Rebranding happens all of the time in business. From our experience, a company will rebrand every 3-6 years; it’s necessary to stay modern, remain relevant and keep ahead of the competition. Here we share the top-3 reasons for a company rebrand and also the top-3 pitfalls to avoid.
Change can come in many forms, from a simple logo refresh to complete brand transformation, including new business name, logo design, new brand identity, colour scheme and tone of voice. The need for change is affected by many internal and external factors unique to each business, but any change should be taken with care. In the wrong hands, it can be damaging to a brand.
First, why embark on a company rebrand?
Before we look at the risks of a company rebrand, we’ve shared the 3 most common reasons why a company rebrand is even on the agenda:
1 – Growth calls for a change
This is the most favourable reasons for a company rebrand; the business has matured, and it’s moved into a growth phase. This situation often prompts a reflection on the brand and its suitability for continued growth.
Usually, it’s necessary to rebrand the business to present a more significant, more successful brand, increasing sales and striking fear into the hearts of competitors. An exciting prospect!
2 – Change makes change unavoidable
The market conditions are no longer the same, customers now want something different, or you no longer speak their language. Perhaps it’s you who’ve changed, and the brand hasn’t been keeping up.
This situation is widespread, for example, the R&D team have been busy developing the most amazing product to shape the future of the industry, but the brand is more reflective of a 1990’s start-up. A surprisingly common problem.
3 – Time forces a change
Another typical situation, especially in smaller businesses, is the need to modernise due to market trends or lack of investment in the early days.
Let’s imagine; a business started with a small team, a quick and dirty logo was designed by a mate, there was no real consideration in the name, beyond, “Wow, it includes our initials!”; and the website was (pretty much) copied and pasted from a competitor’s.
That’s not surprising when starting out but once established, addressing it fast becomes a priority; a refined, more considered brand and stand-out brand is required, essentially relaunching the business as a viable competitor.
The pitfalls of a company rebrand
So, here it is. Based on over 13 years of brand agency experience, we’ve listed the 3 main risks to watch out for when embarking on a company rebrand:
1 – The branding process isn’t inclusive
From our experience, getting staff onboard from the outset is crucial to the success of a rebranding project. Our recommended approach is to nominate a ‘brand champion’ from each department. They take part in the workshops and follow the progress of the project, understanding the rationale along the way. As a result, they naturally take ownership and feedback progress to their teams – everyone knows what’s happening and why.
Failing to do this can lead to apathy or, even worse, rejection of the new brand. Why? They are probably opposed to change (like most people) and don’t understand why it’s had to change, putting the whole exercise down to a whim of the CEO and a marketing overspend rather than a business strategy that’s essential to the ongoing success of the business.
Another way to avoid staff apathy is to launch the brand internally before the external launch to customers. Explain to everyone what you all stand for and how the brand identity system works. It will make them feel special, included and understand why they should feel excited about the changes. An unloved brand will ultimately fail so make sure you get the whole company on board early on.
2 – Agencies don’t delve deep enough
As part of our Brand Discovery process, we spend significant time to understand an organisation deeply. The big mistake is not to dig deep and understand the nuances, culture and unique aspects of a business – the intangible things that make them who they are.
Lack of research and investigation upfront can mean that the new branding fails to get to the heart of the matter. The finished result might look nice, but when you scratch the surface, there is little depth or authenticity. Rather than making a knockout difference, the results will need revisiting in a few years when trends change.
Getting the right advice is essential to make sure that the rebrand creates real business improvement, not just change for change’s sake.
3 – The brand identity isn’t fit for purpose
As a digital-first agency, we prioritise how brands will live and breathe online, on social media, in motion and on mobile. All too often we see less experienced companies present concepts that look good ‘on paper’ but are unrealistic or hard to live with when applied to the real world.
Avoid this by carrying out a complete review of all brand touch points in the business, from the more prominent: website, marketing materials, social media, company brochures etc.; to the easily-overlooked: interior decor, van livery, invoices, uniforms and signage systems. Make sure the result is a brand system that works for you.
Rebranding a company is a complex and sensitive challenge. In the wrong hands, it can be disruptive, costly and disappointing. In experienced hands, it can be enjoyable, inspiring and transformational. Talk to us about the benefits of a company rebrand and learn how the process works or speak to an expert today