After you’ve been in business for a few years, it’s natural to feel the need to change your brand up a bit.
Maybe you want to redesign your logo to make it more appealing to a new target demographic. Or maybe you want to start championing the latest issue that has everyone on the internet in an uproar with new social media banners and profile pictures, to show how current you are with the times.
The above strategies are great examples of evolutionary rebranding. But there’s a problem with approaching it this way. And that is that it’s not particularly effective at helping you meet certain goals.
For example, changing your logo to look more modern and trendier won’t necessarily make your brand more appealing to modern and trendy audiences. It may seem like the next logical step in your brand’s evolution, but to scale your consumer base and your revenue stream, you need to start thinking of rebranding as a revolution instead of an evolution.
If you’re wondering what that looks like, I explain it all in the following article, along with strategies to help you revolutionize your next rebranding campaign.
But first, let’s answer some fundamental questions.
Rebranding can mean many things, but the bottom line is that it’s a strategy that companies use when they want to change their public image.
How deep inside your company these changes go can vary. For example, you can change the design of your logo and stop there. But you can also go as far as changing the name of your brand, your brand values, logo, color scheme, and even your brand architecture, resulting in a total shift from top to bottom.
There are three types of rebranding: brand refresh, partial rebranding, and full rebranding.
- Brand Refresh
A brand refresh is when you update your branding to give it a fresh look, without making any major changes. For example, Apple has altered its logo several times over the past couple of decades, but it’s never altered its entire brand identity. It’s also never changed the focal point of its logo: the apple with a bite taken out of it.
- Partial Rebranding
When you want to change only a couple of elements of your brand, but not the whole kit and kaboodle, that’s called a partial rebranding. This is a step up from a refresh. You’re not just updating or tweaking what you already have, you’re redesigning and redirecting to change your brand image or identity. It’s not a full rebrand, though, because you’re leaving some elements the same as they were before.
- Full Rebranding
A full rebranding occurs when you take down your existing brand and start over from scratch. This may be an appropriate strategy to take after a merger or if you’re planning to pivot to selling a completely different product or service than previously.
There are several reasons why a company might decide to perform a rebranding.
Brands that are stuck in the past are the quickest to get left behind by the newest generation of consumers. If your brand image appears old and outdated, you may want to consider a refresh or a partial rebranding to keep up with the times.
Full rebranding typically occurs after two brands have merged into a single entity. Rather than market each brand separately or together, it’s often easier and more efficient (in the long run) to craft a single brand identity that represents both entities.
If you decide to sell a new product or service, a partial rebranding is typically in order. Sometimes you may even want to go as far as a full rebrand. One of the main deciding factors is whether or not the product or service you want to sell is in the same market as your current stock. If not, you may have to make some big changes to ensure you can actually market and make a profit off this new thing.
No brand ever wants to be cast in a bad light. But the fact is that business owners sometimes make mistakes. We can make decisions, personally as well as professionally, that put a shadow over the image we’ve striven so hard to cultivate as positive and trustworthy. When this or a similar scenario happens, and consumers refuse to buy from your brand anymore, a full rebrand is a viable last resort strategy to prevent your business from going under.
Shifting from selling to one demographic to another can be tricky. One way to make it easier is to do a partial rebrand. You’re not changing everything about your brand, you’re just updating certain elements – like your brand design and advertising tone – to appeal to a different group of people than before.
Let’s say a new competitor enters the market, and they are offering a new product or service that makes yours look old and dull by comparison. A rebrand is one strategy that you can use to refresh or change your image, so you can appeal to the consumer demographic that your competitor has taken away from you.
Now that you know the types of rebranding and some of the reasons why you may consider doing one for your own company, you must learn how to implement your rebrand successfully.
To accomplish this, you should stop looking at rebranding as an evolution. Instead, you should see it through the lens of a revolution.
Let me explain.
Evolution is a slow, gradual change that proceeds doggedly toward a predictable conclusion. A revolution, on the other hand, is an upheaval, a sudden upending of tired ideas and ways of thinking and doing things.
The latter will keep your brand vibrant and alive. But the former will cause it to stagnate and lose business to other, up-and-coming brands.
When you treat rebranding as a revolution, you’re not just concerned with updating your brand design to fit the times. You’re updating your entire infrastructure, from sales to marketing to customer support. You’re optimizing the way that your brand does business, embracing new ideas, and looking for ways to be more than what you are now while still retaining what made you great in the first place.
As an example, let’s use Apple iTunes. Before Spotify came onto the scene, iTunes had cornered the market in digital music listening. To get music, though, you had to purchase albums or individual tracks.
Enter Spotify, which offered a music streaming service where you could access an entire library of music online for a reasonable monthly fee. At this point, iTunes became outdated. Why buy individual tracks when you can listen to all the music you want for less than $15 a month?
In 2015, Apple launched Apple Music and pushed iTunes into the background. With the former service, they offered consumers the exact same streaming capabilities as Spotify, but optimized for Apple devices, which many people already owned.
Apple could have dug in their heels and not changed anything about iTunes. In other words, they could have mimicked Blockbuster when the movie rental brand refused to change to keep up with Netflix. Instead, Apple made a huge shift to adapt with the market.
Now, millions of people use Apple Music. By contrast, there’s only one Blockbuster left in the entire United States.
This is how you accomplish your rebranding goals: a systemic, revolutionary approach that moves your brand in a profitable direction.
Here are four strategies to use that can help you revolutionize your rebranding.
When you’re considering a rebrand, you need to develop both a story and a plan.
The story is for explaining to your staff, your board, your shareholders, and your customers why this rebrand is necessary and what you hope to accomplish with it. The plan will map out all the changes you intend to make with the rebrand, who will be affected, and how and when it will all roll out.
Creating a story and a plan will allow you to see the extent of your revolution and coordinate the logistics of making it happen smoothly.
You can’t have a revolution without people carrying it out. With that in mind, whether your rebrand is big or small, make sure you keep your staff in the loop.
This could mean sharing the new logo with them a few weeks before the prescribed launch date; putting them through training to transition to a new, merged brand; or guiding them through your new brand values and how that affects their interactions with customers.
Those are just suggestions, but the point is that you should never leave your employees in the dark when you’re undergoing a rebrand. Otherwise, you’re setting them up to make a lot of mistakes that will ultimately reflect badly on you.
Your customers should be aware that you’re performing a rebrand, especially if you’re making some major changes. Get them excited, too, so that they continue to remain loyal to your company. Emphasize the benefits they will receive after the brand relaunches, while simultaneously reassuring them that all the things they love will remain fundamentally the same.
Your brand relaunch will be the most critical event of the entire rebranding process. This is the day you show the world all the changes you’ve been working on.
As such, the coordination between your departments – marketing, sales, customer support, social media, design, R&D – needs to be on point. Otherwise, you could incur some major slip ups. One social media account could post the new logo before the others are ready, or your website could launch before all the new products have been uploaded into the online catalog. Depending on the mistake, it could be a disaster for your new brand image.
If, however, you plan everything out and allow a little wiggle room, your rebranding revolution will go much smoother and land much better with your customers.
Viewing rebranding as a revolution rather than as an evolution will help you get the most out of the shift. Not only will it give you the opportunity to revitalize your brand to appeal to new customers, but it will also help you scale your business while maintaining your presence in the marketplace.
Rebranding is fun. Mozilla in the 2000s rebranded a popular upcoming search engine. China, in the 90s rebranded a nation. In the 2010s, I successfully rebranded a b2c gaming brand to a b2b offering, pivoting around the product.
I am currently rebranding one of our Fintech payments sites this New Year, and it already is going great guns. I can easily now focus on scale over spread and prioritize high-impact businesses first. I am re-positioning and redefining my brand’s personality. When you haven’t got it all right the first time around, you go and create that rebranding revolution.
Related Read: Key Elements Of Brand Building And Brand Loyalty