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The 4 rebranding strategies for business success

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When you started your business, you put together your brand identity. Now, for one of several possible reasons, you find yourself preparing to rebrand. Rebranding your business can be a tricky proposition, so we’ve put together some information about rebranding, when you should consider rebranding, and four strategies for doing it right.

What is rebranding?

Branding is a name, term, design, symbol, or feature that identifies your company as distinct from others. It presents a memorable impression that increases your company’s value. Your brand identity includes logos, typography, colors, packaging, and messaging. Rebranding is changing, updating, or improving one or more of these elements. Rebranding falls into three categories.

  • A brand refresh changes minor details—modernizing your logo or subtly changing the color palette you use.
  • A partial rebrand changes some elements of your brand identity, like changing your logo but using the themes and colors from your old logo.
  • A full rebrand changes absolutely everything about your existing brand identity. You start from scratch as if it was a completely new company.

When you are considering your company’s marketing strategy and rebranding, you should try to develop a strategic and fresh brand that is relevant and familiar to your customers. There are advantages and risks within rebranding, so the strategy requires careful consideration.

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When to consider rebranding

Rebranding can give new life to a brand that’s not well aligned with its company values, vision, and market. But you may also risk losing some of your existing customers. Does your situation warrant rebranding? Here are a few scenarios in which a company may consider rebranding:

New products or services

Are you breaking into an entirely new market with completely different product offerings? Maybe you’re changing your pricing structure to offer a version of your luxury products at an affordable cost. Companies may also go through a rebranding if they’re adding new ingredients or materials—such as organic or recycled—into their product mix. Rebranding is a good way to introduce yourself to a new customer base and garner attention for your new features or product offerings. 

Example:

China’s Origo Coffee decided to take advantage of the growing popularity of coffee by introducing local specialty coffees. Its old branding did not reflect the modern, sophisticated, yet authentically Chinese experience in their shops.

A new logo, an illustration of a bird feeding on coffee beans, a deep color palette, and all new messaging are part of their new brand identity.

New locations

Your business is growing and you’re considering expanding into new locations as a chain or into the international market where they aren’t familiar with your current brand. You’ll likely be making major changes to your marketing strategy, and a rebrand may prove to be an advantage.

Example:

Jumbo is an online lottery ticket retailer in Australia. Its plan to expand globally required a rebrand that could help the company reach its goals. The new brand slogan is, “Imagine More,” and is symbolized by their elephant mascot—he embodies the idea of big excitement, dreams, and jackpots.

Market repositioning

When you reposition your company to target a new market, your branding needs updating. Whether you’re making the change based on product, price, or promotion, your brand needs to reflect your new market position.

Example:

SurveyMonkey recently rebranded its parent company as we embraced our business strategy to move upmarket with Momentive. Our iconic survey platform isn’t going anywhere, but SurveyMonkey as a brand has outgrown its name. Our brand has become much more than surveys. That’s why the SurveyMonkey product remains, but our brand is expanding.

Momentive encompasses solutions for the wide variety of complex challenges our customers are facing. We think the new branding captures the momentum our customers are driving for—what do you think? Reach out on social media with #WeAreMomentive to let us know!

New philosophy or values

If your company’s mission, vision, and values are shifting and changing your business direction, reevaluate your brand to ensure it complements the new direction. If not, rebranding will be necessary.

Example

When Airbnb started out, it was a service to help travelers with tight budgets find cheap lodging or a couch to sleep on instead of spending money on an expensive hotel. According to the founders, the brand identity was created quickly to get their business started. 

As the company exploded into a global hospitality provider, the owners recognized that it needed a rebrand. They needed it to be less focused on the booking technology and more focused on people and places. Nicer places were being listed and Airbnb became less about renting inexpensive housing and more about the experience of renting out and staying in homes. In the case of their new product, Airbnb Luxe, homes that are extraordinary and luxurious.

In addition to a new vision and mission, they updated their logo to better represent the Airbnb community. They named the logo “Bélo,” from the word belong, and it signifies belonging through shared travel experiences.

Mergers and acquisitions

When two companies merge or one acquires another, it shouldn’t be a battle of the brands. Instead, create a new brand that reflects the vision, mission, and values of the new business to prevent confusion and start building trust with customers. 

Example: When Continental Airlines and United Airlines merged, they kept the name United Airlines and used the Continental globe logo. Eventually, they dropped Airlines from their branding and are currently just known as United.

To repair brand reputation

It’s unfortunate when a company’s brand name and logo become associated with a public misstep or marred reputation. Sometimes rebranding can win back customers with a new, original take. Rebranding for a fresh start may help your brand move forward and in a new direction.

Example:

Burberry is a luxury fashion brand now, but at one time, they lowered prices to appeal to a wider target market. This resulted in their iconic tartan plaid being associated with gang wear in London. 

They rebranded and updated their marketing and pricing to reflect the upscale elegance they wanted to portray. Celebrities featured heavily in their new marketing and rebranding. 

Reasons not to rebrand

Before you start working on rebranding, consider whether it’s really the best solution. Rebranding your business takes time, money, and a lot of work. Here are some reasons you shouldn’t rebrand:

Reaction to low sales cycle

Your brand identity isn’t to blame for a single low sales cycle. Do some social listening, competitor research, and look at market trends. Find out if you have the right target market for your product and if you’re addressing their needs in a way that fits. Rebranding isn’t necessarily the answer in this case, but other marketing strategies may help.

Poor brand awareness

Rebranding will eliminate any brand recognition you’ve built up to this point. To improve brand awareness, do some market research, assess your strategies, and adjust your marketing accordingly.

Advantages of rebranding

There are several advantages to rebranding your company. Giving your business a fresh, current look and feel can keep you top-of-mind for customers and differentiate you from your competition. 

  • Rekindle interest in your brand and products
  • Achieve new goals, such as:
    • Creating and introducing new products
    • Introducing new features to existing products
    • Improving employee engagement 
  • Increase engagement on social media
  • Strengthen and streamline your messaging

Risks of rebranding

Rebranding is not without risk. Be sure to look at both advantages and risks before you make the decision to rebrand.

  • Confusion from the market and customers brought on by new branding
  • Loss of customers 
  • Increased expenses to create and build your new brand such as those associated with:
    • Content writing
    • Graphic design
    • Marketing campaigns
    • Advertising
    • Engineering

Try these 4 rebranding strategies for business success

Once you’ve decided that rebranding is necessary for your business, these four strategies will make the process smooth and successful.

  1. Change your logo

Breathe new life into your brand with a new logo. A logo should be updated to reflect changes in the company and modern design trends. For example, in 2022, we’re seeing many brands adopt logos that are flat, minimalist, and nostalgic.

  1. Shift your brand positioning

Once you’ve changed your logo, it’s time to shift your brand positioning. You’ll want to communicate your new marketing message that highlights your new vision, mission, and values.

Example:

In the 1990s, department store Target was lumped in with discount stores such as Walmart and Kmart. Target shifted its brand positioning by introducing product lines from designers Isaac Mizrahi, Mossimo Giannulli, Missoni, and others, the company was able to rebrand as a store that offers chic, affordable goods that are a cut above discount stores.

  1. New advertising

When you have your logo and messaging ready, it’s time to create new content for your advertising campaigns. Ads that communicate the changes you’ve made to your brand and what you’ll deliver to your customers will help you zero in on new demographics and reach larger audiences.

Example

Before 2004, Dove was one of many toiletry companies with nothing to set its brand apart from the competition. When they launched their Real Women campaign, they changed the whole tone of their brand. The campaign moved away from the standard use of unrealistically beautiful models in advertising to using real women and embracing the beauty in every woman.

The brand continues to feature messages of empowerment, using hashtags #RealBeauty, #Real, and #RealStrength (for its men’s lines) in its website, ads, and social media.

  1. Update brand voice

It’s time to update the perspective that your marketing content comes from. It can be formal, casual, witty, sweet, or anything else. Change your brand’s voice and make sure you announce your rebrand in your new voice!

Example:

Old Spice built their brand with longevity in mind, but younger consumers didn’t appreciate a brand that was associated with being old and established. Old Spice rebranded its 70-year-old brand in 2010, including commercials featuring NFL player, Isaiah Mustafa. 

By using a more modern brand voice Old Spice went from being Grandpa’s deodorant to a men’s toiletry brand with a clever sense of humor and much wider appeal.

Additional resources for rebranding:

How to make the most of your rebranding

Your strategy is as individual as your business but to ensure rebranding success, use these steps to guide your efforts.

Set goals and objectives

What are you looking to achieve with your rebranding? 

  • Increased lead generation
  • Improved competitive positioning
  • Appeal to a different demographic
  • Change “old” brand to be viewed as updated and modern
  • Something else

Of course, these are just a few examples to get you started. When you create your brand goals, make sure they are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.

Do your research

Market research is the basis for many business decisions and rebranding is no different. 

Start by interviewing employees and managers about brand perceptions. Gather any ideas they have for change. Move on to interviewing or surveying your customers and gather feedback about what they need from your brand. 

Next, gather data from your website analytics, social media data, and email information. What does this tell you about the public perception of your brand?

Competitive research should be on your to-do list as well. This will help guide you in developing your brand positioning, messaging, and differentiation.

Define your audience

Once you have your goals set and research ready, it’s time to figure out who your target customers are. Who was your target audience when you started out? Is it still the same or has it become wider or narrower? Where are your biggest opportunities for growth? If your audience has changed and you’re targeting a new segment, focus on it right after the brand relaunch.

Take a holistic approach

Rebranding is more than a new logo and colors. Rebranding includes everything about your brand. It can include your values, mission, vision, brand personality, positioning, differentiation, visual elements, and more. 

All of the elements of your rebranding should work together to present one holistic picture that is driven by the goals you set in the first step.

Stay true to your core values

Yes, you’re redefining your brand. But, yes, it’s still your company, based on your core values. Your positioning and differentiation may change, but your core values should stay the same.

Plan the launch

When you launch your rebrand, do it big and loud! Roll everything out at once to clearly communicate the change in your brand identity. Make sure that whatever channel your customers find you on, they find the rebranded you.

Ready for rebranding?

Is time to refresh your brand? Start with some brand performance research with SurveyMonkey. We’ll help you monitor your rebranding with tools to grow brand awareness, measure brand reputation, evolve brand perception, and more.

Get started with your market research

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