A rebranding project involves high-level strategy, research, company-wide involvement, and detailed planning – doing it right is key.
Putting your brand identity into words and visuals, in a way that clients can understand, can really be an uphill battle. The reward of it, however, is worth every step of the way. Our platform is often used as the base for such projects, and we’ve seen them in every imaginable shape and size. To help you get started, we’ve written our learnings down, covering the basics of what you need to know before starting your rebranding project.
Begin by looking at the current state of your driving principles. For those of you who are not yet familiar with it – the vision and mission are meant to show the baseline of your ambition while communicating the problem you’re solving. As you’re analyzing what’s currently there, you need to remember that the way people consume (and perceive) brands is ever-changing. What’s decent today, might be eerie tomorrow. With that in mind, ask yourself: do your mission and vision need to change in order to make your brand somewhat future-proof?
After a hard look at those fundamentals, give some attention to the other components within your brand world. What kind of collateral do you have? What might need changing? Understanding the scale and reach of your current brand, and what it’s actually saying about your organization, is fundamental. Once you have a good overview of your brand material, you can outline what needs improving.
A rebrand is not just about new visuals, logos, and a lavish website. It’s about so much more – the entire look and feel of the brand are what’s at stake here – it’s the face you share with the world. Maybe the most important thing to consider is how to have a consistent and cohesive strategy that touches every element (logo, stationery, signage, flyers, ads) and platform of your brand (social media, apps, websites). This could be done in-house, or by an agency, if you'd prefer to bring in external professionals.
If you’re deciding to do a partial rebrand, it’s crucial to keep in mind, as your new brand essentials come to life, that they still need to be bundled with the already existing material. For example, creating a business-smart logo can be a game-changer, but it shouldn’t create any conflicts with the already comical, emoji-driven voice you’re using on social media.
Before you start throwing away logos left and right, make sure you really think about what’s already working well. Normally, you wouldn’t change your company name, for example. A good idea is to try and preserve some elements of your current brand – that way, your current audience will still recognize who you are after the rebrand is finished, and you won’t lose the resources that already resonates well with your fans and customers. Oh, and obviously, it’ll save you quite some time and lengthy debates with possible showstoppers.
Before you start creating a whole new set of colors and logos, you better do your research. If you don’t know your target audience yet, it’s time to get to know them. What are they looking for? No, not which colors do they like. What do they actually want to experience? To feel? You’re not creating a copy, you’re creating a brand, and that doesn’t come from anyone other than yourself. That might mean a little field research is in order. It doesn’t mean you can’t pull inspiration from other companies of your industry, but remember that a successful brand isn’t about trying to be someone else – it’s simply about being you.
Whether you realize it or not, a brand is about people – the people in your company – and they need to be aware of what’s transpiring. Let them see your plan, your timeline, and goals. Allow them to give feedback when it makes sense, and have them understand why you’re doing it. That way, they can focus on what’s about to change with the rebrand, and manage it accordingly.
When you’re putting a ton of effort toward doing the actual rebranding, it’s easy to forget the bit about informing your clients of the shift. Making sure they’re aware of what’s about to change helps them understand how it benefits their experience of the company. That said, don’t forget to address your clients’ potential fears about the change – specifically, let them know you’re not changing the parts they love.
Rebrands in general (but especially major overhauls affecting your complete look-and-feel) often go hand in hand with a complex and time-intensive project. This is why project management is crucial to making sure the rebrand is a success – delivered on deadline, and in accordance with the predefined budget.
Project management doesn’t have to be complicated. Something simple like a well-thought spreadsheet documenting goals, timelines, deliverables, risks, and team responsibilities for each work-package can be enough. The best way of going at it, however, is finding a centralized brand management tool, with predefined workflows, task lists, and approval processes to keep everyone on the same page at all times.
Out with the old and in with the new – make sure that you refresh every corner of your brand. This means all of the documents, templates, email signatures, websites, apps, social media… You get the idea. Should your customers end up seeing different versions of your brand, old mixed with new, through various touchpoints, it’ll lead to them believing that your company is disorganized. This will lead them to think things are amiss, and they might start moving the other direction.
All in all, make sure you’re being your best self. A brand that is authentic can never be bad, and keeping that brand consistent will come easy. Go out there, and do yourself proud.