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How to pull off a successful rebrand

How to Pull Off a Successful Rebrand

August 27, 2021

Any experienced business owner knows how important branding and identity are to the success of any brand. 

However, failing to invest in branding is a common mistake among new business owners. The visual aspect of your business, such as logo, website design and packaging, may seem somewhat superficial or just simply not the priority in the early stages of launching a brand, but these aspects play a key role in establishing your brand’s identity and ensuring your business is memorable to customers. 

This negligence often leads to a rebrand later down the road. But even if you missed the mark in the beginning and desperately need a brand overhaul, the process can be pretty daunting and hard to get right. Even if your new branding is better, your current customers, social media followers and email subscribers have come to know you by your previous visual assets, and it can take some getting used to when a business suddenly rebrands. 

When is it time to rebrand?

There are several reasons why a company may feel it’s necessary to rebrand. 

  • You simply no longer like your logo or brand aesthetic, perhaps because it’s become dated or no longer represents your brand’s values and ethos 
  • You may be expanding your business and need a brand image with broader appeal
  • You may have come to realise that your branding isn’t setting you apart from your competitors

Rebranding can be time consuming and costly, so make sure it’s the right direction for your business before taking the leap. 

How do you successfully rebrand?

Build foundations

You can’t begin to rebrand unless you fully understand your brand’s mission and values – you need a clear vision for the future. 

What makes your company unique or special? Why did you start it in the first place? What values do you share with your target audience? These are the questions you should ask yourself (and your team) in order to really establish your mission and goals. 

From here you can determine your brand’s tone of voice. All of these elements come together to form the foundation of your branding, from which you can build your identity. 

Do your research

Before you get any designs created, you should do plenty of research. Look at what your competitors do and determine how you can stand apart from them. Are there any trends emerging in your industry? If there are current trends that make sense for your brand, you may want to embrace them. It’s also a good idea to carry out some market research in the early stages of design, to ensure your vision/mission resonates with your customers.

Consult a professional

If you have no experience in graphic design, it’s definitely best to consult a professional graphic designer who knows how to carry out a successful rebrand. They can help you to bring your ideas to life, ensure the process runs smoothly and create professional quality assets that represent your brand to the highest standards. 

Devise a strategy

A creative strategy is very important to make sure you stay on track, especially if you’re wiping the slate clean with a full rebrand. 

Having a strategy in place ensures you and your team know what your objectives are and how you’re going to reach them. Having a timeline in place with a relaunch date will help to keep the process on track and moving in the right direction. 

If you are implementing a partial rebrand, now’s the time to ensure your existing brand assets and new branding are consistent.

Get feedback

Once you’ve got some new brand assets it’s a good idea to test the water with focus groups or online surveys. Find out what your target customers think of your branding, for example is it memorable, does it make them want to learn more etc. 

You can then move forward knowing what’s working, what needs tweaking and can launch your rebrand with confidence.

Create/update your brand guidelines

We would highly recommend you have a set of brand guidelines/a handbook in place once you’ve perfected your brand identity. This document is where you’ll store all of the elements that makeup your brand. This can then be referred to by all of your team, present and future, to ensure your branding always remains consistent going forward. Your brand guidelines should include an overview of your history and values, your vision/mission statement, tone of voice and examples, details on your logo, your colour palette and typography style such as fonts. 

What are examples of rebranding?

Gucci takes a risk with contemporary new look

At the beginning of 2020, high-end fashion house Gucci caused a stir with a new logo and accompanying promotional materials as part of their Fall/Winter 2020 Men’s Collection launch campaign. Whilst the logo was temporary, it drew a lot of attention due to its stark contrast to the brand’s previously classic look. 

The scrawling font resembled a child’s handwriting, designed to evoke the image of a children’s birthday party, accompanied by slogans such as ‘Rave like you are five.’ It was certainly a bold move, and was met with criticism and praise alike. The point, though, is that it got people talking, tweeting, even arguing. So from a PR perspective, the risk paid off. Gucci has proven that a temporary rebrand can be enough to attract attention to a new campaign. 

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Image credit: Gucci

McDonald’s: from ‘Supersize Me’ to café chic 

McDonald’s has faced its fair share of backlash over the years, especially after the release of documentary ‘Supersize Me’, which drew attention to just how unhealthy the fast food chain’s menu really is. 

McDonald’s has since tried to rebrand itself as more health conscious, adding a variety of nutritious options to the menu such as salads and fruit bags.

What’s perhaps most interesting about their rebrand however is the introduction of a premium coffee menu. Whilst McCafé has actually been in existence since the 90s, it wasn’t launched in the UK until 2013. Fancy frappes and sweet syrups were bound to appeal to the coffee crowd, and the café aspect of the fast food chain definitely improved its image and attracted a new type of customer who previously may have avoided the restaurant. Clearly it worked, as McDonald’s Corp. reported a 5.3% rise in January sales at locations open more than a year.

McCafe - Instagram
Image credit: @mcdonaldsuk on Instagram

Instagram modernises its logo

Instagram is one of the largest and most beloved social media platforms in 2021. Whilst its pink, orange and purple ombre logo has become very familiar to its users by now, the choice to rebrand in 2016 was somewhat controversial among its 1 billion users at the time. 

First launched in 2010, Instagram is a relatively young platform, allowing users to share photos and videos which has become the social media channel of choice for influencers. Because of the photo-first concept, Instagram’s polaroid-style camera logo was a fitting choice. So why change it?

Instagram did keep the camera image that has become so closely associated with the brand. But the style and colour scheme of the logo changed completely, opting for bold colours and a minimalistic design. The majority of Instagram users are young, falling into the millennial and Gen Z demographics. The new logo is more modern and youthful, so the rebrand made perfect sense. 

Instagram old and new logoi

How do you run a rebranding campaign?

Whilst some businesses may choose to rebrand quietly, in order to prepare your existing customers for the change, you may want to plan a campaign in order to build hype around the launch and get people excited. 

We’ve recently seen this kind of marketing from the Kardashian-Jenner clan, with both Kim and Kylie temporarily closing down their online stores to rebrand their cosmetics lines. 

Whilst closing will realistically not be an option for most businesses (they have other revenue streams to rely on such as their own TV show and other business ventures), creating a countdown on social media to let people know something big is coming is a simple but effective strategy. 

You could also offer special promotions on launch day or run a competition with the winners announced on the day you make the switch to new branding.

Need a hand with your rebrand? We have a range of creative services delivered by experienced design experts – get in touch to have a chat.

Written by Andy

Andy is Venture Stream’s Chief Operating Officer and has over 15 years’ experience in ecommerce consultancy, design and retail marketing.

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