Updates are a necessity, even for well-developed companies and iconic brands. For these entities, the challenge is knowing how to rebrand an established company without losing the public equity and good faith built into the current branding. But what is a company rebranding, and when should you consider it?
What is Rebranding and What is its Purpose?
Rebranding is a marketing strategy utilized to change the image of a company. A rebrand doesn’t just refer to changes to its logo but a new identity, including its name, visual elements(look and feel), messaging, and positioning. Although most rebranding campaigns include a logo or name change, this is only sometimes necessary.
Rather than just a logo change, a rebranding strategy should be about adjusting or reimagining its brand strategy, aiming to align its visual identity, organizational vision, mission, and value proposition it seeks to communicate with its current and ideal customers. When done well, established business rebranding strategies help companies transition to the next generation. But timing is everything. Answering a few simple questions will tell you whether it’s time for a company rebranding—or not.
This article answers the questions and concerns established and multi-generational businesses have about rebranding. First, why updated branding matter? We will review the potential consequences of not changing a corporate image when it needs an overhaul. And we will end with do’s and don’ts to help you prepare your company rebranding strategies.
Rebranding Strategy Options
Rebranding strategies can be major or minor, bold or subtle. Every outcome will affect a business in some way. This is why a project of this nature should always be led by an experienced branding agency partner you trust. An experienced branding agency will help guide you through the pros and cons and help you anticipate any potential risks. But, before we move too far, you may not even need a complete brand overhaul, so let’s examine your options.
The Brand Refresh
Companies that keep their branding updated often only need a minor brand refresh or facelift rather than a total overhaul. It typically involves subtle tweaks to keep pace with marketplace changes, visual trends, and the organization’s business goals. A brand refresh ensures the business stays present, relevant, and competitive while expanding its reach. But it shouldn’t be used when a company’s ethos or its core purpose changes.
Does Your Company Need a Brand Refresh?
Even new rivals can pose threats to well-established businesses. That’s especially true if your look and feel become long in the tooth and appear dated in comparison. Your answers to the following questions should help determine whether your company brand needs a refresh.
- Has your brand messaging or value proposition evolved since the last time you made changes to your brand?
- Do you have inconsistent color schemes, logos or visuals across your company?
- Do your customers and employees refer to your company with different names?
- Has your target audience changed in the last 5, 10, or 15+ years?
- Has your company gone through any organizational changes, such as:
- The company is transitioning to new leadership
- Adding on new services or products or changing core offerings
- Recovering from tarnished relationships (either with customers or employees)
- Going through a transition of any kind (leadership changes, moving forward after a PR crisis)
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, it might be time for a brand refresh.
Bold Entity’s Proprietary Rebranding
Talk to Bold Entity if you need expert help with your company rebranding initiatives. We can walk you through our unique proprietary branding process and proven strategies. Our team of experts understands the intricacies of navigating your transformational journey. Are you ready to refresh or transform your brand to keep it current, modern, and ahead of the game?
Your Brand Refresh Strategy
A strategic brand refresh hones the company message and visuals. And it begins with extensive research to determine how the current market views your firm. Competitive analysis should also be part of the process to see what lessons you might take from rivals. Examine logos, colors, fonts, styles, slogans, and taglines. Other considerations are the tone of voice and value propositions.
Here are three examples of company brand/logo updates through the years.
In most cases, the accompanying messaging, such as taglines or slogans, were also updated with the new logo designs. And you can see the logo changes stayed very similar to the familiar visuals people have come to associate with the brand while keeping up with design trends.
The Complete Company Rebranding
Think of the brand refresh as a minor refresh and rebranding as a full-on makeover. The former enhances an existing look while the latter transforms it completely. Rebranding a company is no small feat. And it can be incredibly challenging for multi-generational or established businesses with a lot of history. For multi-generational companies, the process can be a bit more complex because of the significance and pride carried with the business. It often requires meeting the different generations to look at change positively and help everyone understand the need to evolve.
Does Your Company Need Complete Rebranding?
Rebranding is critical to any business that needs to remain current with its marketplace, and there can be many reasons for that. Company growth is different from the linear process it once was. Nor are consumers as brand loyal as they used to be in this modern, fast-paced marketplace. So it’s time to consider rebranding if you’re losing sales and market share because of it.
7 Reasons Established Companies Rebrand
A complete company rebranding is usually due to one or more of the following:
- Your target audience has changed or is changing.
- Significant increase in quality competition
- Your identity has become dated and less relevant.
- You plan to branch out and market new products/services and prospects.
- Old marketing strategies no longer yield results.
- Established industry and consumer expectations have changed.
- You have been in business for quite a while but have yet to achieve significant brand recognition, especially when you compare yourself against newer competitors.
What is the Process of Rebranding?
You may have established that you need to rebrand your company by now. Then the next question becomes: what does the process of rebranding look like? What could one expect?
Here are a few things to consider:
The process for rebranding will be different from agency to agency. At Bold Entity, we have developed a proprietary process that considers various data points to understand past and current perceptions of the brand and how that aligns with short and long-term business goals. The process kickstarts with a brainstorming session with the executive team to understand their company, industry challenges, and growth goals. We then undergo a research process that includes current clients, employees, and vendors. This second layer is crucial with established companies because it allows us to understand past and present perceptions. Usually, organizations include tenured employees, clients, vendors, and stakeholders with less-established relationships with the company. By speaking one-on-one with individuals with different levels of familiarity with the company, we can understand how past and current perceptions of the brand affect the company’s future goals.
Why Employee Voice Matters when Rebranding a Company
When done well, rebranding is good for your customers, worker retention, and attractive to job seekers. That’s why you should include your employees in the rebranding process. It proves that you’re a progressive company and one that’s not stuck on old ideas. And remember, any company is only as good as those working for it.
Engaged Employees Add Value
According to research house Forrester, rebranding is increasing, particularly within B2B market segments. But any efforts to rebrand without an engaged workforce is futile. Every employee serves as a brand ambassador for your business. That’s why you need to keep them in the loop, engaged, and playing a positive role in the process where appropriate .
In addition, employees can help identify potential risks in the rebranding process simply because they know your customers and interact with them daily.
Here are some pointers for keeping employees engaged during the rebranding process:
- Poll employees to assess how they feel about the company’s brand and what it means to them
- Create a climate for change as you announce the rebranding initiative
- Explain why you are rebranding, the logic, and intent behind the decision
- Detail your timeline of what’s about to happen and when
- Explain the changes that will occur and who they affect (keep it positive)
- Orchestrate a launch event to give employees a goal to focus on
- Reward employees who demonstrate new brand behaviors
- Always keep 2-way lines of communication open
Utilizing Your Multi-Generational Talent Pool is Key To Sound Rebranding Campaigns
Fortunately, long-established organizations have the advantage of multi-generational skills, outlooks, and experience. Including the opinions of a diverse group of individuals in different roles and with different genders, ethnicities, and age groups is vital. Your talent pool is an invaluable aid to help guide rebranding efforts and facilitate growth.
Successful Branding Works from the Inside Out
There should be no secrets or uncertainty with your rebranding initiatives. This can create rumors and doubt, and that’s not good for anyone. Therefore, bringing individuals and teams in early helps generate excitement and maintain momentum. Moreover, your workforce is more likely to value what they co-create.
Employees’ Perceptions of Company Rebranding
People are your organization’s number one resource, so engaging them in rebranding initiatives makes perfect sense. As brand ambassadors, workers’ thoughts and feelings about the company’s value proposition matter. Yet, according to studies, many firms still focus their branding research from the perspective of leadership and consumers .
Employee perceptions matter and should be part of an internal brand strategy. A worker’s view of your brand is as essential as how clients, customers, and vendors see it. By polling employees, they are more likely to become committed brand advocates. It’s why the best brands involve their employees in rebranding processes and marketing . Otherwise, you risk a breakdown when that employee engages with anyone outside your company.
5 Examples of Employee-Focused Companies
Below are five new and old employee-focused companies. Each example takes the worker’s perceptions seriously as part of their brand and rebranding initiatives:
- Heineken Lager Beer: revolves their brand messaging around employees
- L’Oréal: includes employee input in its brand messaging
- Mollie (European payment processors): publishes employee stories and journeys
- Chipotle Mexican Grill: promotes employee benefits and inclusion
- PetSmart: uses employee-generated content through its marketing channels
These are some of the successful companies that engage workers in their branding. They create public personas and define employee value propositions (EVP). As a result, current and potential employees are very much a part of brand interactions      .
When Not to Rebrand Your Company
Never rebrand for the sake of change just because you want to. It makes no sense to rebrand if your business is booming and your corporate identity is already well-established.
You may feel compelled to change the corporate image if your closest rivals are having a makeover. And sometimes, new leaders join the company and want to shake things up with a brand overhaul. But if your brand isn’t broken, there’s nothing to fix.
In most cases, rebranding should be used as an external signal to signify changes in the company internally. It helps signal to prospects and current customers that your organization has changed and new and exciting things are on the horizon.
Rebranding Issues for Established Companies
Is your brand outdated? How do you know; what has drawn you to that conclusion? Are you losing your target market, or has your core value proposition changed over time? It’s wise to rebrand once you know the exact issue you’re trying to address and precisely why you’re doing it.
Rebranding challenges for established firms are often the result of an incomplete strategy or plan, such as in these cases:
- Don’t fully understand the reasons you need to rebrand
- Make changes in haste
- Don’t involve enough people or the right people during the research phase
- Underestimate the scale and scope of the challenge
- Fail to set realistic goals and expectations
- Unsure how to measure post-rebranding performance
How to Overcome Rebranding Headaches
Recognizing the most-common rebranding issues helps you avoid them and apply the proper focus to your campaign. The most critical part of any rebranding effort is research and preparation. What makes your company unique, what works, and what doesn’t?
Ask what your current brand means to those who work for the company and its most loyal customers and vendors. These are questions to raise during a brainstorming session. You will likely want to conserve and preserve that brand equity in the update. Taking the views of all parties into consideration shows that you listen. It demonstrates your concerns about the company’s direction and those who support it.
This final section summarizes this article with corporate rebranding dos and don’ts.
Rebranding Dos and Don’ts You Need to Know
Research the latest marketing and branding tips to future-proof your organization’s rebranding. Knowing what to do or not to do when rebranding a multi-generational or established business is critical. The list of rebranding dos and don’ts below will help to keep you focused.
Of course, it’s not an exact science, and every rebranding strategy is different. Your best course of action is partnering with an experienced branding agency who can guide you. Still, these tips will help you lay the foundation, save precious time and money, and avoid stress.
|Do Question Your Reasons for Rebranding|
Feeling the need for a change is different from needing a major overhaul. Talk to all involved parties and explore the strategic advantages and disadvantages of a decision to alter the branding of your business.
|Do Thorough Research|
Research gives you crucial insight into how others experience your brand. Leave nothing to chance. Find out what can make your rebrand remarkable and unique. Gather market research data and feedback from those most associated with your business. Proper analysis and rollout ensure loyal customers and employees embrace the change.
|Do Get Internal and External Insights|
You may think your ideas for a rebrand are brilliant, but that doesn’t mean they are. It just means you think they are. They could be on the money, but don’t take the risk on gut feeling alone. Instead, talk to employees, vendors, and current and ideal customers. Ask for their views and be open to constructive criticism. Also, ask customers, industry partners, and prospects what they see as your organization’s strengths and weaknesses.
|Do Differentiate Your Rebrand|
Being on par with competitors is not good enough. So, consider how to differentiate your brand from your rivals. You need to be unique while staying authentic. Establish your unique value proposition and offer something the others don’t have or can’t do as well.
|Do Come Up with a Unique Brand Vision|
A compelling brand vision is the nucleus of good branding. A clear brand vision can also be used as a tagline, clearly stating the purpose of your business. Therefore, it should be part of your meaningful differentiation planning. The best brand visions tend to be short and memorable.
|Do Drive Broader Change|
Rebranding can drive widespread modification and innovation throughout your company. Think of it as a catalyst to introduce changes to your internal and external stakeholders. For instance, a rebranding initiative could enhance workplace culture and attract and retain more talent. It can also be a way to improve operational processes and procedures.
And rebranding is an opportunity to boost product and service developments and add to the overall customer experience.
|Do See Your Brand as a Full Experience|
A brand is more than a logo, fancy font, and color set. It reaches every touchpoint of a product or service to create a holistic experience. The idea behind the brand experience is to leave customers with a memorable impression of your identity by tapping into the senses. It should create perception, participation, personalization, and prioritization.
Let’s use Apple Inc. to illustrate the point.
Apple’s touch points work seamlessly to create a powerful brand experience. That includes its memorable ads, recognizable packaging, and the Apple in-store experience. Combined, they represent an unmistakable style, quality, innovation, and ooze functionality.
Now Let’s Look at Six Rebranding Don’ts
|Don’t Forget to Research|
Remember to carry out detailed research. Interview internally and externally, and gather as much data as possible during the research phase. Talk to existing customers, new prospects you aim to target with the rebranding, and even former customers if you can.
Encourage those you interview to be candid and share their thoughts. Sometimes, an outsider may see things an insider overlooks.
|Don’t Over-Promise and Under-Deliver|
It’s easy to hype things up or forget the details during a rebranding initiative. But over-promising and under-delivering is the fastest way to crash a relaunch. Your brand promise should not include guarantees you can’t follow through on. Instead, it must be authentic, unique, and, most important of all, believable. Trust is everything.
|Don’t Lose Your Identity|
Don’t lose your identity unless you need to shake off a tarnished image and start anew. If people recognize your iconic logo, color schemes, or winning tagline, then bring them along. Shedding all brand recognition can be catastrophic, as the fruit juice Tropicana Brands Group found out to its detriment .
|Don’t Change Everything in One Go|
Brands consist of multiple touchpoints that work to reinforce their basic foundation. Overturning all touchpoints in one hit may disorientate your target market. And, it could prove difficult or even impossible to explain your new identity and win customers back. So it’s better to first prioritize the touchpoints with the most potential for impact.
|Don’t Forget to Track Brand Metrics|
Tracking rebrand metrics is critical for measuring its ROI. There are several to consider but start with perception, performance, and financial measurements. These three will give you valuable insight to help you make informed adjustments to improve your new branding.
|Don’t Roll Out Your New Brand Willy-Nilly|
It’s natural to be keen when the time comes to relaunch your brand, but don’t let impatience get in the way. A successful rollout is contingent on advanced planning. And that should entail a strategic unveiling and some carefully considered coordinated events.
Closing Comments on Rebranding and Established Company
Successful rebranding is a well-researched initiative based on agreed strategies and a shared vision. A carefully executed rollout delivers renewed faith in your business to its stakeholders. Furthermore, you build a new and strengthened visual identity that distinguishes you from rivals, attracts new leads and talent, and retains existing customers.
Bold Entity is one of the best branding agencies in the US for B2B companies. Our thorough process has been tested with over 300 companies, ranging from aerospace to professional services and everything in between.