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What You didn’t Know about Rebranding.

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Branding is key to a company’s long-term survival and market leadership…

”Rebranding and relaunching can take many guises from the complete change of a company or product, inside and out, including name, culture, values, behaviours, tone, visual collateral to something less dramatic and of a more evolutionary nature. That change is a process of giving a company, product or service a new image in order to make it more successful as in both instances, the change affects the perception of the brand in the minds of the target market.”


The reasons for rebranding and or relaunching a company, product or service are numerous and should not be taken on lightly without sound strategic reasons for engaging in the process. Brands are constantly evolving to ensure they keep abreast of changing needs in the marketplace; it’s the level of change required that is the critical issue.

Even some of the greatest brands in the world need rejuvenation. Brands like Guinness, Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s are iconic, global in their status. Yet when you look at their market leadership over the decades, they have all changed even if it has been in a more evolutionary sense over time, rather than radical overhauls. Revitalisation maintains and celebrates the history and heritage of the brand but shows its target audience (current and future) that you are adaptive to change. Change is necessary to stay relevant to the times in which a brand exists and to ensure its future success.

Some of the reasons for rebranding, relaunching and revitalising a brand include the following:

1. Relevance:

Brands need to stay relevant to their target market, to keep up with the times and keep pace with changing customer needs (e.g. services, accessibility, convenience, choice, changing trends, technology). A brand that has become old-fashioned in the eyes of its audience is in danger of stagnation if not already in a state of erosion and loss of market share.

2. Competition:

In a fast moving environment with aggressive competition, rebranding may be required to change the offering to the market in order to create a more compelling reason to buy in the minds of the target audience. Rebranding can be used as a means of blocking or outmanoeuvring competitors or a way of handling increased price competitiveness.

3. Mergers & Acquisitions:

When two entities combine there are typically two unique audiences left to communicate with. Sometimes this can require a rebrand or relaunch in a way that will appeal to both. In other cases, one of the brands may be more dominant requiring more of a revitalisation or refresh with it becoming the sole dominant player.

4. Repositioning:

Taking a brand to a new position is an involved process e.g. from an economy price fighter to premium position, and invariably requires a rebrand to signal a change in direction, focus, attitude or strategy to its target market. Also, again rebranding can be used as a means of blocking or outmanoeuvring competitors or a way of handling increased price competitiveness.

5. Outgrowth

When small companies grow into bigger entities they and/or their products frequently require a rebrand or revitalization to meet the needs of the bigger business. Typically smaller companies start with a more modest brand offering, due to budget restrictions, which are inadequate to meet the needs of a bigger more sophisticated business and a rebrand is required.

6. Legal Requirements:

Occasionally legal issues may arise that require a company to make changes to their brandings such as copyright issues or bankruptcy e.g. similarities between naming and designs. For example, The Jelly Bean Factory became The Jelly Bean Planet in Ireland to ensure differentiation from the USA brand Jelly Belly.


Rebranding and brand revitalisation can be on a small scale with some subtle changes to the company or product graphics e.g. brand identity, packaging tweaks, sales literature updates, vehicle livery, staff uniforms and website refresh or as major as a full blown name and culture change affecting both the intangible and tangible aspects of the brand.

Rebranding can be categorised to include one or a combination of all the items listed:

a) New brand name

b) Brand identity (brand logo), trademark, tagline or slogans

c) Brand imagery, online presence i.e. website, Facebook pages etc.

d) A change in brand profile, values, mission, goals, story, message, promise, offerings, personality, emotion, behaviours, tone of voice, culture, brand experience, customer care

e) Company or product livery, uniforms, stationery, digital presentations

f) Packaging; product displays, exhibition stands, signage & wayfinding systems

g) exterior and interior design; advertising, on and offline

h) new product launches, differentiations, extensions or enhancements


When considering a rebrand you typically need to include:

1. Rebrand planning, a brand audit, research and recommendations

2. Application design for all touch points

3. Brand implementation, launch and rollout

4. External communications of rebrand to all relevant stakeholders; customers, media and shareholders

5. Measure of impact and commercial return


While the debate, in term of pros and cons, on whether to rebrand or not can be as complex as the process itself, the following reasons not to are largely worth reflection too.

  • Change for the sake of change: It’s not a good idea to rebrand just because “you want to” or because you want to stake their next career move on a rebrand. If there is no compelling commercial reason e.g. new innovation, behaviours, culture and all the other reasons mentioned above, then the target audience will be left with an empty experience.


1. Do not think branding or a rebrand for that matter is just the logo, stationery or corporate colours in isolation.

Effective branding encompasses both tangible and intangible elements e.g. target audience, customer experience and perception, product quality, look, feel online and offline environments, customer facing staff, the tone of all communications both visual, auditory and written etc.

2. Don’t cling to the old unless it has a key brand provenance that is still relevant to the current target market.

Powerful rebranding means being connected to what really matters to your bullseye customer. Don’t assume because it worked in the past it’s still relevant now. Research, review and analyse changes in your target market when investigating new opportunities for repositioning, expansion or revitalization.

3. Don’t overlook existing brand equity and goodwill.

Ignoring brand equity when rebranding can alienate existing customers and potentially damage a brand’s perception. A massive overhaul may be excessive when a smaller evolution would be more appropriate. Ensure you are fully up-to-date on the mindset and needs of your target market before engaging in the process.

4. Don’t rebrand without research.

How much do you know about your current and prospective customers (needs, wants, loves, hates, behaviours etc.)? What is their compelling reason to buy ? They should be front of mind when creating new solutions and revitalising old ones too. They are your ultimate litmus test.

5. Don’t treat your rebrand superficially.

A rebrand must be authentic and believable throughout, internally and externally. It must be a liveable story that meets and exceeds customer perceptions and experiences. It must hold credibility and deliver down to the last detail both amongst your day-to-day staff and target audience or it’s largely tokenism, a waste of time and money.

6. Don’t rebrand without a well thought out plan.

Rebranding requires clearly defined briefs to keep everyone on track as the project evolves. Your plan should include every aspect of the rebrand e.g. situation analysis, objectives, target markets, budget, resources, time frames, appointed project leader, known parameters, approval structures, stakeholders and metrics for assessing results.

7. Don’t overlook the basics.

Having a stunning website, market materials, physical environment or amazing product solution is wasted if the fundamentals of your customer services suck. Equally, if your brand purchasing or processing experience falls short, the brand becomes undermined. Keep all your customer touch points and basic interactions in mind as much as the more glamorous aspects when rebranding. Review, fine tune and improve and don’t underestimate the ordinary essentials, they are just as important.

8. Don’t think you’re too small to rebrand.

Every brand needs revitalising to stay relevant as markets evolve whether the brand is a global multinational or smaller national brand, even non-profits and artisan brands are not immune. Like larger brands, smaller brands have target markets, positions etc. that need to be kept relevant and enhanced. They too have to move with the changes of their market and customer preferences or disappear into the mists of time.

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Have you read our Rebrand Story? Read it here

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