Could Your Business Benefit From A Rebrand?

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Ignoring the power of (and under-budgeting for) good branding is a common part of the learning curve for first-time business owners. But what about those well-established brands that refuse to update their brand image? Here we look at how to tell if your business could do with a visual asset overhaul.


Reasons to rebrand

Companies are ever-evolving entities, and your branding should reflect that.

No branding, no matter how good, is designed to last forever, so rebranding is unavoidable as businesses progress and change. Even the most iconic logos get an update from time to time: just a quick look at the original Apple logo can show you that.


Expansion of brand:

Whether it be through mergers and acquisitions, opening up of new stores or into new locations or expanding in other ways, it is always a good idea to reassert and refine your company’s branding when you expand.

This could include entirely new graphics, updates on previous visuals which incorporate the new assets, or new graphics for your expansion which work in tandem with your original visuals. Sometimes you can work both the old and new together, with the new signifying the latest developments of a brand, such as a new product line. For example: think of when a well known donut company created a range of americana themed donuts with a limited time span. They would use the new branding specifically for the new brand, but also still use their original logo with slight variations to it to make it match the new branding assets alongside it.


Updates to the company or a change of direction:

Even if a business is not expanding, a rebrand can be a good way to signal a change in direction, such as a new CEO, branching out into a different sector, or  adding a new service or product line.  You can use this as an excuse to create a whole new identity or simply update your older visuals and messaging.


Magazines are prime examples of this kind of rebranding; they usually conduct an overhaul of their designs and layout whenever a new editor takes over, to keep things fresh but also to mark the change.


Proactive or reactive rebranding:

Some businesses rebrand to keep up with a changing social climate, or as a reaction to an event. In the worst case scenario, this could be down to something out of your control: such as a word in your name or slogan gaining a new meaning due to global events. A strong example of this are those companies that used the Egyptian goddess name Isis in their name or slogan, but which now have dropped it due to the negative connotations due to current political and social events.

Sometimes, however, your business just needs a bit of an update. In general, companies rebrand once every 7-10 years, just to keep things fresh and up to date with their latest brand ethos as well as the changing social and economical times. This can also include words and names that have fallen out of favour (thanks to news items and events) or that now hold different or negative meanings. Also, it can help to set you apart from your competitors if you have something new to share, perhaps even gaining new customers in people who were otherwise unaware of you before.

Many older businesses used a move online or the expanding of their presence to include social media as a springboard for rebranding. This can sometimes come from necessity: not all previous designs translate well onto all social media channels or website favicons, with their varied shapes and sizes for profile materials and imagery, and some logos and assets may become illegible with the smaller dimensions that the different media platforms require.

This can also be a useful tool for condensing and defining your brand messaging, especially if it hasn't been done in a while: companies with a lot of history are notorious for baggy, over-explaining or simply outdated media assets.


Benefits of rebranding


Targets new audiences

It is often quoted that it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an old one, yet no business should rely on its current client base alone. A rebranding could help catch the attention of people who may not have otherwise considered you, especially when combined with an effective marketing strategy. Even without any significant PR, new colourful and eye-catching signage can be a real talking point, and will definitely help get people through the door.


Market repositioning or reasserting your position

A successful rebranding can help with market repositioning, especially if you have altered your prices, products, or processes. If this is the case it is vital to devote time and resources to creating the perfect reworking of logos and visual assets, and possibly even a renaming if the change is drastic enough to warrant it.

For example, the changing of pricing or quality of products would mean that there would be a change in target audience, and what works for one set of customers may not work for another.


If nothing much has changed, a rebranding can also be used to assert your position within a field, especially when combined with a proactive or reactive marketing campaign. We all know that the world of business is constantly in motion, and if you stay static, you get overtaken. Rebranding can be a good way to keep in the eye and mind of the public and assert your place in your particular field, even if it is business as usual, it is always a good idea to remind the world that you exist and that you are good at what you do. Spotify do this regularly with their ad campaigns that include the year’s quirkier user statistics. By doing this they get exposure but also are able to remind the public about the large number of customers that use, and trust, their services, while the humorous quality of the advert makes it easily memorable and shareable.


Stimulating growth and profits

While profits and new audiences usually go hand in hand, there is a lot to be said about how branding can affect your current clientele. Some companies use their fear of alienating customers as an excuse not to have an overhaul. While this might seem like a justifiable concern, it will not serve your business in the long term. Remember that rebranding doesn’t have to involve the complete removal of what came before: and no company wants to be considered outdated by either their client base or the wider public.


What to consider when rebranding


Problems can arise with a rebranding when people opt to only go halfway and update only part of their visuals. This can lead to inconsistencies or mismatched colouring, either from things like the natural fading of older signage or by using different companies to create different physical assets such as printed signage.


The way to combat this is twofold:

1. Create a style guide for the rebranding process, with a focus on specifics of each asset, such as exact shades of colours, font choices and even things not directly visual, such as tone of voice.

2. Get all of your signage and artwork created at the same time and by the same provider, to allow for no margin of error when it comes to reproducing prints, and creating uniformity across different media and advertising types.


Stay away from trends and gimmicks

It can be tempting when moving into new territory or reinventing something to go with what is performing well for competitors at that particular time. But trends rarely last and, conversely, are usually the designs that become outdated the quickest. Humour, while it can be used to add character to messaging, can be to your detriment if it is too topical or controversial.

If there is something that you don’t quite understand, especially in youth or online culture: do not try to replicate it. This has sadly been the downfall of many businesses that have tried to keep up with meme-culture or similar niche themes, and as worst case another rebrand would be required if it went wrong. New doesn't always need to mean cutting edge, and an elegant update on classic design features can be enough to keep your brand imagery fresh.


Final thoughts

Negative branding will damage your business in the long term, and it is always a good idea to think of your image as an ever-evolving aspect of your business. Your brand is more than a logo and a name, it is every visual aspect of your business, the things that you do, and how you react to events. It can infer credibility, professionalism and expertise, without having to spell it out and so should never be underestimated in its contribution to the success of your business.

Zarna Feltham is the Production Manager at Kent-based signmakers Medash Signs, who have been producing printed brand assets for businesses for over forty years - offering a wide variety of signage types for restaurants, stores, malls, and a broad mix of businesses and public services across the country.

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