October 28, 2022

5 Reasons It Might Be Time to Rebrand

For marketers and brand leaders alike, the thought of rebranding can feel daunting. In a fast-paced digital age where change is constant, the pressure to innovate and “keep up” is real.

The truth is, rebranding is a natural part of any healthy company’s life cycle; you don’t have to look far to see that even some of the most prominent brands we know and love have made tweaks and overhauls to their identities over the years. Whether big or small, at the end of the day, the companies we lead and the brands we represent are living and breathing and should possess an ability to adapt, both to opportunities and threats. But how do you know if it’s actually the right time for your brand to embrace change?

Your Brand = Your Reputation

A proper understanding of rebranding requires a proper understanding of branding. While branding can mean different things to different people, the most accurate way to think of your brand is to think of it as your reputation. While to a certain extent companies have the ability to influence and manage their reputations, ultimately the truest picture of one’s reputation (in business and in life) exists in the perceptions others have about you.

Good or bad, right or wrong, what everyone else says about your brand is paramount to its equity. Perception is reality. After all, your brand is primarily for your customers, not you. Strong companies are aware of these perceptions, listen to their audience and engage in the process of making the tweaks necessary to maximize its mission and maintain brand relevance.

Evaluating Brand Equity

Before you embrace change and take your brand into the future, it is critical to deeply understand the existing equity and history that led to your brand’s current reality. And so, while there might be an internal desire and pressure for change, it is again the goals of your audience that should pave the way. Rebranding requires the difficult work of empathizing with your audience and asking those connected to your brand what it means to them.

If you jump into a rebrand project without the proper understanding of which aspects are important to your audience, you run the risk of customer backlash and a weakened reputation. Spend the time evaluating your brand equity; in the end, your brand will be more relevant to an audience that’s more connected.

5 Reasons It Might Be Time to Rebrand Your Business

1. The heartbeat of your company has been lost.

Are you disconnected from your audience? Is your team disengaged and lacking excitement? Is your mission and vision unclear? A “yes” to any one of these questions could mean it’s time to rebrand. Over time, the uniqueness of your brand can get overshadowed and forgotten. The rebranding process is an exercise in reclaiming that uniqueness and expressing it in ways that renew excitement with those connected to you.

2. You’ve developed a bad reputation in the marketplace.

No business leader wants to be in this position, but no business leader is immune to things like bad PR, shoddy customer service or one careless comment that goes viral. Perhaps the reputation you’ve intentionally (or unintentionally) built needs a pivot.

GoDaddy is a great example. Their former identity was not only wacky and dated, but had become associated with a legacy of sexist commercials and ad campaigns. Their 2020 update is a clear break from its past of crude messaging and is now aimed at appealing to a broader demographic of entrepreneurs—something their former identity would have been incapable of doing.

3. The visual and/or verbal elements of your brand are broken and unreliable.

While branding isn’t only about the visual and verbal elements, these things certainly play a huge role in your brand’s reputation. Is your logo and identity system providing you the flexibility and consistency necessary for engagement? Do you have clarity on how your brand’s voice should come across to your users? Do you have a set of guidelines in place for activating your brand in clear, compelling and consistent ways?

A “no” to any of these questions means it’s time to rebrand. Branding has everything to do with credibility, while credibility has everything to do with consistency and having the proper visual and verbal tools in place.

4. Your target customer has changed.

The mission and vision of your business might compel you to pursue new markets and audience groups, potentially outgrowing your existing brand. A prime example of this is the recent 2021 rebrand of the South Korean automobile manufacturer, KIA. In an effort to target a slightly more affluent demographic, the motor company shifted its image from being perceived as an “economy” brand to more of a “luxury” brand. To meet this objective and support the shift in their ideal customer, KIA underwent a total overhaul of its brand identity.

When you think about your ideal customers, is your brand positioned to reach them?

5. You need a stronger position than the competition.

Perhaps customers are confusing you with another company in your industry. This could be due to any number of things, like visual similarities in color or typography, or because of a similar name. It could also be that your brand just simply doesn’t stand out. Evaluate your brand’s equity along with that of your competitors, identify opportunities for your brand and differentiate from the competition.

Embrace Change

If any of the points above resonate with you, it’s likely your brand is in need of some work and could benefit from engaging in the rebrand process. Your reading to the end of this article indicates that you care about your brand and want to see it thrive. Change is a necessary exercise in looking forward and backward at the same time, evaluating both future potential and past experience. It is a healthy part of any strong brand that understands why it exists and wants to maintain relevance with the people it serves.

Thinking about embarking on a rebrand? Start here.

Elliott Shuey

As our Creative Director, Elliott has extensive expertise in brand development and digital strategy for profit-driven companies and social impact organizations alike. A problem-solver at heart, he is constantly exploring new ways to use design to help our clients build awareness, increase engagement and reach their goals.

When not in the home office, you can find him spending time (outnumbered) with his wife and 3 daughters, working on the next home improvement project, hitting the mountain bike trail, or sinking bogeys at the local disc golf course.