5 signs it’s time to rebrand

No company rebrand should be undertaken lightly. Done properly, a rebrand is a time consuming endeavour that comes at a fair financial cost. However, if entered into for the correct reasons, a decent rebrand can revitalise a business and help secure its long term future.

Remember, a brand is more than just a name and logo. A true rebrand signifies a fundamental change in the message that the company wishes to convey. In tandem with any cosmetic uplift, customers will expect a change in the business itself. This move can vary from a change in product focus to an expansion into new overseas markets. Whatever it is, it should be made clear in any publicity surrounding the rebrand. Customers are wary of change. Let them know why.

To help you with the big decision, we’ve put together five signs that you should be considering a rebrand. 

“I’m changing my product/service and want people to know”

Businesses are constantly evolving. It is not unusual for a company to seek a rebrand because their initial product or service is no longer the sole or main focus of their business. A famous example of this would be Apple. The company began as Apple Computers Inc. before rebranding to Apple Inc. 1997. There was no longer the limitation of ‘computers’ and so the transition to producing phones and music devices felt more comfortable. This strategic change was visually reflected in the new logo design, with the rainbow colours of the signature apple turning to cool silver.

“I want to appeal to a new market”

An ambitious business will always be thinking about expanding and appealing to new markets. These additional markets may be a new customer demographic in the country of origin or a new country all together. A strong brand may be able to make a location specific name work e.g. Kentucky Fried Chicken, but you can also choose to rebrand, removing the location detail if it feels stifling. When expanding overseas there is occasionally a need to change a brand name due to language differences or the presence of a clashing established brand. For example, the Proctor & Gamble cleaning brand Mr. Clean is translated universally except for in the UK where it is known as Flash. The name had already been taken when P&G looked to expand. A similar issue faced Burger King in Australia where the brand is now known as Hungry Jack’s.

“I want to modernise my website”

Brands that have been around for a while eventually run the risk of becoming outdated. Sometimes a spruce up is needed. A recent example of this would be when Instagram announced its new logo and redesign. It controversially overhauled its iconic, retro-looking camera in favour of a sleeker, simpler, multi-coloured gradient version. However, the rebrand drew criticism for straying too far from the original design and being too generic. Remember, familiarity and a distinctive personality is crucial for retaining customers. A more successful modernisation was undertaken by Starbuck’s in 2011. The brand had become distinctive enough that the name was no longer needed in the logo to be recognisable. Also, the word ‘coffee’ didn’t accurately describe its widening business interests. They thus slimmed down the logo to give a more modern feel whilst retaining the original siren image for familiarity. The logo redesign was complemented by the removal of heavy mugs from the stores, replaced by bone china ones to appeal to more sophisticated customers and a commitment to re-styling stores. The rebrand received generally positive feedback from customers.

“My brand is merging”

Businesses merge and that brings challenges. Ideally, the two brands will retain as much of their customer base as possible and that means remaining familiar in some way. Customer loyalty is essential to a brand’s longevity and should not be overlooked during the merge process. Publicity is key in the merge scenario. Avoid confusion by strongly announcing the rebrand e.g. a grand re-opening. Beware of sending mixed messages though! If the two brands cater to very different markets it may in fact be better to simply operate the two separately under their established names.

“My brand is being sued”

It’s unfortunate but occasionally companies can find themselves subject to legal challenges regarding their brands. Competitors may feel that your brand is too similar to theirs and thus an infringement. You can of course fight such challenges but is it really worth it? If the brand is similar enough to warrant a legal challenge, it may mean that you aren’t distinguishing yourself enough and embracing a niche. It is likely more worthwhile to spend the money put aside for legal fees on a rebrand, making yourself distinctive.


 Brand Development Checklist Download

Written by Charlotte Green November of 2016