There are a number of valid reasons a company might want to rebrand itself. For example, your business may have evolved since you started and you need your branding to reflect your growth. Maybe your brand no longer resonates with customers and you feel like you need a refresh to drum up interest. Or perhaps you've decided to completely pivot your business model and want an updated look to match your new approach.
Conversely, there are also a lot of bad reasons to rebrand your company. Changing things up without a solid strategy or purpose is a waste of time and money, and worse, it could confuse and alienate your customers. If you're thinking about making a significant change to your brand identity, first ask yourself these 13 questions recommended by members of the Forbes Agency Council.
1. Why Am I Rebranding?
Know who or what you're rebranding for. Rebranding for a new audience? For new services? Or simply trying to keep up with the times? Pivoting to try and gain a new market can be risky. However, if this market is clear, you are far closer to a successful rebranding strategy. Be careful not to alienate your existing target market (unless that's the goal). Know your "why" and go from there. - Bernard May, National Positions
2. What Could You Lose?
Will a rebrand endanger the brand equity you've built up over the years? If the changes you make are drastic, will your current customers embrace them? Is the potential lure of new customers strong enough to risk alienating or confusing your current base? If not, then what? Is it possible that polishing up your current brand elements would give you the best of old and new? - Scott Greggory, MadAveGroup
3. What Do My Customers Want?
It's typical for companies to strongly believe they know exactly what their clients' need to hear and see in their brand. Guessing what customers want is dangerous and leads to incorrect assumptions. All rebrands must include a structured discovery process that includes customer interviews to eliminate guessing, and internal interviews to bring the entire company together in one message. - John Gumas, Gumas Advertising
4. How Does My Brand Feed The Identities People Want To Create?
Brands play a fundamental role in reinforcing the identities people construct for themselves — multi-dimensional identities. By decoding what motivates people to build a particular identity and understanding your brand's role in supporting it, you can build brands that become, in some small way, part of how someone defines themselves, and ultimately, part of the cultural fabric. - Meggan Wood, Innate Motion
5. Are We Ready To Do This?
Rebranding is a good idea when sales are flat, the company's focus has changed or a reputation has been tarnished. But a new brand is a new promise. As such, a true rebrand requires commitment from employees at every level to truly support the revised position. Often, companies waste money going through a rebrand only to keep doing things the same way. If you aren't going to change, save your money. - Jacquelyn LaMar, VI Marketing and Branding
6. Can Our Marketing Campaigns Compensate For The Rebrand?
Rebranding is incredibly expensive and requires a complete organizational restructuring of the way you communicate your business over existing marketing channels. Everything from your brand's voice to the content you create will change. Can you maintain consistency and continuity across your channels? And can existing customers keep you afloat in the meantime? Determine costs before moving forward. - Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com
7. Will This Rebrand Deliver Significant Changes Or Consumer Benefits?
As a PR agency, we are often tasked with promoting a rebrand as big company news. From our perspective, if generating buzz around a tired brand is one of the rebrand's goals, it must deliver significant changes or consumer benefits beyond a new logo, packaging or tagline to get media and consumer attention. - Suzanne Miller, SPM Communications
8. Do I Have The Budget To Make A Real Impact?
Companies rebrand all the time because they've become tired or have a new, shiny positioning to push out. The second question you need to ask, especially if there's a mass audience, is: Have I set aside enough budget to make an impact? Brands can't go out in public half-naked. If you have an established brand and need to change your target's mind, you have to invest more across all comms. - Sean Looney, Looney Advertising & Branding
9. How Will It Impact Our Existing Customers?
When rebranding, you should always consider how the change will impact existing customers. Sometimes a rebrand is necessary, but many of today’s businesses are looking to rebrand to attract younger demographics. In this case, it’s important to ask whether the core components of your business will change and, if so, how that will impact the loyal customers you’ve already earned. - Matthew Jonas, TopFire Media
10. How Will I Track The Results Of The Rebrand?
How do you plan on tracking the rebrand's success and ROI? Figuring out the why is easy — maybe it's keeping up with competition, needing a design refresh or modernizing your brand. But if you are not tracking the results afterward, it will be hard to tell how successful your efforts have been. - David Kley, Web Design and Company
11. Will I See A Real ROI?
Will your new brand open up enough revenue-generating opportunities to justify the expense, time, resources and disruption that will happen before the rebrand is done and successfully implemented? Be clear on how the rebrand will help you attract new clients, deepen existing relationships, command more for your offering and attract new talent. Think carefully before taking the plunge. - Michelle Pittman, JConnelly
12. How Well Do I Know My Audience?
If you have a deep and strategic understanding of your audience's interests, needs and digital preferences, your rebrand is more likely to resonate with the audiences that matter most to your business. - Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
13. What Problem Will This Rebrand Solve?
Rebranding for the sake of rebranding is a waste of time and energy. Understand what problem you are trying to solve and figure out if rebranding will fix it. If your customer base has changed, new customers are coming back and you are altering your entire business, then yes, rebrand. But if you are simply having a slightly off year, don't spend the time. - Aidan Cole, nTuitive.social