Recently I connected with one of our client’s, Asia Dizon, who we worked with on a multi-faceted rebranding project. We asked Asia for her insights on rebranding to include in this article, however she did us one better and put together a feature piece for us to share with you: An expert guide to rebranding where she breaks it all down in 5 comprehensive steps. In addition to our conversation with Asia, to help navigate the complex process of rebranding, we’ve gathered insights from 16 industry experts, including founders, CEOs, and marketing professionals.
From evaluating your website and brand messaging to measuring the success, these leaders share their top considerations and strategies for a successful rebranding journey. We had four main areas of discussion on our mind:
- Why do companies rebrand?
- Where do companies start when considering rebranding?
- What are some of the components of rebranding?
- How do you launch a rebrand?
One main theme occurred throughout all of the responses – Research! Companies need to start with research to see if there is a need to rebrand, then research to find out what components need to be refreshed, and then research to find out how the new brand assets are being received. Kind of like a cycle.
Let’s dive in on their top comments below:
Why do Companies Choose to Rebrand?
It’s crucial to start by understanding the motivations behind the rebrand. This could include shifting market dynamics, evolving customer needs, or a desire to differentiate from competitors. Conducting market research, customer surveys, and competitor analysis can help identify what is important and why.
Then it’s essential to define your brand positioning, values, and messaging. This involves articulating your unique value proposition and creating a compelling brand story that resonates with your target audience.
Resonate with Your Target Audience
Some businesses undergo a full rebrand to resonate with their audience more effectively. For example, let’s say your ideal customers are commenting on social media and leaving feedback in your surveys that your logo and website are a little too old-school.
With these anecdotes in mind, a brand “makeover” can help tell a message that is more favorable to the ideal consumer and, ultimately, lead to higher profits.
Involve Employees and Update Brand Touchpoints
We went through a complete rebranding two years ago. How we started is a company-wide meeting and asked all our employees to fill out a questionnaire. That provided us with direction on what type of business we are and what type of business we want to be. We compiled all that information and then started on a website rebrand. After we had the design of the website, we redid our packaging and print material to match the website.
The reason we did a rebrand was that it was over 10 years since we updated our brand. The company went from a small few-person operation to now over 25 people and felt like we needed to look more professional and updated.
Identify Objectives and Test Rebrand
Before starting the rebranding process, we clearly identified the objectives and reasons for rebranding.
For us, common reasons include an outdated image, expansion into new markets, a merger or acquisition, a change in target audience, and even repositioning the company. Before launching the rebrand, it’s essential to test it with a select group of customers or stakeholders to gather feedback. This can help identify any potential issues or concerns and allow for adjustments before the official launch.
Where do Companies Start the Rebranding Process?
Evaluate Website and Brand Messaging
Rebranding your website for a better connection with your audience can be an effective way to create more engagement, increase brand recognition, and better represent your company.
Start by evaluating your current website and brand messaging; what are the strongest aspects? What areas can use improvement? Take this information and create a plan for how to reshape your brand to meet the needs of your audience. Make sure that you establish clear objectives, including desired outcomes from the rebranding process.
Systematic Rebranding Process
The correct way to go through a rebranding strategy is to start at the very beginning at the point of brand discovery. This is where we unpack the history of the company both with internal documentation and external resources, which include social listening and customer feedback.
At SmashBrand, we believe in a systematic process that includes assessments, research, strategy, and testing throughout the rebranding process. The reason we do not wait until the end to perform consumer testing is to be certain we are not heading in the wrong direction. In many cases (if they test at all) waiting until the end leads to even the best branding strategy being mediocre at best.
Prioritize Customer Feedback
During a company rebranding strategy, one of the top things to consider is the customer’s feedback on potential changes. For example, rather than relying solely on market research or surveys to inform decisions about product packaging, companies should also turn to social media for customer input—like an Instagram story poll about color options—and consider how others will perceive their brand’s message.
Companies should find out what elements their customers value most in order to craft new messaging and visuals that bring them together under one unified narrative. After gathering all of the necessary data and creating a thorough plan of execution, companies can then launch the rebranding with confidence.
Rebranding is an important exercise because it helps create a meaningful connection with customers by communicating values, expressing personality, and demonstrating relevance.
Analyze Data and Update Branding Components
Rebranding is a major undertaking that requires a lot of time and energy. It commonly involves analyzing customer and market data to determine gaps and create desirable positioning within the marketplace.
As a common example, companies could look at emerging trends in user behavior or adopt creative problem-solving methods such as prototyping to best understand their current position in their industry. From there, they should develop an effective strategy to create or update branding components such as visuals, logo designs, messaging, mission statements, and more.
Ultimately, if done properly, a rebranded company can attract customers with clear messaging and resonate with them emotionally through carefully crafted visuals while driving revenue and creating loyalty over the long term.
What are Some of the Components of Rebranding?
Ensure Consistency and Alignment
During rebranding, it’s crucial to maintain consistency and alignment with the company’s values, vision, and target audience. The rebranding strategy should encompass key elements such as market research, brand positioning, visual identity updates, messaging, internal alignment, and a well-executed launch plan.
Thorough market research helps understand the target audience and competition. Defining the brand’s unique value proposition and differentiators strengthens brand positioning. Updating visual elements ensures they align with the desired brand image. Crafting compelling messaging and engaging stakeholders internally are essential.
Rebranding can serve various purposes, such as adapting to market changes or reflecting company transformations.
Create Emotional Connection
The emotional effect that it will have on your target audience is one factor to consider while rebranding.
Beyond visual components, a successful rebranding emphasizes forging a strong emotional bond with customers. Understanding their goals, aspirations, and pain areas is necessary in order to link your new brand identity with the intended emotional response.
You can develop a distinctive and captivating brand experience that connects emotionally with your audience by carefully developing your brand story, including meaningful messaging, and utilizing storytelling strategies. Increased brand loyalty, customer engagement, and ultimately corporate success can result from this.
Implement a Comprehensive Strategy
A company rebranding strategy involves a comprehensive approach to refreshing a brand’s image or identity, and it typically includes:
1. Clarify the business reason for rebranding: Leaders should identify the underlying reasons for rebranding and the objectives they hope to achieve.
2. Conduct Market Research: Before launching a rebranding initiative, the business has to gather data about the preferences, buying habits, and expectations of its target audience.
3. Develop a new brand strategy: The new branding strategy should incorporate the organization’s values, mission, products, services, and target audience. It should accomplish the business goals and be made flexible enough to provide a framework for future business decisions.
4. Create a new visual identity: A new logo, color scheme, typography, photography, and language will have to be designed. The design approach should align with the new brand values, strategy, and target audience.
Check for Copyright Infringement
Running checks for copyright infringement is one of the top things to consider during rebranding.
As part of your rebranding exercise, you invariably aim for a complete revamp that includes new logos, images, and text that will come to define the new brand you and your team have strategized.
Remember, however, that this new branding exercise must also meet copyright laws so that your exciting new brand steers clear of legal trouble. Copyright infringement is always a risk when you create new logos, use existing images, or create or recreate content. So even as you begin your new branding strategy, make sure that these elements go straight from the drawing board to a thorough copyright review process.
Once you’re certain your new brand is not infringing upon any other business or individual’s intellectual or creative property, you can trademark the new brand as your own. Consider launching your new, revamped brand only after you’ve put it through these critical steps.
How to Launch a Rebrand
Embrace Incremental Change in Rebranding
When I launched my own firm, it went through a few iterations. One thing I quickly learned is that rebranding isn’t always the risk people assume it to be.
The key is incremental change. You don’t want to create a brand with no ties to your previous image—this practically guarantees customer confusion. Instead, link your new brand to your existing existence. A great example is niching down: your new strategy is narrower, but it’s not totally unfamiliar to anyone who has worked with you before.
By tweaking your public image, instead of completely renewing it, clients will see a company dedicated to constant evolution. Slow and thoughtful changes suggest a natural progression, not a panicked pivot.
Balance Brand Consistency and Evolution
One of the top things to consider during the rebranding process is maintaining brand consistency while embracing evolution.
While rebranding aims to bring about positive change and align with new business objectives, retaining key elements that have made the brand recognizable and memorable to its audience is essential.
Consistency in visual identity, such as logos, color schemes, and typography, helps maintain brand recognition and establishes a sense of familiarity. Additionally, ensuring consistent messaging and brand values across all communication channels and touchpoints reinforces the brand’s identity and strengthens its customer connection.
It is crucial to evaluate current market trends, target audience preferences, and competitor landscapes to identify areas where the brand can evolve while staying true to its core values.
A successful rebranding strategy requires careful planning, clear communication, and a thorough understanding of the brand’s target audience and competitive landscape. It’s also important to measure your success. Measuring the success of a rebranding strategy involves tracking specific metrics over time that align with the goals of the rebrand. Some common key performance indicators (KPIs) include:
– Brand awareness: This measures how well your target audience recognizes your brand. You can track this by conducting surveys or using tools like Google Analytics to monitor website traffic and social media engagement.
– Customer engagement: This measures how well your target audience is interacting with your brand. You can track this by monitoring customer feedback, social media mentions, and website engagement metrics like time on site and bounce rate.
– Sales: This measures the impact of the rebrand on your bottom line. You can track this by monitoring sales revenue, customer retention rates, and customer acquisition costs.
For example, if a company rebrands to better appeal to a younger demographic, they may track KPIs like social media engagement, website traffic from younger age groups, and sales to that demographic. By monitoring these metrics over time, they can determine whether the rebrand was successful in achieving its goals.
Avoid Frequent, Inconsistent Rebranding
While rebranding is okay, we should not do it too often. Any kind of branding strategy should be strategic and well-thought-out. If you rebrand too often, you will dilute the distinctiveness and memorability of your business.
Furthermore, people could begin to see your business as too inconsistent, unreliable, and untrustworthy. Trust is extremely difficult to regain, so it is crucial to keep this in mind before deciding to rebrand too often or too quickly.
When a company approaches us for photography before the launch of their rebranding initiatives, they have already put a lot of the leg work in. They have completed their analysis, they know why they are rebranding, they have assets, a vision and a plan. Customized imagery takes the rebranding process one step further and is a key piece in communicating the story to consumers.
It’s important that we immerse ourselves in the rebranding plan so that we can accurately represent what our client is looking to achieve. We need to know the vision, mission & values of a company, but also understand what their branding looked like before and how it is evolving. That helps us develop a creative vision for the project, as well as see where the business is going in the future so we can provide visual assets that are timeless.
We also take a deep dive into the target audience. We look at who they are, their likes and dislikes, what they respond to and what can help them feel an emotional connection with the brand. Once we have established that, we create visuals that make viewers feel something by capturing moments of emotion in the photographs.
At its core, our approach to rebranding photography is about creating strong connections between brands and audiences through compelling visual storytelling. Our goal is to capture timeless images that authentically represent a company’s journey and give it a unique voice in the marketplace. With careful consideration of each client’s individual needs and goals, we strive to bring their story alive with beautiful imagery that stands out from the crowd.
According to our industry professionals, rebranding can be beneficial for companies looking to reposition their business and build a new connection with their target audience. All agree that a successful rebrand requires thoughtful planning, consistent messaging, and measurable success metrics. Companies should maintain brand consistency while embracing evolution, ensuring visual identity elements such as logos, color schemes, and typography remain recognizable to their audience. Additionally, it is important to evaluate current market trends, target audience preferences, and competitor landscapes to identify areas where the brand can evolve while staying true to its core values.
When considering rebranding photography services for businesses embarking on a new identity journey, our approach is focused on storytelling through compelling visuals that create strong connections between brands and audiences. We take the time to understand each client’s individual goals in order to capture imagery that authentically represents their brand identity. With careful consideration of company objectives and customer preferences, our goal is to partner with our clients to take their rebranding initiative to the next level.
If you’re considering a rebrand for your business, it’s important to ensure that all aspects of the process are carefully planned out and executed in order to create a seamless transition into your new identity. We’d love to connect with you and chat more about your rebranding vision and goals, and see how we can best support you with customized and authentic imagery.