Brands go through a rebranding process pretty often. On average, a company rebrands every 7-10 years.
And it makes sense because, over the course of a decade, a lot can change for your brand. Your target audience ages up, and you need to reach a younger demographic. Other competitors come along, and you get lost in a sea of sameness. Maybe you’ve expanded your products or services and need to rebrand to reach new markets, or perhaps your brand just needs to keep up with the times.
Process of Rebranding
Whatever the rebranding strategy, now that you’ve decided to do it, it’s time to go through the process. You need to look at all the elements of your brand identity and decide if and how much each one should change to align with your new brand strategy.
These are the key components you’ll want to perfect to have a successful rebranding.
Your Brand Mission & Values
A company’s mission and values lie at the heart of a brand. They are the beliefs that your company stands for. They should be future-proof and actionable to help guide your brand’s behaviors and decision-making process.
Your brand values need to evolve along with your brand. Take Patagonia as an example. While the outdoor apparel company has always been an authentic brand that cares about the environment, it’s taken a more active role over the years guided by its brand values.
In 2018, the brand updated its mission statement to “we’re in business to save our home planet,” from its previous mission to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
The brand’s shift from not doing harm to taking an active role in protecting the environment guides the brand’s actions, primarily its increase in environmental activism. The company had shut down its stores and offices so that employees could strike alongside youth climate activists, it’s sued President Trump for reducing two national monuments, and it’s donated over $100 million to environmental activists. And its activism is what has led to its incredible growth.
Whether you’re a recent startup or a global enterprise, you need to continuously revisit your values to ensure that they’re in-line with your strategy. That’s why your brand values are a good place to begin the rebranding process.
Your brand logo is the symbol of your brand, so your logo design needs to represent who you are. Logo redesign is often the first thing a company does in its rebranding process to show customers it’s different.
Changing your logo is also a risky move. Thirty-six percent of people say the logo helps them remember a brand, and half say they’ll buy from a company with a logo they recognize over ones they don’t.
What is Nike without its swoosh or Starbucks without its siren? And even when McDonald’s underwent an 18-month rebranding process, it changed a lot about its brand, but it didn’t touch its recognizable golden arches.
But changing up your logo can also help you. Today, Apple has the most recognizable logo in the U.S., and that’s because it changed during its 1998 rebrand.
In the absence of Steve Jobs in the early ’90s, Apple declined. It lost customers to its main competitor Microsoft, introduced products like the Newton that flopped, and operated at a loss. When Jobs returned and became CEO, he wanted to simplify Apple products for customers and modernize the company. He cut its product line by 70%, choosing to create one desktop device and one portable device for business users and a desktop and portable device for consumers.
To reflect the changes within the company to consumers, Apple opted to rebrand. A sleek new brand needed a sleek new logo. The multicolored logo got a monochrome makeover to usher in the new era of Apple.
A logo refresh like Apple or a complete logo overhaul might be needed to align your brand with your rebranding strategy's goals.
A tagline or slogan is a short, catchy phrase that communicates your brand’s unique value proposition to consumers and creates a positive impression of your brand.
M&M’s tagline is “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.” It communicates the benefit of picking the candy-coated chocolate brand. Or if you’re looking for a tasty breakfast cereal, maybe you should choose Frosted Flakes because "They're grrreat!"
When you’re going through the rebranding process, you may need to update your brand tagline to match your brand story if you want a successful rebrand.
While Walmart’s dedication to low prices is embedded in its DNA, the brand decided, in 2007, that it needed to find a new way of communicating the benefit of its low prices to customers. The company scrapped its 19-year-old "Always Low Prices" tagline and replaced it with "Save Money. Live Better."
The brand wanted to let customers know they should shop there not because it’s cheap but because the money you save shopping at Walmart helps you enjoy life’s little pleasures, like family vacations. By 2008, Walmart was thriving.
Your Brand Colors
Brands and colors are linked in consumers’ minds. In fact, consistent use of your brand colors can “drive your brand recognition up by as much as 80%.” Think about Coke’s bright red can or Tiffany’s little blue box.
Colors have associations, which is why brands choose certain color palettes in the first place. Blue is associated with trust and responsibility. That association is why so many financial companies like Citibank, Visa, and American Express include blue in their logos. Green is associated with health, so you’ll find green in the color palette of a health food store like Whole Foods. But it’s also the color of money, which is why luxury brands such as Land Rover use it, too.
Many companies rebrand and don’t change their brand colors. When Dunkin’ Donuts rebranded and dropped the donuts to create its new brand name, it kept its bright palette because the company thought it would differentiate it from other coffee brands.
On the other hand, when the nature TV channel Animal Planet rebranded in 2018, it changed its logo and brand colors. The company left its green, letter-focused logo behind and chose a blue elephant silhouette to create a “strong, distinctive and joyful mark” that paid tribute to its history.
Your brand colors are a key component of your visual identity. In the rebranding process, you might not change them at all, or you might determine a whole new color palette is needed.
Your Brand Voice
Your brand voice is essential because it helps define your brand’s personality. It gives you direction on how you communicate with customers and how they interpret your messaging.
If you’re an insurance brand, maybe your brand voice is comforting and steady like Allstate, letting customers know they’re in good hands. Or if you’re Denny’s, perhaps you’ve created a unique place for yourself by developing a brand voice that replicates the topical and occasionally weird conversations that happen in its diners.
Your brand voice is just as important to align with your rebranding strategy as your visual elements when going through the rebranding process. One of the most significant examples of this is Old Spice.
In the early 2000s, the brand realized it wasn’t performing well with the younger demographic. Men in their 20s picked newer brands like Axe Body Spray because they associated Old Spice with their dads or even grandfathers. The company decided to rebrand to increase its appeal. It added new products and revamped packaging, but the biggest change was its humorous, manly brand voice.
The new ads featured shirtless former football star Isaiah Mustafa saying funny lines like:
“Hello, ladies, look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me, but if he stopped using ladies scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he’s me.”
And this voice carried over to all of its touchpoints, like social media and its website.
Your Brand Guidelines
After you’ve identified how your rebranding impacts your brand components, it’s time to update your brand guidelines to reflect your new brand identity.
Your brand guidelines are the rules on how your brand looks and sounds across all media, like your marketing materials or signage. They must reflect all your rebranding changes. If not, you face brand consistency issues that may cause confusion in the marketplace and derail your company’s rebrand.
Once you’ve updated your guidelines, you need to make sure all stakeholders that work with your brand, whether in-house or external, have access to it. And this part can be a challenge. Since most brands rely on PDF Guidelines, it’s impossible to ensure everyone has the most recent file, which is the main reason brand guidelines are overlooked.
A consistency study found that only 26% of brands had guidelines that were easy for employees to find. But by switching to cloud-based guidelines like our Brand Guidelines, your team will always have the most up-to-date brand info, so you don’t have to worry about the rollout of your rebrand.
After reading this, you might be interested in learning what's good to know before you start a rebranding project or to determine if now really is the right time for a rebrand. To learn more about the scope of rebranding, understanding some of the different types of rebranding and their rough costs could help.