Ideally, your brand is a true reflection of you and your company. If you find yourself in 2021 with a brand identity that fits as poorly as your pants do after a months-long holiday season, it may be time to consider a rebrand. The New Year is generally seen as a chance to realign actions with values and turn over a new leaf, and in that spirit, there’s no better time to consider a rebrand.
But first, what is brand identity, and why does it matter? A name and logo are the foundation of a company’s brand, but brand identity goes far beyond that. A brand identity can best be understood as the way customers experience your company, and a good brand clearly reflects who your company is and why you do what you do. Rebranding can include anything from a logo redesign to the full package of updating name, logo, website, and company mission. If you’re an older, established business, a rebrand can give you the fresh and relevant look needed to keep up with the changing times and a younger customer base. If you’re a newer company, it can establish your brand and set you apart from the competition. Here are the steps to follow if you’re interested in refreshing your brand identity:
Refine your company mission and values
Who are you? What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Getting clear on your company mission and values will impact how you approach the rest of the process. This is an important first step, because it may change the scope of the rebrand for your company. You may discover that your brand only needs a few tweaks, or it may prove to be a larger process than you first thought. Regardless, getting clear on your values and how you want customers to view you is the first step in planning your new brand.
If you need a place to start, consider doing an exercise to uncover values, or take time to hone your company mission statement. The clearer you are on company mission and values, the easier it will be to plan the rest of your brand. In the early 1990’s, FedEx launched a rebrand because they offered a wide variety of services but lacked a cohesive brand identity. They simplified their name and condensed the services they offered. A new logo and brand identity was released and remains one of the most recognizable logos today.
Define your target audience
Maybe it’s changed over time, or maybe you never took time to determine your customer base. Dig into analytics and data to determine who your audience is and build your branding to connect with and attract that audience. The fashion company Asos’ mission statement is to “become the world’s number-one destination for fashion-loving 20-somethings”. This statement defines their branding presence, from advertising strategy to web design and store layout.
Like Asos, your demographic may be included in your mission statement, or it can simply serve as research you utilize to build your brand. Distinctive color schemes, web designs, and advertising strategies perform differently with various demographics, and knowing your ideal audience will impact those branding decisions.
Branding that reflects the new you
There are many pieces that work together to create a cohesive brand identity: your name, logo, website, slogan and taglines, company mission and vision, and the images you use. As such, anything can be changed or updated during a rebrand. The changes in a rebrand can be relatively small, like updating slogans on your website, or they can include a complete overhaul. Get clear on why you’re rebranding and focus on addressing that. If your product options aren’t connecting with consumers, it may be that you need to focus on a different demographic. Maybe your logo only needs a few tweaks, but your website isn’t laid out well and you’re losing traffic as a result. Having a clear idea of what’s working and what isn’t will guide the rest of your rebrand.
In 2019, Dunkin’ Donuts launched a rebranded company image. It was a complete overhaul that removed “Donuts” from the logo, website, packaging, advertising. The colors and font of the logo remained the same, which kept the brand easily recognizable before and after rebranding. The rebrand not only allowed the company to focus on products beyond donuts but was a reflection of the demographic they serve – many customers already dropped “donuts” and referred to the company as “Dunkin” before the rebrand took place.
Once you’ve developed your new brand aesthetic, take time to develop brand guidelines. If you have multiple colors as part of your brand, determine which color is primary and where it should be used. Where and how should your logo be depicted? It’s not uncommon to have a variation of your logo, font, and color scheme, but be sure to use it cohesively, or you run the risk of compromising your hard work. Brand guidelines allow your company to publish and promote content that clearly represents your company while showcasing your new brand identity.
Introduce your rebrand to the world
The best rebrands in the world aren’t effective if they’re never launched, but the rebranding process can quickly become lengthy and complicated. It’s good to have a timeline established at the beginning of your rebranding process denoting each deadline from initial plan, to the release of the finished brand. Hurdles may arise that delay the process, but having a timeline for introducing your new brand will keeps things running more smoothly.
When you are ready to launch the new brand, have a plan for how to introduce the new you to your customers and target audience. Don’t simply tell the what, but also the why behind the rebrand in order to capture your audience’s attention and minimize potential confusion. If you’ve done your research and planned the rebrand well, you can expect to see a positive impact on your sales and customer base.
Rebranding your company can be an excellent way to infuse your brand with fresh energy, and it’s worth hiring a professional to guide you through the process. Barolin + Spencer can walk you through each step in developing a successful new brand.