What does rebranding mean, and why do companies rebrand? Rebranding a business is no small task, as the rebranding process can be quite research heavy.
Brands that need rebranding often have very specific needs. In this article, we'll drive into company rebranding and what you need to know about how to rebrand.
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What Is Branding? (And Why It's Essential for Marketing)
Before we dig into rebranding and how to rebrand, let's talk about the starting point: branding. Think about branding as a representation of a service or product.
For example, when you think of Coca Cola, you likely think of their iconic, red logo. This is a large part of their brand. Exposure to it, marketing, and promotion have created this association, especially if you happen to be a part of their target audience.
But branding isn't exclusive to large, national or international businesses. Small businesses and even a single person can absolutely benefit from professional branding. This is because branding is the identity of your business: it's a set of features that are then associated with your services or products.
New to branding and not sure where to start? Check out these free resources:
- What Is Branding? (Creating Your Brand's Visual Identity)Julia Melymbrose04 Mar 2021
- How to Design a New Brand Identity for Your BusinessGrace Fussell23 Aug 2022
What Is Rebranding?
So, what is rebranding? What does rebranding mean?
Well, let's look some rebranding examples. While the Coca Cola logo has largely stayed the same for over a hundred years now, the Pepsi logo has had many changes over the years. In fact, Pepsi has just released a new logo redesign in 2023! This rebranding also includes some adjustments to their typography and color palette too. Some more rebranding examples would include AT&T and UPS, both of which had a modern refresh in the 2010s.
Think of rebranding as revisiting and revising a brand. As you might guess, this requires a lot of planning and strategy. It's also very different from creating an entirely new brand, because you've got to think about your existing audience and your existing presence.
Think about what's at risk here. For example, If a rebrand looks too different, either visually or in terms of tone, the customer might not recognize it anymore. Even worse, they might not trust the brand anymore. But a well-done rebranding can help strengthen trust and relevancy.
Looking for some in depth brand analysis? Check out this article on the Nike logo:
Why Do Companies Rebrand?
So, what would make a company want to rebrand—and why do some brands stay the same for such a long time? Brands that need rebranding have a specific need. Here are some reasons to consider:
- The target audience may have changed. Let's say the brand's target audience has had a shift in preferences. It may be helpful to further key into these preferences, to better attract the audience. Or perhaps the target audience is changing, like moving into an international market.
- Certain aesthetics may have become dated. Something that was really exciting and trendy 30 years ago may look dated now. Sometimes, refreshing a look and feel can help keep things looking modern and relevant, without necessarily discarding the brand's history.
- There may have been a change in services or structure. Perhaps the business is restructuring, or two businesses have merged. This may call for a rebranding to further solidify these changes.
There can be other reasons for rebranding too. It all depends on the business and its needs. It's important to note that rebranding requires a lot of research. It's not something that should be done haphazardly.
- Don't rebrand for excitement's sake. A big part of branding is consistency, so it's not something you want to shake up regularly to try to gain some visibility or attention. There are much more effective ways to do that.
- It isn't only about the logo design either. A brand is an entire identity. That would include things like company colors, fonts, and other specifications.
Take a look:
- 1950s Logos: Iconic 50s Logo Design, Examples, and InspirationLaura Keung25 Feb 2022
- 1960s Logo: Retro 60s Logo Design, Examples, and InspirationLaura Keung11 Mar 2022
What Is the Rebranding Process?
So, let's discuss how to rebrand (or rebranding a business). A company rebranding is no small task. It shouldn't be taken lightly.
Just like branding itself, rebranding isn't one size fits all. Your business or professional branding needs may vary from another's—and your reasons for rebranding may, as well. But here are some important points to consider in the rebranding process:
1. It Should Always Start With Research
Begin your research with why a rebrand is a good choice for your business. What would be the benefit? What is your brand lacking? What most appeals to your target audience? This may arguably be one of the most involved parts of a rebrand. If you can't clearly define why a rebrand is necessary, then it probably isn't.
Branding is inherently the heart of your business's identity. Think about it: this is how your target audience, your consumers, know, relate, and associate with your business. If the changes are unnecessary or jarring, that relationship could be weakened, not strengthened.
Likewise, if your brand has shortcomings, a rebrand can be just what you need to reconnect with your target audience—or maybe even bring in a new one. If you don't stop and evaluate all these needs first, you won't be able to build a solid strategy.
2. Consider What Your Rebrand Needs to Communicate
Rebranding can be a delicate balance. While it's a process of revisiting your branding, you may not necessarily want to completely divorce from your original branding. Strategically consider what your brand is, what it should communicate.
For example, let's say the color green has always been a solid part of your brand. Perhaps it's a good anchoring point to keep, whereas many the font used in your branding could use a revisit. Or maybe some of the imagery in your logo design has started to look dated, over time. Perhaps a modest modernization could bring some freshness, without necessarily discarding the identity that has been built.
- Color Psychology: What Color Says About YouMelanie Brooks24 Nov 2020
- How to Choose the Right Font for Your BrandLaura Keung23 Sep 2021
3. If It Isn't Broken, Don't Fix It.
Again, if there's parts of your brand that work well, keep them. You don't have to throw everything out in a rebrand. This is why it's such a good idea to do thorough research before jumping headfirst into a rebrand. Rebrandings can, do, and have failed—even large ones!
For example, in 2010, Gap had a rebranding, and it wasn't well received. In fact, it's a pretty notorious example of a rebranding gone wrong. They ended up reverting back to their older logo, instead.
4. Test, Test, and More Testing
There are so many constructive ways to text and explore, when it comes to rebranding. At the very basics, start with simple things like mood boards and design mockups. In many regards, branding tells a story.
Think beyond the logo—what do you think should be associated with your brand? Try thinking in terms of keywords too.
For example, a restaurant might want to target words like: warm, comforting, or cozy. That would be very different from: lively, exciting, or unusual. Notice how one group of words creates a more slow, relaxing vibe, while the other could feel more like a fast paced, adventurous place.
5. Building a Brand Takes a Lot of Work
Consider a road map. A rebranding means all your business materials will also need an update, so consider how that'll translate. That's everything from business cards to packaging, advertising to marketing materials.
Aside from the logistics of rolling out all the new branding elements, you'll want to make sure they work well in the first place. It would be an awful mistake to launch a rebranding and then realize the new content doesn't work well on some of your core materials.
For example, how will it translate on your website or social media presence? How about your printed collateral? Where will the target audience interact with your branding—and how has that changed now?
- How to Create Your Own Brand GuidelinesGrace Fussell24 Jun 2019
- How to Create Online Brand Consistency (for Email and Web)Paul Airy29 Jan 2021
6. Be Mindful of The Preferences of Your Target Audience
Ultimately, the goal of your rebrand should be specific to your business and its identity. But don't forget your target audience. They're the ones you aim to appeal to—so if that rebrand isn't on target for them? It could miss the mark.
Branding Examples for Inspiration and Analysis
Business cards and stationery are branding essentials that just about every business out there needs and utilizes. Let's look at some examples of professionally designed business cards and stationery to review what the brand visually communicates. Use these insights to help you analyze your own branding strategy.
1. Note the Impact of Clean, Open Space
Look at this business card design and its branding. Again, this is more than the logo design. Look at the entire presentation and consider what it visually communicates.
One noteworthy feature here is the generous amount of open space (sometimes referred to as negative space in design theory). While two of the key branding colors here are blue and black, the generous, open space is a large part of the overall identity here too.
2. Sometimes, Less Is More
Notice in this letterhead that the branding's presence isn't necessarily loud or "in your face". There's space for the logo at the top and the brand's primary color has a modest presence in the design. Sometimes, keeping things simple and clean can work very well.
3. Notice the Energy of Shape and Color
In contrast, notice how this business card design has very different vibes. It's so much more energetic because of the use of shape and color. The angled shapes break up the design. The colors are rather saturated, which inherently makes things feel much more energetic.
4. Variation Can Be a Fun Approach
Here's a fun, energetic series of designs. In this concept, the branding colors are used in varying ways. This could be handy if your brand has more than one branch or department. Notice again how shape and color can add a lot of energy or even playfulness.
5. Imagery and Fonts Make a Huge Impact
The imagery and font usage associated with your brand matters tremendously too. Again, remember, your branding isn't just about the logo—it's an entire identity. For example, imagine this business card design with different fonts and different imagery. It would completely change the tone of the branding here.
Learn More About Business and Branding
Want to learn more about business and branding? Check out these free resources, right here at Envato Tuts+.
- 10 Essential Characteristics of the Best Small Business BrandsJulia Melymbrose17 Aug 2022
- How to Encourage Brand Advocacy Through Employee EngagementBrenda Barron07 Feb 2023
- Brand Voice: How the Right Tone of Voice Can Boost Your BusinessJulia Melymbrose05 Jul 2022
- How to Change Your Business Name SuccessfullyAndrew Blackman19 May 2022
The Best Source for Professional Design Assets (With Unlimited Use)
Looking for professional assets to help you with your business pursuits? Then make sure to check out Envato Elements. One low price gets you unlimited access to a huge library of professional content.
With this much content, the possibilities (and the benefits) are almost endless.
- When you download a design template, it's fully customizable. You can either plug and play insert your information or use it to jumpstart an entirely new design. It's up to you and your project's needs.
- Business Cards, Stationery, Fonts, even Website Designs—right at your fingertips. It's an amazing resource, packed with content that you can use and download with unlimited access.
- There's a huge collection of mockups too, perfect for testing out your new rebranding. Want to see how your new brand will look on packaging? Envato Elements has you covered. T-shirts? Posters? Realistic mockups can be the perfect way to take your work for a test drive.
Is a Rebrand Right for Your Business?
Remember, rebranding a business is no simple task. There should be a well thought out reason for a rebrand. Then, consider the rebranding process—what your business needs, what this rebrand will impact, and your target audience. Your brand is your business's identity, and stability is a huge part of building trust with your audience.
Good luck with your business ventures!