How (and Why) to Rebrand Your Business

Last Updated July 9, 2021

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Is your company ready for a rebrand?

Has your business outgrown its original vision? Are you expanding into a new country or new region that may not understand your original logo, name, and marketing message? Do you want to change the look and feel of your company to better reflect your evolving customer base? If so, you should consider rebranding.

Rebranding your company can be tricky. After all, your customers have grown comfortable with your business persona, your logo, and the look of your packaging. However, sometimes a business outgrows its original vision or switches direction. In these cases, rebranding can give your business a fresh look and better reflect your new vision.

Rebranding Process Infographic

What is rebranding?

Rebranding is the art and science of reinventing the way your company looks and interacts with customers and potential customers. It involves much more than just a new logo or even a new name. Successful rebranding refreshes the way your company appears to customers without sacrificing the customer loyalty and trust you've built over the years your company has been in business.

While every company approaches rebranding somewhat differently, according to their own needs, rebranding usually includes changing the look of your digital advertising, packaging, and communications as well as overall marketing strategy. 

Why you might want to rebrand your business

According to Entrepreneur magazine, the best reason to rebrand your business is that your audience is changing. Maybe you need to appear more vibrant and more "hip" to attract a younger audience. Or, maybe the opposite is true, that your customer base is aging and no longer swayed by the latest trends and flashy colors.

Another good reason to rebrand your business is if your competitor is grabbing an increasingly large chunk of your market. In a case like that, you need a way for potential customers to instantly differentiate your two businesses and for yours to appear more attractive.

The experts at Entrepreneur rightly caution against rebranding simply because you are changing the name of the business. They cite the disastrous rebranding effort in 2009 when Radio Shack changed to The Shack. The company effectively threw out decades of brand awareness and customer loyalty in a single move. Other experts caution against rebranding to beef up your sales. Slumping sales are usually better addressed by new advertising and other marketing campaigns.

Some companies continue to evolve their marketing. Apple and Starbucks both subtly redesign their logos every few years to make them appear more current.

Looking for another rebranding success story? Check out the men's cologne/toiletry line, Old Spice. Since their rebranding in 2008, the line has seen massive growth and left then-competitor Axe in the dust.

Even yours truly, EmberTribe, has gone through a rebrand to reflect our evolution.

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How to rebrand a company

1. Define your market. The first thing you need to do in your rebranding effort is to specifically define your target market and audience. Until you know who you are trying to attract, it's impossible to create your new look.

2. Revisit your mission and vision statements. Are your company's goals, vision, and persona still the same as they were when you started the company? Probably not. Your rebranding is a great time to update those statements and communicate your new mission and goals to your workers. You can also take these new statements forward into your new branding.

3. Rename your company...or not. Rebranding your business often involves changing the name or revising the name to a similar, but different version of the original, such as Federal Express rebranding itself as FedEx. Changing the name of your company touches almost everything about your business, from your business license and invoices to your customer loyalty cards and social media pages. If you don't have to change your name, we advise against it. Not only will you save a lot of expense and hassle, but your rebranding will be less confusing for the public.

4. Build your new brand identity. There are many elements to creating your new brand identity, not all of which are applicable to every situation. You'll want to consider changing your marketing message, your logo, your company colors, the font you use for your company name, and the imagery and shape of your logo and company name.

5. Set brand guidelines. You'll also want to create some guidelines about how your new logo, fonts, and color palette should be used. Do you have a color and a black-and-white version? When is it appropriate to use each? Can the logo be rotated? Can it be used independently of the company name or must they be used together? Digging even deeper, did you decide on a new company person and updated brand voice? These are all questions you'll want to consider.

Tips for a successful rebranding

It's kind of scary when you rebrand your business. What if you just put all of that time and effort into your new look and it actually repels customers rather than attracts them? While there's no absolute guarantee that your rebranding efforts will increase your customer base, your sales, and your bottom line, following these tips can dramatically increase your odds of success.

1. Make sure you've clearly defined your target audience. We can't say this often enough. If you don't know who the people are that you're selling to, your rebranding efforts are doomed from the beginning. This is the single most important step in the entire rebranding process.

2. Preserve consistency. Even though you are rebranding, there are still probably a lot of elements that aren't going to change. However, make sure that these elements also reflect your new look, logo, name and/or colors, so that there is cohesiveness in your look across all of your marketing channels, from your letterhead to your social media pages.

3. Coordinate an event or product launch with your rebranding to garner press attention. Unless you are General Motors or Google, the press will be unlikely to consider your rebranding newsworthy, no matter how many press releases you send out. To get that press attention you want to help launch your rebranding, add something else that the press can grab onto. Maybe it's an event with a celebrity. Maybe it's a new location. Maybe it's a new product. Any of these will add more interest to your rebranding announcement.

4. Don't make the rebrand a hassle for your existing customers. You may be excited about your rebranding. However, your customers don't want to be inconvenienced by your changes. For example, you might consider keeping your existing URLs even if they don't match your rebranding since changing them would be a hassle for those customers (and vendors) who deal with you electronically and have your web address pre-programmed into their systems.

5. Let your vendors know. It's not just your customers who need to know about your new identity. Your vendors need to know if you've changed your company name. To avoid confusion, make sure that they have the information well in advance of the change. Not only will this help prevent them from feeling out of the loop, but they can help you spread the word and create excitement.

Rebranding can be a lot easier with an experienced partner to guide you through the process.

At EmberTribe, we have the experience and tenacity to help you with your successful rebranding. We've been helping entrepreneurs make the most of their brands since 2015.

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