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When Is It Time to Rebrand?

The other day I walked into our office, and my desk was gone. Not gone-gone, just not where it usually was. In fact, everyone’s desk—except Steven’s—was in a different place. Due to a burst of inspiration and the collective need for a new agency vibe, the whole team worked together to transform our space. They rearranged large tables and even larger pieces of furniture, hung bright art on our white walls.

I loved it. I didn’t realize how much this was needed until it was done.

That exercise sparked an idea for this blog post. After all, who doesn’t relish a good makeover story? When applied to business, a makeover could be a rebrand. And when we speak of rebranding, we aren’t talking about restructuring the entire business. We are talking about changing a company’s visual and messaging communications: logos, typography, color palettes, photographic style, possibly even tweaking the name.

A rebrand can be subtle, similar to how a haircut can transform the way you look, feel, and present yourself. When Alaska Airlines launched its first rebrand in 25 years, few people could put their finger on what was different. Yet they perceived there was a freshness about it.

Not many brands stand the test of time; therefore, it’s wise to examine your brand every so often to see if it still mirrors you. As a design and marketing firm, one question we regularly get asked  is, “When is it time to rebrand?” Here are seven common reasons, based on work we’ve done with past clients.

  1. Big structural changes. A merger or acquisition affects the dynamics of what a business provides to the marketplace. Likewise, a new CEO can drastically influence the course a company takes. If your structural change is significant, you should evaluate what this means to customers and how you want to position the current you.
  2. New target audience. If your market has evolved, and you must go after a completely new audience, you should likely rethink your brand. If your growth depends on drawing in the next generation of consumers, say, Generation Z, you must find ways to reposition yourself to visually appeal to and engage with this unchartered audience.
  3. Shifting market. Perhaps your company’s revenue has been steadily declining. Maybe your approach to business or what you offer changes. Possibly a new competitor threatens your position. If so, you’ll require both a  messaging and visual shift to keep your stance in the market.
  4. Outdated logo. Sometimes it’s as simple as an old logo that no longer feels fresh and meaningful. A logo can be updated to still play up the durability and longevity of your brand, but also feel modern.
  5. Reputation repair. Occasionally an overhaul is necessary to break association with a less than favorable reputation. Should this happen, you need to commit to new values and then align them with an improved way of doing business. The goal is to have consumers start viewing your brand through a different lens.
  6. It’s overstayed its welcome. The usual push is to keep your brand relevant and innovative. But over time, a brand can become dated. If your employees seem embarrassed to send potential clients to the website or to hand out promotional materials, you’re ready for a refresh. Keep in mind that brands tend to modify their corporate identities, on average, once every seven to ten years.
  7. There is no brand. If you have no formal brand, the message going out about what you deliver is likely confusing. When a brand is gradually modified and refined over many years, what it stands for becomes muddled. The challenge here requires forming a clear definition and understanding of your brand.

Now and then, a  company needs a cause to rally around. Going through a rebrand can give your team a means to connect. It’s a way to excite employees and build camaraderie around the process.

And it can start by moving a desk.


by Robyn Komachi, Marketing Specialist

image by David Pisnoy via Unsplash

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