The Ultimate Guide to Rebranding

HubSpot defines a brand as “a feature or set of features that distinguish one organization from another.” Your brand includes your name, logo, tagline, design, product, packaging, customer experience, and so much more.

Meanwhile, branding is the process of creating and using these features to differentiate your company from competitors. More importantly, branding is an expression of your values and what your company stands for. These values–and your capacity to deliver and stay true to them–enable you to win customer loyalty.

Given the central role which branding plays in a business’s success, any move toward rebranding should be carefully reviewed and planned. You must consider its impact, costs, and the amount of work a successful rebranding entails.


The Ultimate Guide to Rebranding


3 Reasons to Consider a Rebrand

A new brand identity is not the appropriate response to every major business shift or dilemma. A change in leadership or a mere desire to revamp the company’s look does not justify foregoing a company’s current branding, especially if you already have a loyal client base.

Below is a list of the right motivations for a rebrand.


1. Dwindling Sales

A drop in sales can be due to factors like poor targeting, weak digital marketing strategy, or negative buyer experiences.

Instead of changing your name or logo, conduct market research to identify the core issues and roll out solutions to address these. Pursuing a rebranding campaign without addressing the root causes of your company’s challenges will not lead to long-term growth. You cannot win customers’ loyalty if they continue to have negative experiences with your products and services.

However, if you need to reposition your company to attract a new demographic, then you will need to revamp your branding.



2. New Product Focus

Even if you have a product your clients love, your company may need to alter its focus to keep up with the changing preferences of your target demographic. A rebrand can help your company draw attention to your new main product or service.


3. New Business Image

Major shifts in your business–such as mergers, acquisitions, or expanding to international markets–prompts an evaluation of your company’s branding. In these scenarios, refreshing your brand image allows you to appeal to your new target audience. A rebrand can also prevent cannibalization, which happens when the acquired brand directly competes with the other company’s market.

Crafting a rebranding strategy is also a must when your company has outgrown its original mission. Long-time brands like Starbucks and Apple have also undertaken rebranding to stay relevant.


Apple Branding Evolution

Source: Visme


How to Ensure an Effective Rebranding

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to giving your company a fresh look, rebranding generally goes through three phases: ideation, production, and promotion.

1. Ideation Phase

Depending on your reasons for pursuing a rebrand, the ideation phase may involve:

  • Conducting in-depth market research. As your business pivots or expands, you need to gather data to better understand your current and ideal clients as well as your competitors. Hold focus groups with your loyal and target customers, even your competitors’ clients.
  • Reevaluating your company’s vision, mission, and values. Before embarking on major changes, you must first define what your business hopes to achieve and what you wish your brand to stand for. These will serve as your employees’ new roadmap and will inform every aspect of your rebranding strategy.
  • Updating your company name. If you have an established, trusted brand, changing your name may not be the best move. But if you deem it necessary to rename your business, as in the case of mergers, keep the new brand aligned with your updated vision, mission, and values.
  • Shifting your brand voice. If you are changing your company vision, direction, or target markets, you may have to adjust your brand voice to better suit your message. For instance, targeting a younger demographic means you need to use words or tones that will appeal to them.
  • Reassessing your visual identity. During rebranding, your company may consider a fresh logo, colour palette, imagery, or typography. As you do, remember to keep things simple and consistent, aligning your visual branding with your new business direction and target markets.When picking hues, leverage colour psychology to help create a positive brand perception among your ideal demographic. For example, be an attention-grabber by tapping yellow, communicate trust with blue, introduce elegance with black, or exude passion with red.
  • Choosing between a partial or total rebrand. A partial rebrand–such as fine-tuning their visual branding–works well for established companies. It allows them to retain their reputation and clients while pivoting to stay relevant or introducing a new focal product. Companies that go for a total rebrand are often those that undergo major shifts, such as mergers or an overhaul of their products or service offerings.A full rebranding must be the last resort for companies with strong brand equity. They can lose loyal clients during the transition, and it may take a while for these businesses to recover their brand equity.


To facilitate coordination during a rebranding, create a cross-functional team that will help plan and implement activities across departments. The team members can assist in calculating rebrand expenses, prioritizing areas where the new brand can have the highest impact, and creating a timeline for the transition.

Since rebranding may require significant costs and time, your team must decide which assets and areas to prioritize. For instance, you can start rebranding your top products, and gradually change the packaging of your other goods. You can also prioritize updating your local storefronts, and renovate your overseas branches at a later date.

Consider what the rebranding may mean to your international markets as well. Be ready to create or roll out localized versions of your new name, tagline, and other materials.


Minute Maid International Branding


2. Production Phase

As you enter the production phase, have your brand guidelines ready. Distribute these to all your departments, so they can use it to implement changes on your websites, social media accounts, apps, offline and online content, ads, official documents, signages, product packaging, and other materials.

Your brand guidelines must include the logo elements, allowable colour variations and images, padding, and other do’s and don’ts when it comes to using your company name, displaying your logo, or promoting your products.


Dropbox style guide

Source: Dropbox


You also need to review the quality of your new materials. This includes ensuring that the new logo uses the same colour across all documents, signages, and packaging.

If you are working with a digital marketing agency, keep them in the loop as well. Discuss the rebranding’s scope, especially if this includes a major shift, like a new target audience, brand voice, or product focus.

If your rebrand includes overhauling your website, have a dedicated team–whether an internal or an external team such as an eCommerce SEO services company–redirecting web visitors to your new site and monitoring your online traffic. Also, consider helping web viewers and search engines build a connection between your former and new company by indicating the change in your title tag, meta description, or web footer.


Flagging rebranding

Source: HubSpot


3. Promotion Phase

As you prepare to launch your company’s new look, start running promotions. Below are a few ideas to generate buzz around your rebrand.

  • Give your audience a hint of what’s ahead. Provide behind-the-scenes stories and clips to spark an interest in the coming changes.
  • Tap the media. Send out press releases and reach out to sites or publishers who may be open to creating content about your new brand.
  • Work with your influencers. They can help increase awareness about your rebrand story and level up the excitement by running contests or giving away discount codes. These strategies can help you reach more customers, especially if you are hoping to reach a new demographic.

If you are rolling out your rebrand in phases, you may have to manage cross-branding, wherein old and new variations of your products are available in the market. Prepare your teams to handle dealers’ and customers’ questions about your products’ new look. Ecommerce businesses can also minimize buyers’ confusion by including an insert explaining that your company is going through a rebranding.


Two Brands That Aced Their Rebrand

Rebranding doesn’t require a sweeping change. In fact, many companies with strong brand identity opt to make simple alterations to emphasize a new direction.


Dropbox’s old logo–a blue box–was an icon many office workers are all too familiar with. In 2017, the file-hosting platform revamped its logo, transforming the box into “a collection of surfaces.” According to VP of Design Nicholas Jitkoff, the old logo suggested that “Dropbox is a great place to store stuff.” In contrast, the new design showed Dropbox as “an open platform and a place of creation.”

The new design is simple and neat. It effectively communicates change without deviating too much from the old design, remaining recognizable to its current users.


Dropbox rebranding

Source: Brand New



In January 2019, Dunkin’ Donuts officially changed its name to simply “Dunkin’”. But long before the name change, its customers had already been referring to the company by its first name.

The rebranding was part of Dunkin’s overall move to “modernize the Dunkin’ experience.” It has been introducing new products and revamping its store design to accommodate today’s on-the-go customers.

Amidst these innovations, Dunkin’ continues to honour its legacy. It retains its pink and orange colours and fonts, which it has used since 1973. By keeping these familiar elements, Dunkin’ is able to leverage its solid reputation as it expands its menu offers and adapts to consumers’ fast-paced lifestyle.


Dunkin Donuts rebrand

Source: Dunkin’

Focusing on What Matters

There are many ways to go about a rebrand. Companies can use a new name, logo, colours, typography, or tagline. They can overhaul their products as well as their services. The changes can be sweeping–a total rebrand–or simple tweaks that still deliver a huge impact.

Regardless of the extent of your rebranding, never lose sight of what makes your brand special. Your brand allows your loyal customers to easily distinguish your product from your competitors’. Buyers have come to associate your brand with a certain quality of product or service, and this trust enables you to retain your hold on your target market.

During a rebrand, take care not to alienate your current clients even as you expand to new markets. Continue to deliver–or better yet, exceed–the quality and level of service your customers have come to expect.

Has your business undergone a rebranding or are you considering one? Share your best practices with us on Twitter.

About Emmanuel Fornillos

Hello! I am Manuel Fornillos, the Chief Content Officer of Startup Credo. My writing proficiency covers topics about social media, digital marketing, technology, and mobile applications. When I was younger, I fell in love with writing my emotions through poems, and as years gone by, I used my gift by making informative articles regarding new technologies to reach out to my reader’s souls. When I’m not writing you’ll see me in my garden with my plants to refresh with nature.