For many growing businesses, a rebrand is part of the cycle. While there are many reasons a business may choose to rebrand, it’s not always easy to see them from the inside.
Choosing to rebrand isn’t easy, but it’s necessary when your business hits a wall and needs a refresh for continued success.
What is a rebrand?
A rebrand is the process of redesigning how a business or product is perceived by consumers. It may include everything from redoing the name, logo, tagline and assets to small changes in vision, mission or website.
Most rebrands begin as you’d expect—from current brand perceptions. Maybe your brand has a negative association with certain consumers, or you’re expanding in a way that no longer makes sense with your current branding strategy.
Even the strongest brands are subject to market shifts, rapid changes among consumers, and other external forces. In most cases, a brand is only fresh for five to 10 years.
It isn’t a question of whether you need to rebrand as much as when you need to rebrand, but it’s still vital to embark on this process at the right time.
5 signs it’s time to rebrand
1. Your brand doesn’t reflect your vision
A brand name is a big part of developing a recognizable and long-lasting brand. If your name is less than ideal, especially with the passage of time or cultural shifts, it’s the perfect time for a rebrand.
Remember, Google used to be called BackRub.
A strong brand name is the base of your brand story, the calling card that customers will engage with at every touchpoint, and the asset that you hope will become a household name. It must be unique and memorable (but not as out there as BackRub).
Coming up with a name is one of the most challenging parts of building a brand, so it may be the last thing you want to do. Take time to consider names that are unique and meaningful, use available trademark and URL research to help, and make sure your new name hits all the requirements.
2. You’re embarrassed by your current brand
If you’re shy about mentioning your brand name or handing out business cards because of how silly or outdated your original brand is, you’re probably not alone. Others are likely as embarrassed by it as you, which can hinder morale and promotional efforts.
Maybe you don’t need a full rebrand to address this issue. Depending on what’s lacking in your current brand, perhaps all you need is to revamp your brand’s visual identity. A simple refresh may be all it takes to bring your outdated brand to the present.
3. You lack a unifying narrative
You likely started your brand with a singular vision. If time has created a mix of different offerings and experiments that lack that original focus and cohesion, it may be time to craft a new brand that reflects where your business is now.
Maintaining brand focus as time goes on is a challenge for the best of us, especially when a business grows and includes more stakeholders. Unfortunately, a lack of focus can reflect poorly on your brand’s perception and undermine its effectiveness.
Think of it this way: The more complex your brand is, the more difficult it is for customers to understand it. Choose your rebrand carefully and return the focus to your vision.
4. Your business model changed
Rapid market shifts and evolution can have a profound influence on your business. Successful businesses adapt, but these changes can leave you with a business that’s a far cry from your original brand vision.
Generally, if your business model changes, your brand should, too. The way customers perceive your business should be aligned with the way it operates. Start at the foundation with your brand purpose, mission, vision, values and assets. Use this rebrand to reflect where your business is now and chart a course for the future you want.
5. You need reputation management
If your business is associated with a negative image, whether through business decisions or a customer base you attracted, a comprehensive rebrand is the best way to shed that image. Negativity spreads like wildfire—especially on social media—so a bad association can take down your brand quickly.
Rebranding is the simplest and most effective way to recover from a negative image. If the problem began internally, conduct a brand audit to nip the situation in the bud. A comprehensive audit will give you insights into exactly where the negative perceptions originated and prevent them in the future.
It can be incredibly difficult for a brand to untangle itself from a bad public image, but rebranding is often the only way to move forward.
Is it time to rebrand?
Every business will come to these crossroads, whether it’s motivated by outside forces or a natural part of growth and progress. If you notice signs that it’s time to rebrand, take control of the narrative, and start building the brand that aligns with the future you envision for your business.
Contributed by Patrick Smith, founder and creative director of C2 Creative, a brand and design consultancy that generates big ideas for enterprise organizations, startups and leading brands looking to maximize their reach and impact.