When and Why is it Time to Rebrand?

Branding is important, and there’s a great deal more to it than your logo or tagline. It represents how your product, service and company are perceived in the marketplace. It’s about positioning, values, and character—all intangible qualities that the customer or prospect assigns to you. That’s right, your customers and prospects define your brand, not you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t influence it deliberately and strategically.

Why rebrand?

Companies invest significant resources in influencing and promoting their brands. And even the biggest of them may get a little queasy at the thought of modifying their brand, especially if it has worked well for many years. Still, there are several situations that warrant consideration of a brand refresh:

  • Your company has evolved over time, and your messaging may no longer accurately reflect what you do.
  • Your audience and/or market have shifted significantly.
  • You are launching a new product or service.
  • You need stronger positioning to make your company, product or service stand out among competitors.
  • You are merging with another company or planning for an IPO.

When is it time to rebrand?

Ideally, a brand could last 10, 15, or 20 years—perhaps even longer. There is no pre-determined shelf life for a brand. Its longevity is more dependent on how well the brand resonates with customers and prospects over time, as your organization grows, decision-makers change, and campaigns evolve. It’s not uncommon for companies to lose sight of their focus in the midst of these day-to-day changes. That’s when a brand refresh is in order.

Some of the oldest and most venerable brands will even make slight modifications over the years to remain relevant and meaningfully connected to their audiences, and to ensure that their visual identity (which is only one component of a brand) does not become dated.

How does the rebranding process work?

A rebranding process can take as little as three months, or as much as two years, depending on the size of your organization. Our own experience indicates six months as an average time to complete the process.

Clients are always curious about how branding is done, and rightfully so. The deliverables are somewhat intangible, and the investment is fairly significant. Our process, which has been proven over the course of many, many engagements, looks like this:

  • Brand Audit—This is a deep dive into your brand as it stands today, providing a visual overview of what it looks like at all of the customer touch points, from the logo, point-of-sale, signage, messaging and advertising, to packaging, web presence, and other marketing components.
  • Stakeholder Interviews—At this stage, we gather information inside the company to gauge how well your brand is aligned with your goals, your market, and your competitors. All of these elements are dynamic, and brands often need to evolve over time to ensure continued relevance and proper positioning.
  • Market Research—In many cases, additional outside research will better inform the process and reveal additional opportunities that should factor into the rebranding effort.
  • State of the Brand—After collecting all of the information outlined above, we compile it, make sense of it, and make recommendations based on what we’ve learned.
  • Visual Identity and Messaging—This is the step when tangible outcomes begin to take shape. It’s when we take what we’ve learned and apply it to the outward-facing components of your brand program. This may include a logo redesign, as well as changes to your website, social media presence, publications, packaging, and even the words you use in company communications—whether it’s the copy on your website, or the way you answer your phone.

We practice what we preach.

In addition to rebranding efforts we’ve led for clients like Kuhn Rikon, Jessie et Laurent Culinary and Bechtel Corporation, we recently undertook a rebranding effort of our own, with a stronger focus on brand systems as an integral piece of comprehensive marketing programs.

If it’s time to refresh your brand or you need guidance in making that decision, please contact us. We’d be happy to provide a 30-minute consultation at no cost to you.