Planning a Rebrand: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Whether your brand requires a simple refresh to bring it up-to-date or a complete overhaul to totally transform it, a rebrand could be hugely beneficial to your business. But where on earth do you start? To make your job easier we’ve pulled together our top rebranding tips into this 7-step, quick reference guide...
Planning a Rebrand: Your Step-by-Step Guide

‘Rebrand’ is a slightly contentious word.

Some people will argue there is no such thing, due to the fact that so much about ‘brand’ involves peoples’ feelings, which you or I don’t have complete control over. And yet many of us, especially in the wonderful world of design and marketing, talk about ‘rebrands’ and ‘rebranding’ all the time.

“So how can this be?” you’re probably thinking, “Either a rebrand exists or it doesn’t!”

The debate around this topic is a subject for another article. For the purpose of what we’re discussing here, we’ll use the most commonly held definition for a rebrand, which is this:

Strategic changes made to the visual identity of a company in view of influencing stakeholders’ perceptions of the organisation and its products or services.

Virtually all of the biggest and most successful companies in the world today (think Microsoft, Apple, Coca-Cola etc.) have either undergone multiple rebrands in their lifetime or have gradually evolved their brand over the course of many years in order to stay current and aligned with their customers’ needs.

So, whether your brand requires a simple refresh to bring it up-to-date (like Freeway’s branding development) or a complete overhaul to totally transform it (like Cortec’s new name and logo), a rebrand could be hugely beneficial to your business.

But where on earth do you start? Rebranding can feel overwhelming – after all, it’s your business and (hopefully) its hard-earned reputation for excellence that you’re meddling with here!

Take courage, because you’re not the first person to be faced with this – and you sure won’t be the last. To make your job easier we’ve pulled together our top rebranding tips into this 7-step, quick reference guide:

1) Be crystal clear on your reason(s) for rebranding
When embarking on any design project, a clear creative brief is essential, and rebranding is no exception. Think carefully about what you’re looking to achieve through undertaking a rebrand, because change for the sake of change is rarely a good thing.

Some good reasons for considering a rebrand are as follows:

  • Your current brand image is tired or outdated
  • You’re renaming and/or merging with another company
  • Your product range or service offerings are expanding
  • You’re going global and need a brand to match your ambitions
  • You want to eradicate negative associations with your current brand

Whatever your reason for rebranding, one thing’s for sure – knowing your ‘why’ will provide a laser-like focus throughout your rebrand project, which will help to ensure a successful outcome.

2) Consider it from a customer’s perspective
Let’s face it, your customers don’t really care if your company has a snazzy new look – all they’re interested in is how it’s of benefit to them. Sure, everyone likes to be associated with a progressive, forward-thinking organisation that is dedicated to staying up-to-date and relevant but keep in mind that just because you’re fed up with your current logo, it doesn’t necessarily mean your customers are too. Also, remember that when your visual identity changes, it requires effort on the part of your customers to readjust to your new brand, so try to put yourself in their shoes and ask the question they’ll be asking – “What’s in it for me?”.

3) Seek professional help
Okay, admittedly we’re slightly biased on this one, but believe it or not there’s a good reason for the existence of design agencies! Put it this way, if you needed medical help you’d go to a doctor, right? Or if your car developed a fault you’d get it checked out by a qualified mechanic. So why should your brand be treated any differently? Don’t risk the long-term health of your business by attempting a ‘DIY’ diagnosis and prescription without at least seeking some professional guidance first. Design agencies are working with hundreds of brands, day in, day out, and there are many benefits of hiring one – not least the fact that it will free you up to focus on what you do best…growing your business!

4) Make a list of everything that will need updating
Changing your visual identity will have far-reaching effects across all items of branded collateral. Think about stationery items (letterheads, compliment slips, business cards), printed literature (brochures, catalogues, leaflets), digital mediums (website, social media pages, email signatures) and other miscellaneous areas such as branded merchandise, corporate clothing, safetywear, vehicle signwriting, building signage (interior and exterior), directory listings, adverts etc. – basically anywhere your logo is used.

5) Do some budget calculations
Following on from points 3 and 4 above, you’ll need to weigh up the costs involved in undertaking a rebrand. Sure, hiring an agency requires some investment but this is often offset by the benefits of having a team of branding professionals handling a lot of the work for you. Updating your stationery items and marketing literature will also cost money but this investment could be spread over a period of time and there may be some things that can wait until after the initial brand launch in order to help your cashflow. As with any marketing project, budgeting is of all-importance – the last thing you want to do is run out of money half way through a rebrand.

6) Use your brand launch to its full potential
It’s well-worth setting a launch date for your new brand prior to starting work on the project. You can then work backwards from that date, get some milestones in place and agree on critical deadlines so that everything’s in place and ready for lift-off. When the big day arrives it’s time to really make a splash – shout about it from the rooftops! Announcing your new brand is an excellent opportunity to get in touch with all your customers, so make sure you take full advantage of this. Most importantly, remember to tell your customers what’s in it for them (see point 2 above) and use a mixture of communication methods (e.g. direct mail, email, social media) to relay your message effectively.

7) Last but not least, don’t drop the ball!
After a big brand launch it’s all too easy to breathe a sigh of relief and settle back down into ‘business as usual’. Avoid this at all costs – it will disrupt and destroy all the positive energy and momentum you’ve built up around your new brand. Don’t be a one-splash wonder – your brand is a living and breathing thing and needs treating as such. Nurture it. Develop it. Grow it. Add value to it. A strong brand is an investment that will reap dividends for many years to come.

In summary…

Rebranding is a big undertaking and not something to be taken lightly. However, it can also be incredibly beneficial to your business if planned carefully and managed effectively.

If you’re thinking of rebranding, a great starting point is to download and complete our interactive creative brief form. This will help to crystallise your own thoughts as well as providing a clear road map that can be referenced throughout the project. And of course, if we can help in any way, please do get in touch – we’d love to chat about your plans for taking your brand and business to the next level!

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