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“Should we rebrand?” 

It’s the million-dollar question—and sometimes multi-million—that every marketer has surely wondered, been asked or asked themselves. But beyond the obvious reasons to rebrand, like a merger or major acquisition, it can be hard to confidently answer that question.

So let’s break it down: here are five signs that it’s time to take a critical look at the current state of your brand—and some common pitfalls to avoid along your rebranding journey.

Sign #1: A major episodic event has occurred

A merger, acquisition, spin-off or major change in leadership will often warrant—or even demand—a rebrand. And responding quickly but intentionally will help avoid confusion or frustration for both internal and external audiences. We say it all the time, but a new brand is much more than just a change of symbol—it’s truly a symbol of change. Using your new brand to drive your desired narrative is critical to ensuring an external narrative doesn’t end up defining your future.

Considerations for your rebrand:

  • Engage key audiences early and often.
    Springing a new brand on employees or customers without telling a compelling and resonant story and building a case for change opens your brand to uninformed criticism or simply confusion.
  • Let the insights lead the way.
    An informed discovery process involving key internal and external stakeholders, a comprehensive study of the category and relevant societal insights is critical to understanding the shifts that need to be made, and can even influence the ultimate scope or goal of the rebrand.
  • Build for the future; honor the past.
    Don’t get caught up in “equity” and “legacy” unnecessarily—use your rebrand as an opportunity to pay homage to important history while signaling unity and new beginnings.

Learn More: Introducing Your 10-Step Playbook for M&A Rebrand Success

Sign #2: People don’t understand the scope of your offerings

Over time, your organization may have expanded, collapsed or changed the scope of your products or capabilities. But has your brand kept up with those changes? Are you maximizing the value of your customers by making sure they understand the full picture of what you offer? Are your own people well-versed in the breadth and depth of your solutions? If not, a rebrand might be the best way to ensure your brand platform, identity, and most importantly, brand architecture, aren’t limiting your potential.

Considerations for your rebrand:

  • Take an outside-in approach.
    We tell organizations all the time: you’re letting your operations show. Take a look at your portfolio strategy through the lens of your customers or consumers to determine the best way to express your offerings—change can be uncomfortable but is often great for business.
  • Simpler is usually better.
    There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to brand architecture, but streamlining offerings will typically be easier for audiences to understand. Again, try not to get caught up in internal silos or operational nuances.
  • Invest in training and reap the benefits.
    Make sure your people are well armed with the appropriate brand storytelling elements so they can effectively communicate and/or sell on your behalf.

Learn More: Enabling a Consistent Brand Experience

Sign #3: It’s time for a new image

Maybe you’re trying to shed legacy perceptions about being a “mom and pop shop.” Maybe it’s time to move on from company or category baggage. Maybe your look was super sharp during the dot-com bubble… but not so much anymore. In any case, authentically creating and embodying a new image will take more than just a new name or logo. Moving from who you are now to who you want to be means building a brand rooted in insight, strategy and inspiring expression.

Considerations for your rebrand:

  • Think bigger.
    A new “image” isn’t just about the logo—your name, design system, brand voice, messaging, and web or retail experience all work together to signal who you are and what you stand for.
  • Don’t get trapped in a trend.
    …Unless you want to be starting the rebrand process all over again in just a couple years—aim for modern and unique vs. following the ‘it’ look of the moment.
  • Walk the talk.
    Changing how you look and what you say will only take you so far—if you want to change perception, change the experience.

Sign #4: Your audience’s needs or expectations have changed

Whether sweeping external forces are at play, like a global pandemic or a racial justice movement, or whether one of your primary customer segments is looking for something new, it may be time to reflect on what your brand is communicating to your most important audiences. The world is a competitive place, and making sure you’re exceeding the expectations of those you serve is critical to winning over hearts, minds and wallets.

Considerations for your rebrand:

  • Dive into the data.
    Do some real research—there are so many different methods at many different levels of investments that can help you build a brand that really resonates with key internal and/or external audiences.
  • Listen, learn, repeat.
    Engage in a meaningful dialogue with your audiences to understand the nuances of their needs, expectations and communication styles—don’t just assume what they want or how to give it to them.
  • Don’t wait for the disruptors.
    We’ve seen it time and time again, and no industry is immune. The hard truth is, if you don’t make moves to meet evolving expectations, someone else will seize the opportunity.

Learn More: Messages Matter

Sign #5: Your brand and culture are misaligned

Which came first—brand or culture? It’s hard to say, but we believe the two should work in perfect concert with one another. A fantastic company culture may have a brand problem if talent acquisition is a challenge, while an otherwise strong brand might have a culture issue if talent retention starts to suffer. And it’s not something to brush off as a purely internal problem. Today’s consumers are voting with their money, and want to support organizations that put people before profit—starting with their own.

Considerations for your rebrand:

  • A job isn’t just a job.
    Whether their working to live or living to work, everyone is looking for some sort of meaning or purpose in their job—and your brand, when linked to culture is critical to helping your people find fulfillment.
  • Don’t try to wag the dog.
    Force fitting a top-down culture just won’t work. Understanding what makes your organization tick from the perspective of your employee base is the first step toward capitalizing on its best attributes for a brand and culture that inspire.
  • Your people are your most valuable asset.
    Even in today’s times of uncertain employment, don’t assume a paycheck is enough. Leverage engagement opportunities and show appreciation for your people—even in small ways.

What conversations are you having around a rebrand? We would love to be part and hear what you think. Be sure to follow us on social, or reach out to us here anytime!

September 5, 2023 By Monigle