The Rebranding Process: Everything You Need to Know

So much more than just a lick of paint, the rebranding process takes thought, consideration, and a little bit of courage too. 

Even with the biggest budgets, tonnes of customer research, and a round-the-table internal agreement, the big unveiling can fall flat. For example, take a look at Gap’s 2010 rebrand. They went from high-street clothing retail behemoth to, well, pharmacist, apparently! Luckily Gap had the humility to revert to its tried and trusted look and feel, but not every company is strong enough to be able to afford a misstep like this. 

Rebranding can end up as a costly mistake that will live with your business for a long time. Having been part of a few rebrands (that have been much more successful, thankfully), we thought we’d put together a few thoughts on how best to approach the task.

First things first

Take stock of what you’ve got. A brand audit might be a bit of a chore, but it’s a crucial stage of the rebranding process that will set you up for a confident and impressive way forward. If you’ve never done one before, an audit is a way of finding your place in the market and how effective you are. 

Our biggest advice is to never take the rebranding process lightly, it’s important to be methodical and strategic in your approach to ensure you get the best results. Firstly we recommend you establish why you want to rebrand- what are you hoping to achieve?

Are you hoping to grow your business? Are you looking to update your image? Perhaps you’re trying to break into a new market. Each reason is as valid as the next but make sure you’re clear from the outset.

Do your research- make sure your new look fits in with who you are trying to engage. If you already have a brand vision, mission and values it is important to reevaluate these too. Are they working for your brand, and if not why? Make sure these fit in with the markets you’re trying to target.

And don’t forget to survey your team too. Much of the essence of how your brand goes to market is unlocked by your team, and most managers find nuances there that were scarcely considered before. Tools like SurveyMonkey are great for getting a feel for how people (customers and non-customers alike) view your brand. 

Perhaps you’ll find that people don’t associate your logo with a company in your particular sector or really love your strapline but don’t find that your service backs it up. Make no mistake – these surveys can throw up some hard truths, but they will help in the long run.

The more knowledge you have the better your approach will be. Once you’ve got an idea of the current situation, you can start thinking about what needs to change, and, more importantly, what realistically can change. Maybe your business has completely transformed over the years and your original purpose, for which the current branding was intended, isn’t such a central aspect of the offering. 

Perhaps you started as an online bookshop but developed into a shop selling everything. If so, this should factor into the rebranding decision process. These choices don’t have to rely only on the past and present. Your aspirations should figure into the strategy too!

What next?

Is the brand audit complete? Strategy nailed? Creative direction decided? Great. Now for picking your partners in delivering the whole project of change. Whether it’s a creative agency or a branded merchandise supplier you’ll need partners who are not only specialists but also ‘on the same page’ and able to add great value to the project.

Once you’ve decided you want to engage with partners to help with your rebrand it is important to do your research. Start by visiting their website, and begin a shortlist of those you’re interested in potentially working with. From there you can make contact with your shortlist, determine whether you have good chemistry with them and whether they can meet your needs. It may be tempting to make decisions on price alone, but don’t let money drive you completely or you could wind up compromising on quality. 

What Questions should you ask?

  • What does branding mean for you and why is it important?
  • What is your creative process?
  • How will you support my business in standing out from competitors?
  • What is your experience in our industry?
  • What is my predicted return on investment?
  • How will you work with us- communication etc.

There’s a tendency for rebranding projects, to begin with, with preconceived ideas that can be somewhat blinkered and/or unrealistic. Above all make sure you’re choosing a team of experts who know what they’re doing and who aren’t afraid to make suggestions, the results can exceed expectations and you can be confident you’ll get the ROI you hoped for.

Are you in the middle of your rebranding process or taking those first tentative steps? Why not get in touch with one of our rebrand specialists to find out how Streamline could consult on your project and help bring your brand to life in ways you might not have imagined?