Rebrand 101 – How To Tell It’s Time For a Rebrand

A lot of thought goes into the representation of a company – any rebranding decision is an undertaking that involves multiple messaging systems coming together as one. Sometimes, these messaging systems come in conflict with one another when one part no longer represents the whole.

There can be any number of reasons why a business may decide to do a rebrand.  Whether it’s due to a transition into a new market or a shift in company values, the process can be cumbersome and often challenging due to the extensive nature of a rebranding strategy.

Whatever the reason for the rebranding, it is important for business owners to understand the planning required to successfully execute a  rebrand and the potential risks associated with this type of strategy.

Here’s what we’ll take a look at:

Rebrand Meaning – What’s a Rebrand?

rebrand project guide

In short, rebranding is the redevelopment of an existing company’s entire brand, including (but limited to) name, logo, brand style, digital marketing campaigns, and website.

For complete branding overhauls, the entire scope of a business or organization is redesigned to look, feel, and sound entirely new and unique. However, it is important to note that rebranding is not limited to strictly marketing or a new logo – often a rebrand is an opportunity for a business to re-envision its company culture, products, or manufacturing, and staffing processes.

A complete rebrand often takes many months/years and can be extremely costly. 

However, an entire brand redesign is not the only option for business owners. Many companies choose a form of “rebrand lite,” where certain elements of the brand stay the same while changing or improving other elements.

For example, a company may redesign its website and logo while keeping the original company name, brand voice, and content style.  A rebrand can be entirely customized for the needs of your business and price range. 

Oftentimes, a small project might include refreshed design elements such as a rebranded logo, different brand colours and possibly different fonts and typefaces to be used in official company messaging.

Why Conduct A Rebrand?

There are a number of reasons why a company would choose to rebrand – either fully or partially. These reasons can be both positive or negative and often have reputation management impacts. Some of the reasons a business may choose to rebrand could include:

  • A merger with another business or company
  • A significant change in senior leadership or Board members
  • Negative reputational factors such as faulty merchandise, negative comments made on staff members or business practices
  • Adjusting product or service offerings – new production processes or new products altogether
  • Outdated branding
  • A desire for a new, fresh look to attract new clients or customers

While there can be a number of reasons for a company to decide to do a rebrand, there is often more significant effort made when a negative reputational risk is a factor. For example, a company that may have been subject to strong criticism will most likely invest more time and resources into rebranding efforts as a strategy to avoid continued negative impact on their business.

5 Signs You Need a Rebrand

As an insider within a company, it can sometimes be difficult to be self-reflective on your brand’s effectiveness. We’ve compiled our top five signs that it may be time for your business to undergo rebranding work. This work is not an all or nothing endeavor – it is important to understand that rebranding can be entirely customized to fit your business needs and budget.

You’ve experienced a significant change in company culture, staffing or senior leadership

A noticeable shift in company culture and/or company leadership is often the catalyst for many forms of organizational change, including rebranding. This shift in culture or direction often leads to a new brand vision, mission, or voice. 

These changes can occur with or without changes in products and services, and often are a strong reflection of a brand’s digital footprint online or on social media.

You are not differentiated from your competitors

In many industries, market competition is often fierce and very tight between competing companies. To help differentiate your company from competitors, it is important to have a strong brand and brand voice. 

For many companies, the strength of their branding can often be the deciding factor in capturing customer interest away from their competitors and the competition. 

You are not attracting the right customers

If you are finding your business is not attracting the right customers perhaps it is time to undergo rebranding to adjust your approach. This often used to appeal to customers with high consumer power – more money to buy and more willingness to spend. By elevating and modernizing your brand look, you may increase your ability to attract the right consumer for your brand.

You are shifting business models

Another significant catalyst for organizational change is a shift in business models or outcomes. Brands who update their product or service offerings or other associated processes, often require rebranding to help reintroduce their brand to consumers. This type of rebranding is often very comprehensive as the original company must be rebranded to be an entirely new business or service.

Another type of business model shift that could prompt a rebranding is a merger or other type of acquisition. In many cases of rebranding, a merger or purchasing of subsidiary companies often is the preemptive action for rebranding efforts. This can be done in a variety of ways including:

  • Merging two companies as a hybrid model of both brands – like Intuit and Quickbooks merging to become Intuit Quickbooks
  • One company is integrated into another company – the rebranding of FACEBOOK in 2019 as an umbrella organization for its various apps
  • Both brands are forgone for the creation of an entirely new brand – for example, when social media software brands Lithium and Spredfast joined to become Khoros
Your branding is outdated and does not reflect your vision

Sometimes, a rebrand doesn’t require a large company-wide change. Often, a business may choose to undergo branding efforts simply to refresh or update existing branding or online digital marketing platforms. 

This type of rebrand strategy is often prompted by numerous small changes to a business such as small mergers, gradual changes in senior leadership, or improvements made to products or services.

5 Successful Rebranding Examples

McDonalds
rebrand example
McDonald's changing logomark throughout the years (https://www.behance.net/gallery/41437245/McDonalds-Rebranding)

For years, McDonalds had a strong reputation for being unhealthy junk food. After the 2004 documentary Super Size Me, the brand came under even harsher criticism for their lack of healthy options on their menu. The infamous scene where McDonalds’ fries were left for weeks in a container and did not mold caused discontent and concern over the ingredients used in McDonalds’ food.

As a result of this growing criticism, McDonalds has made a number of changes and rebrand decisions. 

While they have not changed their name, the McDonald’s brand has made significant efforts in changing their branding efforts, company offerings and efforts to appeal to more upscale clientele and healthy living advocates. These efforts can be seen in the efforts made to introduce the McDonalds Cafe offerings, healthy eating options and online ordering and delivery.

Apple
apple rebrand
Apple's rebrand in 1997 heralded a new era of consumer electronics. (https://thinkmarketingmagazine.com/apple-logo-evolution-story/)

In 1997, Apple was considered to be on the verge of bankruptcy when they decided to embark on a far-reaching rebrand. 

This rebrand helped to reinvigorate the brand, skyrocketing the brand to one of the top technology companies in the world. 

The primary catalyst for their change was the rebrand of their products into a consistent and easily recognizable brand. Their new logomark signalled modernity, sleekness and minimalism – values that helped differentiate themselves from their competitors and ones that heralded in a new era for consumer technology.

Netflix
rebranding netflix
A refresh rather than a rebrand, Netflix keeps it minimalistic while staying true to their roots. (https://www.logobee.com/logo-design-blog/post/netflix-logo-refreshed)

From its 1997 inception, Netflix has undergone many rebrands to account for their changing business models. From a mail-service video rental service to the largest streaming service online, Netflix has done an excellent job redesigning their brand to stay accountable and relevant, despite the introduction of other streaming services. 

Netflix‘s ability to adapt their brand to reflect its lighthearted, self-awareness across all social media platforms and its new business model at the same time has led to widespread success in capturing a large majority of the content streaming market. 

Facebook
facebook logo change

What once started out as a desktop website and app designed to connect college communities with one another has now evolved into a globalized communications company. As Facebook acquired more and more apps such as Instagram ,WhatsApp, Oculus, the company decided that they needed “a new company logo and further distinguishing” to differentiate “the Facebook company from the Facebook app.” 

While the app itself kept its original messaging system, the company as a whole needed something visual to separate itself from the app. As such, the only things that the company has modified are its logotype and typography. 

Advesa
advesa rebranding
Our new logotype was changed to better align with who we are as a company (https://advesa.com/)

When Advesa first began more than 5 years ago, the company was still in its infancy. Our logotype, typography and colours had, at the time, reflected who we were as a company but as time went on, we realized that these systems were no longer truly representative of who we were as a company. Ambiguity with our logotype and logo mark and at times, confusing colour scheme further cemented the fact that it was time for a fresh start. 

We began by reviewing our marketing materials. We aimed for visual consistency and standardization first, so the logomark and logotype were the first things that we changed. Colours followed closely after with typography and font coming soon after.

As experienced digital marketers ourselves, we understand the importance of an identity that grows, adapts and evolves alongside the business. The process was a transformative journey and one that helped cement our values, mission and philosophy with our brand.

At Advesa, a brand is more than just a logo and typography – it’s about telling a story. Learn more about how we rebranded in Advesa Spotlight Series – Advesa Rebrand Project.”

Key Takeaways for Rebrand

No matter the reasoning behind a company’s decision to rebrand, it is important to remember the many benefits and potential risks associated with a brand redesign. 

A rebranding strategy should be intentional and strategic with a significant investment made in research and development of new branding materials. This type of work can be done in-house, however we strongly recommend consulting a change management or brand specialist such as our team for your rebrand work.

Like our rebranding strategy? Interested in carrying one out for your business? Let us know.

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Vincent Lee

Written By Vincent Lee

The Managing Editor at Advesa, Vincent is a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, a lover of cats, and a purveyor of fine roasted matcha teas. When not writing, he enjoys exercising and biking around his beautiful hometown of Vancouver. He is also a strong supporter of the oxford comma.