The 3 biggest “watch-outs” when considering a rebrand

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There comes a time in every company’s life – big or small, when it will consider a rebrand. The rebrand might consist of a variety of things – sometimes just a new logo, other times a new name and a complete reinvention of communication and brand strategy.

There’s a number of reasons, why companies decide to go through the rebranding process. However, they most often boil down to the following three situations:

a) Things aren’t going well for the business. Sales are declining and it’s felt some bold changes are required.

b) On the contrary, things are potentially going great, with the biggest competitor (or any other promising company) acquired and a new direction with it placed under your organisation’s brand.

c) The company has hired a new brand or marketing director, who wants to leave their mark, with a rebrand seeming to be the most obvious way to do so.

If you’re planning a rebrand, there are some crucial things to watch out for. Regardless of whether your reasons make business sense or not, if you don’t prepare for these three biggest “watch-outs”, your project is destined to fail.

1. Nothing new to say

It might be tempting to give your logo a refresh and change the colours of your company’s branding, in an effort to increase interest and sales after a lull in business. However, you should never rebrand unless you have something new to say.

A new positioning or a significantly improved product are good reasons to revamp your brand’s identity. Another good rationale is a shift in your audience – either an entirely new target group, or a wider/narrower demographic. Changing just your logo and brand colours leaves you with exactly the same proposition in a new wrapper, only it will now be much more difficult to communicate to internal teams and external stakeholders – investors, journalists and consumers.

2. No internal buy-in

You and your team might have come to the conclusion that a rebrand is the answer, but if you’re the only ones to believe so, you need to hold off.

With a management team that isn’t totally on board and 100% committed, your rebrand will consist of a new logo but no money to roll out the brand properly. To tackle this, you need to figure out why they’re not supportive of your ideas. Maybe they have legitimate reasons, maybe it could be in relation to internal corporate politics. Either way, if you want to make the rebrand a success, you need to do your homework and get the full buy-in of your management before starting anything. You’ll get the best results when they will actually think rebranding was their idea in the first place.

3. Proving your point with research

It needs to be said that if your board is totally against rebranding, no rational arguments will help you to change their minds. You will have to find a way to move their hearts, souls and egos, not just their brains.

However, if you are given the benefit of the doubt and decide to test the new identity to prove your point, never do it by just comparing it to the previous one. Unless your current identity is truly off-putting, most people will still choose it over the new one, due to familiarity. The better way of testing it is to prepare two adverts for the same product with the same messaging, one using your current identity and the other using your new one. Test the ads on two similar but separate groups, asking not if they like it, but if the ads build purchase intent and the associations your strategy assumes. If the new one works better, it’s a good sign. If not, it’s back to the drawing board before you come anywhere near launching your rebrand.

Rebranding, in particular in big companies, is no easy task and requires skills, time, budget and stakeholders’ buy-in. There are many things to be cautious about which could go wrong. However, these are the three absolute essentials you should definitely take note of.

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Magda Adamska is the founder of BrandStruck.

BrandStruck ithe only online database of brand strategy case studies.
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