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How to execute
a rebrand

Overview

So, you’re thinking about rebranding. But there are many questions to consider. Does your entire brand need an overhaul, or do some elements just need a fresh coat of paint? How do you know which approach is best for your brand?

In this guide, we help you get to the bottom of an important question to ask when contemplating whether a rebrand or refresh is appropriate – “What’s the purpose for revising our brand?” Then we’ll provide you with tools to help make your rebrand a success, including an extensive, downloadable checklist.

Brand refresh vs. full rebrand

First and foremost, it’s important to know why you’re rebranding. Maybe it’s to refocus your messaging, expand your footprint in a new geography or gain credibility in a specific market. Whatever the reason, your motivation for the change will help inform whether a brand refresh or a full rebrand is necessary to accomplish the goal.

A brand refresh, or partial rebrand, is often used to keep a brand up to date. The refreshed brand still maintains a strong connection to what it was before, but maybe includes an evolved company logo, updated tagline or refined messaging. Below are a few examples of when a brand refresh may be warranted:

  • Your brand identity is outdated – Your logo may have been on point when it was launched in the 90s, but tastes in typography, iconography and color have evolved since then. It’s important to keep your look modern and relevant within your industry.
  • Your message isn’t resonating anymore – Shifts in audience preferences, competitive landscapes and macro industry trends can change the way your brand message hits.
  • Your offerings are shifting – If your company expands or removes a product or service offering, chances are your brand needs a slight shift to accommodate.
  • You’re entering a new market – If your company has expanded to a new geographic market or industry, consider how your new audiences impact your brand.
  • A major new competitor has entered the market – Do you feel like a small fish in a big sea, overshadowed by a new competitor that has entered the market, or an existing competitor who recently underwent a rebrand of their own? If those competitors are direct threats, then a refresh may help you reestablish yourself in the industry.

A full rebrand is necessary when there is a fundamental change in your company. Your brand might look and feel completely different than it was before, including updates to your name, logo, personality, key messages, tagline, colors, font and more.

Consider the following times below when a full rebrand may be necessary:

  • You’re going through an organizational change – Large organizational changes, such as mergers or acquisitions, often warrant a review of your existing brand to ensure it aligns with the “new” company.
  • Your brand changed its mission or direction – Your company mission serves as a guideline for how you operate. If you recently altered your mission statement or decided to take your company in a new direction, it’s time to consider a rebrand that reflects that change.
  • You’ve fundamentally changed your product or service offerings – If your company has dramatically changed the products or services it brings to the market or has a new flagship value proposition, it may be time for a new brand that reflects that shift.
It’s important to examine your brand and decide which elements are working and which are not – resist the urge to toss everything. Look at the tangible elements of your brand to ensure your brand identity, messaging and visuals align.
  • Brand identity – This includes your name, logo, personality, values, character. Look to the past for inspiration on how to refocus your brand, as your brand identity is what makes you easily recognizable amongst your competitors.
  • Messaging elements – Ensure your brand’s key messages, tagline and positioning statement resonate with audiences. Your target market may fluctuate over time, so it’s important to consider how your messaging elements resonate with both current and future audiences.
  • Visual elements – Your brand’s visual identity includes fonts, color palettes, textures and photography style. Consider a digital-first strategy and ensure your visual elements are fit for both digital and print use.

Guiding principles

Once you’ve decided to update your brand, it’s time to get down to business. A rebrand is a substantial, multi-faceted undertaking that requires collaboration and support from across your organization. It can be tough to know where to begin and how to structure your approach, but these recommendations can help you build the framework to execute effectively:

Understand your competition.

You can’t execute a successful rebrand in a silo. It’s important to look at your competitors and understand the space they occupy in the marketplace. You want your brand to fill a gap where your competition may be lacking – determine your unique value proposition and ensure its strong enough to differentiate your brand.

Get professional help.

It’s important to realize when things are best left to the experts. Most employees have limited branding knowledge to successfully execute a rebrand in-house. Don’t hesitate to call in a company that has the branding experience and expertise to help walk you through the process.

Give yourself enough time (and budget).

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was a brand. It takes a lot of time, effort and budget to successfully execute a rebrand. In fact, a full rebrand can take months to complete and studies* show they can cost much as 20% of a B2B marketing budget, so it’s important to dedicate resources accordingly. Consider tackling your rebrand in stages, updating high-visibility elements like websites and email signatures first and leaving things like internal documents and collateral for a later date.

*Source: HiveMind

You’ve done your research, secured approval from leadership and a million steps in between, of course. So… now how do you follow through? Consider these next steps to maximize the impact of your efforts and your new brand:

Inform internal audiences.

A strong brand can’t be maintained by a marketing team alone — it needs to exude from every part of the organization, from executive leadership and sales representatives to account managers and human resources staff. So, make sure all employees are aware of the changes, explain why they were made and train them on how to utilize and communicate the new brand effectively. The more familiar and confident employees are with new messages and assets, the more successful your new brand will be.

Get the word out.

It’s time to let the world know you’ve rebranded! Once you’ve alerted your employees and internal stakeholders, communicate the rebrand to your current customers – you don’t want them to be caught off guard by learning about the change from another party. Then it’s time to drum up some interest and media coverage, sharing the “why” behind the new brand and what it means for your company moving forward.

Track your progress.

You most likely evaluated data before the rebranding process and set specific goals to achieve. Use these metrics to compare where your brand was then and where it is today. If you didn’t collect data before, start now. Look into trends in your website and social media metrics as well as your average revenues. Try tools like Social Mention and Google Analytics or subscribe to Google Alerts.

Download our rebrand checklist

If your rebrand could benefit from some organization and planning, you’re in luck! Our checklist outlines an extensive list of places to apply your new branding, to help you prioritize updates and make sure you’ve crossed all your Ts and dotted your Is.

Need more support? Let us help you plan and execute your rebrand.