Branding tree with ideas

How to Rebrand your Business

A significant percentage of businesses decide to rebrand at some point. Perhaps your old brand no longer serves your customers. Perhaps your business is evolving. Perhaps the graphics simply need a refresh to reflect your changing ethos? Whatever the driver, a business rebrand must be approached carefully or expensive mistakes can occur.

1. Know why you're rebranding

Make sure it's a valid reason, otherwise you'll waste time and money for no good purpose. Even worse, a poor rebrand could damage the brand equity that you've already built up. Test your reasoning before you forge ahead. Remember that you must have sufficient resources in place for it to be a success and this encompasses time, money and experienced professional marketing talent.

2. Aim to simplify

FedEx is a great example of an instantly recognisable brand. At the time it was invented to Federal Express’s endless other sub-business names and service brands. Nowadays, the entire business is marketed under FedEx with its distinctive logo that customers everywhere recognise. Where possible, simplify your brand. Consider it from the customer perspective at all turns. Customers don't care about endless sub-brands or colourways. They don't care how your business is set up internally or the divisions within which you work. They simply want to feel a connection with a brand that they recognise and value.

3. Plan the rebrand

Carry out customer research and insight, looking at your competition and market landscape as well as your internal business factors. The more planning you can carry out in advance, the better the rollout will be. Consider your budget and draw up a detailed plan that considers how and where the new brand will need to be used. For example, your website might require a re-skin and your print materials will need updating. Business signage, vehicle graphics, uniforms and product packaging will also need to be changed. The scope and expense involved in a rebrand can be significant, so don't underestimate the resources that you will need to carry it out. Work with marketing resources to create a launch campaign that is coordinated and which works across all channels and touch points.

4. Consider your purpose, mission and values

A brand must be built on a sound and meaningful foundation. Take some time to define your organisational purpose, mission and values. Once you have these in place, they can be used to guide every decision that you make and to drive the direction of the new brand. Brands without this foundation are little more than marketing straplines and jazzy images. Those with real meaning behind them will invariably resonate more strongly with customers and build better brand loyalty. Remember too that today's customers want to patronise businesses that play a social and ethical role in the world, so think beyond profits!

5. Use a quality designer

A rebrand is far more than a new logo. Use a professional designer who can understand what you wish to convey with your new brand, explaining the mission, purpose and values defined above for insight. The designer will need to provide a new logo and accompanying visual assets. They should also be commissioned to produce templates and brand guidelines. Ask the designer to create a full suite of digital and print logos and visuals that can become a resource base for the future.

6. Communicate it effectively

It's important to anticipate all of the questions you are likely to have about your new brand. Remember, in order to really support your new brand, your stakeholders must first understand it. Create an FAQ, use key messages and develop resources that include digital guides, press releases, employee briefings, shareholder updates and other resources. Get these signed off in advance.

7. Remember your documentation

A brand must be guarded and well managed in order to be a success. Create a brand style guide, which is basically a set of guidelines detailing usage, colour themes and parameters. Authorise appropriate sign-offs. Provide guidelines that partners and suppliers can use.

8. Manage the process carefully

Use an experienced brand manager to carry out the rebrand process, working with an agency or freelancers as necessary for specialist support. For example, in addition to professionally produced graphics, colour palettes and visual assets, you may want to have new copy and key messaging produced that better reflects your new brand. The brand manager must focus on the rollout by using a carefully prepared plan and by providing regular progress updates to senior managers. They will also need to take a policing role to ensure that the new brand is being used appropriately, fully and correctly in line with your new guidelines.

By following these steps and approaching your rebrand in a planned, staged and thoughtful way - with the customer at its heart - your work will pay off and you'll see your awareness, engagement and long-term brand loyalty grow.

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