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The Ultimate Guide to Rebranding Your Business

Two business people high five in an office setting
Joe Martin

Having a good brand is a critical piece of any small business marketing strategy. 

Your brand is a set of features that helps to distinguish your company from another. These features include the name of your company, logo, tagline, design, product, packaging, and customer experience. Branding deals with creating and using these features to differentiate your company from your competitors.

Overall, your brand represents an expression of your company’s values and what you stand for. These values, the ability to deliver and to stay true to what you stand for can help to win customers’ loyalty.

Branding and the marketing efforts that go with it is no easy task and many companies have to even go so far as to rebrand to stay relevant to their target market. If that’s your company, this article takes a comprehensive look at how to make it happen.

What is Rebranding?

A complete rebranding strategy covers various aspects of your company’s personality, including logo, slogan, website, marketing materials, mission statement and objectives. Most of the time rebranding is a natural phase of growth and it is done to align with market trends and customer expectations. However, in some instances, rebranding is done after mergers and acquisitions by other companies.

For example, the Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group merger resulted in the two companies rebranding into The Kraft Heinz Company. But not every merger and acquisition ends in a rebrand. When Disney acquired both Pixar and a few years later, Marvel, both brands kept their respective brand identities but now fall under the Disney umbrella.

Key Reasons for Rebranding your Business

So is rebranding really that good of an idea? Well it depends. It carries a lot of risk, but there can also be a lot of reward. It takes a lot of insight, market research, and identification of brand touchpoints, as well as a laid out plan to have a successful outcome.

Merger and acquisition aside, here are a few key points to consider whether or not you should rebrand your business.

Expanding to International Markets

Going global is great and when it happens you need to be sure that your new target audience understands your brand name and marketing materials. Many brands today consider creating a website the equivalent of going global and oftentimes it calls for rebranding.

If your website receives traffic from visitors around the world, rebranding will make sure nothing gets lost in translation.

Targeting a New Customer Profile

What people want from businesses is constantly evolving. And unless you’re the baker behind sliced bread, you’ll have to evolve your product or service at some point. That’s where a rebrand comes in. By performing market research on your key demographic, you can stay up to date with what your crowd is hungry for.

In a bid to win over younger demographics and shed their bad reputation, social media giant Facebook adopted the new name of Meta and hopes to steer their image towards one of innovation and virtual reality. The current demographic popular for Facebook (now Meta) is facing an “aging up issue” and CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes this rebrand catches the attention of younger crowds. But with a projected teenage user decline of 45% in the next two years time will tell if this rebrand works.

Adopting a New Vision

A business owner looks over data results while considering rebranding his company.

Pay close attention to what the data is telling you when it comes to rebranding your business 

The vision, mission, and values of your company are what creates your foundation. It tells your customers what you care about and is the pedal behind your marketing drive. So what happens if your values no longer align with what the business is about? Just as culture, taste, and Ben and Jerry ice cream options evolve, so should your brand.

Does that mean you ditch them all together? Nope! It means you reevaluate and decide on a new vision for the business in a rebrand. Take the journey of CVS for a prime example.

Before, CVS, known then as “CVS Caremark,” sold everything from protein shakes, to prescriptions to cigarettes. Yep, you read that right, cigarettes. And they made a profit off the tobacco product as well. But what kind of messaging did that send to customers who hope to live a healthier life? In a bid to reevaluate their values, CVS became known as CVS Health (a name adoption that clearly states what they’re all about) and ditched the selling of any tobacco products in their stores.

CVS Health implemented a new vision where they wanted their customers to know that they’re a place of health and healing. And while they’re not on every corner of happy and healthy, their rebrand efforts made a world of difference.

Mergers and Acquisitions Takes Place 

As stated earlier, mergers and acquisitions happen when one company acquires another and usually results in rebranding to some degree. Remember that example of Disney acquiring Marvel but you still see that red logo chalked full of Avenger’s scenes as show starts? Disney kept the all-too familiar Marvel brand even with the merger.

Remember it’s not a bad thing to go through a merger and acquisition. Merging with another company can result in larger market shares, better teams for research and development, and a reduction of financial risk.

If your company is going through a acquisition and merger, make sure you have a good understanding of what the buying company has in mind for your business and that it fits with your defined goals and success factors. It can be helpful to create a transition team so both sides have open communication so all involved are on the same page.

Reasons Not to Rebrand your Business

It’s What the Cools Kids Are Doing

Remember that old saying, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it? It applies to rebrand best practices as well. If your rebrand efforts stem from competitive pressure rather than honest market research and data, then brace for impact. A rebrand is your business’s way of signaling to the public that you care about meeting challenges and are willing to change, not that you worry about keeping up with the times. Rebranding is a big deal and should be done delicately. Not so you can sit with the cool kids on Wednesdays wearing pink.

That doesn’t mean you necessarily stomp to the beat of your own drum. While we love an individualist, a successful business provides what the public wants. So don’t get stuck in your ways either. Before you make any move towards a rebrand, research, research and research some more. That includes running focus groups, performing target analysis, and researching competitors.

It could be that you’re doing everything right at the moment. Or if you’re not, your research will give you a better picture of what to do next.

Cover-Up Internal or External Problems

Brand reputation plays one of the biggest parts in a company’s success. How the public sees you may make or break your sales. If your company is having internally issues, a rebrand unfortunately is not the answer. As the business owner, you need to get to the bottom of the issues at hand and then, if the situation calls for it, think about rebranding.

If you want to rebrand because of external problems (i.e. bad reputation with the public), it won’t be the quick fix solution you’re looking for. To the public, you may come across as trying to hide behind a new name or run away from negative publicity. The only way a rebrand can help with a reputation crisis is if your business actually makes changes and sticks with it. But that will take time and effort.

Smoke Signal New Management 

Just because a new CEO joins a company isn't a good enough reason to rebrand the business. True, they may want to make some changes, but a rebrand is only necessary if the company's business goals shift or changes need to be made to accommodate the evolving needs of the key audience. While an internal celebration of new management should be celebrated, there's no need to completely change the company as well. 

How to Rebrand a Company?

There is no one-solution-fit-all approach when it comes to a company rebranding. However, it generally goes through three phases; ideation, production and promotion.

1. Ideation

This stage of your rebranding strategy may involve the following six steps:

  • In-depth Market Research

As your business expands, you will need to conduct in-depth market research. This type of information will help you gather the data you need to better understand the needs and wants of current and prospective clients, along with what your competitors are doing to meet those needs.

  • Reevaluate your Vision, Mission and Values

Three questions you need to ask yourself when reevaluating your vision, mission and values are:

  • What are you doing?

  • How are you doing it?

  • Why you are doing it

These may change as your business grows so you want to be sure that they are defining what your business hopes to achieve and what you want your brand to stand for.

  • Renaming your Company

It may be a good idea to rename your company if the name no longer aligns with your new vision, mission and values. However, if your brand is established and popular, changing the name may not be the best move. Conducting market research will help determine if a name change is necessary. For example, Dunkin Donuts rebranded their name to just Dunkin in a nod to loyal customers who have referred to the popular donuts and coffee shop for years as just ‘Dunkin’. This signals to their audience that they are interested in what they have to say.

  • Shifting your Brand Voice

You will need to change your brand voice if the vision, direction and target markets of your company are changing. Freelance eCommerce site Fiverr set about to make a change but they used their community to guide them—literally. They wanted to emphasize their user experience while maintaining the quirky fun tone their known for. So they engaged with the community and their employees (going so far as using community members as models for their site’s imagery), and were able to update their brand voice that combined the old with the new.

  • Reassessing Your Brand’s Visual Identity

Similar to naming your brand, you want to align your visual branding with your new business direction and target markets. That includes updating your logo, color palette, imagery, and even typography.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) made a huge impact when they changed their visual identity to be one of inclusivity. They ditched their old blue branding and embraced over a dozen new colors on their signature palette to signify unity and change. A smart move according to a study done by the University of Loyola which showed that color can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.

  • Partial vs Total Rebrand

If your business is well established and your brand is popular, you have more to lose from a rebrand. However, if a rebrand is necessary, you do have the option of a partial rebrand. This means it's more of an adjustment to your current branding strategy and helps maintain loyalty while also giving you space to make some adjustments.

For a successful example of a partial rebrand look no further than your armpit. When Axe came on to the scene, Old Spice felt the squeeze and the long time company needed to regroup in order to appeal to the younger crowd. Enter their manpaign. Using this strategy, Old Spice launched their Manliness 101 look and developed a cheeky identity that worked. The important part? Old Spice has maintained its brand foundation while adopting a modern feel.

2. Production/Implementation Phase

Ready for the next phase? You want to have your brand guidelines handy for this one. In case you don’t know (which is not good) your brand guidelines consists of your logo element, color palette, the do’s and don’t’s of how to use your brand, tone of voice, and general design elements for your company.

For the production and implementation phase, you want to update your brand guidelines so they reflect the new branding campaign for your business. Make sure to make those changes everywhere, including your website, social media accounts, apps, offline and online content, ads, official documents, signages, product packing and create or update your Google My Business Page. Use this opportunity to make sure you are ranking well for SEO target keywords for search engines such as Google or Yahoo.

Quality control is going to be key here so be sure you and your marketing team are reviewing the new material. If you plan to overhaul your website during rebranding, you will need to have an internal or external team to redirect visitors to your new site and monitor online traffic. That’s where having a marketing team may come in handy. Companies like Scorpion can take your branding efforts to the next level and let you get back to what’s important to your company.

A woman shops at a local store.

Caption: Customers will be excited to browse your promotional products after a rebrand. 

3. Promotion Phase

Now comes the fun part. All your hard work and innovation can be celebrated by the promotion phase. As you prepare to relaunch your company with the new changes, here are a few ways to generate some excitement around your rebrand:

  • Give your Audience a Peek of what’s Coming

Provide behind-the-scenes snippets and clips to spark interest in the changes to come.

  • Tap into the Media

Send out press releases and reach out to other sites and publishers who are open to creating content regarding your rebranding.

  • Work with Influencers

Find influencers in your niche and have them help to increase your brand awareness. You can have them run contests or give out discount codes or any other advertising tactics that can help you reach more customers. This works well if you’re targeting a new demographic.

There is no one-solution-fit-all when it comes to rebranding, but with careful planning, research and preparation, you have the opportunity to add to your already established foundation. Just remember to be true to what how you want your business to run.

For additional marketing help, contact Scorpion and start seeing the results you want.

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