technically, you can rebrand yourself in far too many ways to categorize. But there are three broad types of rebranding campaigns. Let’s break them down one by one.
A total rebranding is exactly what it sounds like: rebuilding your brand from the ground up. This may involve keeping little to none of your previous brand identity, up to and including your company name, logo, and even your color scheme.
Fully restarting your brand is costly and may take a lot of time. But it can help you recover from particularly bad PR or help you capture a new market if you’ve decided to change industries but want to keep some of your existing infrastructure or customer base.
A full brand restart also usually involves changing the products that you sell, oftentimes with the help of a private label design agency. Again, this can be costly and risky, so only pursue fully redoing your brand if there are no other options.
A brand refresh is less severe and is best thought of as a way to revitalize your brand’s relevancy in your industry. Sometimes companies fall by the wayside and don’t adapt quickly enough to match the progress made by competitors.
In such cases, a brand refresh can emphasize your visual identity and reestablish your uniqueness relative to your competitors. This is also a great strategy for helping your brand stay updated with modern goals and objectives, as well as shifting consumer tastes.
A brand merger is only necessary when your company is acquired by another or when you partner with another company. Brand mergers are complex operations that involve blending two existing brands as seamlessly as possible in an attempt to capture existing traffic or customers from both prior separate companies.
Rebranding Your Company, Step-by-Step
Now that you know the basics of rebranding, let’s break down how you can rebrand your company in a step-by-step way.
Curate/Re-Establish Your Brand’s Market or Target Audience
First, prioritize developing, capturing, or reestablishing the audience and market that your brand is designed to target. This will necessarily involve a lot of market research so you can determine who you want to prioritize and how best your brand can reflect your target demographic.
After establishing your brand’s market, you can then start working on practical ways to attract those consumers.
Redefine Brand Mission, Values, and Vision
During rebranding, you’ll likely need to redo your mission statement, as well as your stated values and overall company mission.
For example, a company that previously used unethical manufacturing processes to create its cars might decide to rebrand itself as an eco-friendly organization dedicated to doing moral business. Such a company would have to redefine its mission and stated values, plus include the focus on eco-friendliness in its company vision.
This might involve changing certain company practices, design standards, and more.
Consider Renaming Your Company
As a side note, if you’re doing a full rebrand, you might consider renaming your company to leave any existing baggage behind. This can be useful when you are trying to keep the infrastructure and some of the captured market from your prior brand but don’t want people to associate your new brand identity with past mistakes.
Redo Your Brand’s Slogan
Regardless, you’ll almost always redo your brand’s slogan, as it’s one of the most identifiable and telling aspects of your company as a whole. Your new slogan should reflect your new brand identity and focus as well as possible while also being somewhat similar to your previous brand slogan.
By straddling the line between a totally new slogan and one that harkens back to your old message, you’ll hopefully capture your old traffic and draw in new customers at the same time.
Rebuild Practical Aspects of Brand Identity
Next are all the detailed aspects of rebuilding your company’s brand. These practical components may take some time to assemble or get right, and you should spend just as much time and energy here as you did when coming up with your brand initially.
Your company logo may need to be redesigned. As with your company slogan, it may be smart to keep it reminiscent of or connected to your previous logo so that existing and loyal customers don’t confuse your new brand with a different company and retain the loyalty they already feel.
Similarly, adjusting your brand’s color palette is one of the best ways to mark a big change within your company. Humans are visual beings first and foremost, and changing the thematic colors that represent your organization can send a clearer message than almost any other aspect of your brand’s overall theme or aesthetic.
Consider changing your typography with any written materials or marketing products that get sent out to existing or new customers. Typography is another visual part of your brand’s overall identity, and changing it could help send the message that your company is now revitalized for the modern market.
Lastly, be sure to spend plenty of time considering what products and services you’ll offer under your rebranded identity. This may involve hiring private label manufacturers like Harper+Scott to create new products with your branded iconography, or it may involve changing the industry you provide products for entirely.
In the end, rebranding is a dramatic but oftentimes necessary process for businesses that want to last for decades as the market shifts and consumer interests fluctuate. Rebranding isn’t necessarily a failure – it’s much better to think of it as an evolution of your company as it continues to grow and thrive.
Need some help? The experts at Harper+Scott are ready to help with rebranding if you need private-label merchandise for your new brand. Contact us today and see how we can help you!