Rebranding: 10 Steps (Part I)

Brands have 7 seconds to make a first impression. In a highly competitive market, having an appealing brand determines one’s chances of success. An effective brand strategy helps build trust and credibility, improves recognition as well as differentiates a business in the market. Due to shifts in the market, companies often evolve beyond their “original brand presence”. As a result, their brands become outdated, and their potential to make a good first impression significantly decreases. That in turn has a negative impact on business performance. To remain relevant to their customers and financially sustainable, companies thus need to consider rebranding, i.e. changing their public image. The process of rebranding is challenging: it requires a carefully crafted strategy to become effective. Here are 10 steps that should facilitate the decision-making process: 

Step 1: Evaluate your current branding strategy. Before making any rebranding decision, first companies need to check their sales and marketing data to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their current brands. It is also important to check one’s online data such as traffic, social media following and marketing campaign performance. Having checked those data, it becomes clear where to focus one’s rebranding efforts. Companies, for example, have a better understanding of how to change their brands to make them more appealing to customers. Furthermore, they can evaluate their brand performance according to different criteria to identify what is working and what is not, and can use that information to upgrade their branding strategy. 

Step 2: Define your goals. The success of any rebranding activity depends on setting clear goals. Companies considering rebranding need to first answer several questions: 

  1. Why do you need rebranding? 
  2. What drives your existing branding strategy? 
  3. What do you hope to accomplish through rebranding?
  4. How can you be more relevant to your target audience? 
  5. Are there any significant shifts in your market that you need to take into consideration?
  6. How will you measure progress towards your goals?
  7. How will you track return on investment (ROI)?

These questions should be seen as a point of reference for defining one’s rebranding goals. Once those goals are defined, it is time to set key performance indicators (KPIs), which will help measure the progress and success of the rebranding process.  

Step 3: Conduct a data analysis. Any rebranding decision should be based on “accurate, actionable data”. To extract data of business value, companies need to conduct market research, competitive research and marketing research. The ultimate goal of all this research is to find insights that will help increase the flow of revenue or deals. To conduct a thorough data analysis, companies need to have the right tools, resources and methods to assess current brand performance as well choose metrics to measure the efficacy of rebranding. To fully leverage those data, it should be shared with others and contextualized. One of the key benefits of conducting such an analysis is strengthening one’s ability to make data-informed decisions that will improve customer experience and, consequently, sales.  

Step 4: Rethink your brand identity. Brand identity consists of visual design elements companies use to communicate with their customers. Companies seeking a complete rebrand need to consider changing their visuals. For example, companies need to ensure that their logo is relevant, and reflects what they represent today and where they want to be in the future. The most effective logos are simple, memorable, unique and appropriate to one’s business niche and customer base. Companies also need to remember to maintain a cohesive look while rebranding. All aspects of design should be considered carefully. Companies need to make sure that all shapes and images that they use reflect their new look, feel and communication.  

Step 5: Test your concepts. Once companies have some mock-up designs for new logos, web pages or packaging, they should make final decisions based on feedback. In addition to employee feedback, it is highly recommended asking the opinion of consumers. One option is to conduct some creative testing surveys. Different groups of respondents should be shown different designs and asked questions about them. Creative testing helps see objectively which design is the best. It also gives the opportunity to improve brand assets until they are perfectly aligned with the business strategy.

Read Rebranding: Key Steps (Part II).

References:  Serenity Gibbons, | Elin Enrooth, | Kerstin Reichert, | Matt Ellis, | Emily Gertenbach, | | | Sam Killip,