The Art of the Rebranding – A users guide

What is rebranding?

When most people think of ‘rebranding’ the first thoughts that pop into their heads are visual changes to a brand’s identity. And while it’s true that rebranding often involves tweaks to logos, typography and colour palettes, those elements only scratch the surface of a true rebranding process.

A rebrand should be about meaning, personality and feeling – not just aesthetics.

It should lay everything out on the table for consideration – including your brand’s identity, your purpose, and your vision, mission and values.

 

Why do companies rebrand themselves?

Why your company is rebranding should always be the starting point of the process.

There are many reasons why companies rebrand, including:

● Expansion into different markets with differing customer demographics
● Mergers and acquisitions
● Changing markets
● Outdated brand identity

In some cases, though, companies rebrand for the wrong reasons.

If you’re a marketing director and your CEO demands a brand refresh because they’re ‘sick of looking at the same logo day after day’, that on its own is not an adequate reason for rebranding and the alarm bells should be ringing.

Nor is ego or personal gain. Often, new managers or directors are keen to exert their authority and make their mark, so embark on ill-advised rebranding processes in a bid to do both, with no real business justification for doing so.

And rebranding should never be used as a way to cover up poor performance. If sales are falling off a cliff, it’s far more sensible to look at your product, value proposition and marketing strategy before undertaking a rebrand process that could wipe out the brand equity you have and leave you worse off than when you started.

 

Why rebranding is good?

There are a multitude of benefits – both short-term and long-term – that come with an effective rebranding process.

Firstly, and probably most importantly, rebranding can open new doors for your business and place you in front of a new audience.

Of course, once your business or product is in front of those people, a refreshed brand won’t, on its own, be enough to convert them into customers and fans.

But rebranding can act as a catalyst, stimulating your business to grow in changing markets.

Rebranding can also be a good way to:

● Help you stand out from your main competitors
● Stay current and on trend
● Help you market new products or an amended value proposition

But, essentially, any rebranding process is about boosting your bottom line – and if done well, the success of your rebranding will be measured in more profit.

 

How to rebrand and nail it and some amazing rebranding examples

Think Apple, IBM, Microsoft and McDonald’s – all enduring brands and all have stood the test of time.

And not because they stood still. They’ve changed with changing times, stayed fresh and relevant and have been brave enough to realise when their positioning, brand identity and ‘feel’ has run its course with their customers and the current market.

Nailing a rebrand is as much about knowing when it’s needed and having sound reasons for doing it as it is about the actual process itself.

 

Our Rebranding Users Check List 

Ask yourself:

1. Has your business had a major change in management?
2. Are you looking to expand or diversify the markets your business sits within?
3. Has your product or offer changed since you launched?
4. Has your customer profile changed since you launched?
5. Have your competitors increased in either numbers or market share?
6. Have there been technological advances since you launched that you haven’t explored?
7. Does your brand identity work across all media now with the impact of online?
8. Do you need to reach out to new audiences?
9. Have you received any bad press or negative feedback from customers?
10. Are your sales still increasing at a healthy rate?

If you answered YES to most of the first nine questions and NO to the 10th, then it could be time for you to consider a rebranding exercise to help drive growth to your business.

This doesn’t have to mean a total overhaul – it could be a brand audit and then some subtle changes to positioning, strategy, identity and the way you communicate with your customers.

At the end of the day, a successful rebrand is about adapting and innovating – but also knowing and understanding who you are at any given time.

For example, those skinny jeans you wore in your 20s might not be such a good idea when you hit your 40s – and we all need a bit of help to stay looking fresh, vibrant and in touch with modern life.

It’s the same for brands.

A host of big-name companies have completed successful rebranding processes in recent years.

And while they may have refreshed differing elements of their brand, their identity and their positioning, their reasons why are clear to see.

 

The Burger King rebrand and why it works

Companies with decades of brand equity behind them take the biggest risks when rebranding – none more so than Burger King, which has been etched in the minds of fast-food fans since the mid-1950s. That’s a lot of brand equity right there!

But Burger King’s reasons for its first major rebrand in more than 20 years were fully justified – the company wanted to move to a digital-first approach, while also calling on and celebrating its heritage.

The flat logo design is based on the brand’s 1960s identity and is unashamedly bold, with a retro colour palette that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1978 Ford Cortina!

In rebranding now, Burger King has capitalised on a pining for nostalgia and vintage, and although the brand’s refresh is very much led by design, it also tells a comforting story of the brand’s history and longevity.

 

The Brewdog rebrand and how it supported a planet over profit approach 

It’s fair to say that Scottish craft beer company Brewdog doesn’t have the same kind of history to call upon as Burger King – after all, the brand was only founded in 2007.

Like Burger King, Brewdog’s reasons for its 2020 rebrand were largely to create a digital-friendly aesthetic through pared back graphics and typography.

But its primary reason for rebranding was to support its drive towards sustainability and ensure that this new approach was paired with a more ‘grown up’ brand identity.

Gone are the fussy product backgrounds, upright typography and anti-establishment, ‘punk’-style tone of voice in favour of a cleaner look and feel that won’t distract from the importance of Brewdog’s new ‘sustainability’ messaging. The brand’s ‘Brewdog tomorrow’ campaign is behind the change, with plans in place to reuse old cans and reduce waste by turning imperfect brews into vodka.

 

The Harrison approach to rebranding strategy

We believe that personality, values and story underpin any successful rebrand. We work with hospitality clients who want to reposition and redefine their brands, reconnect with lapsed customers and build excitement in new ones.

 

Our rebranding work with Pizza Hut

If the true evaluation of a rebrand is on bottom line impact, then our work with Pizza Hut hit the mark.

An overhaul of the brand’s UK restaurants resulted in a 40% increase in revenue across the initial trial units.

The aim of the work was to bring both new customers to the table and reignite excitement in those who had drifted away from the brand towards its competitors. Our focus was on ‘Americanness’, with revised seating and bar arrangements, overall design and lighting to encourage night-time dining from a refreshed food and cocktail menu. The refresh helped differentiate Pizza Hut from its Italian-themed competitors and called upon its US heritage to tell the story of a brand that had lost a little momentum.

 

Find out more

Want to know more about how we fuse storytelling, brand identity and design as part of our rebranding process?

Get in touch and we’ll show you what we do best.

An international design perspective that has really made a difference for hospitality companies.

We’re incredibly proud to share with you a recent interview with Keith Anderson, COO of our US business in the Dallas Business Journal. (click on this link for the article).

 Back in 2013 Harrison moved across the pond to set-up our US office in Dallas. Over the past 8 years, Keith and his talented team have built a thriving architecture and design business which has delivered a real difference to many US hospitality clients through an international design perspective that creates differentiation for brands locally.  

 Harrison have recently collaborated with @Front Burner Society to create the new concept @Son of Butcher, re-energised @Velvet Taco and created Sidecar Social, which is owned by Dallas restaurateur @Brent Tipps.

Storytelling in Restaurant Design is One Pillar of your brand’s success

Sarah Jenkinson, our Design Director at our Dallas office has recently shared her insights on creating compelling stories for hospitality brands in a US publication Restaurant News.

There is nothing like a great experience. Our lives are built around them, and the better the story, the more involved people become. Restaurant brands have the same objective because their success is all about the customer journey narrative.

There are a multitude of factors and influences, whether it is the history, food fusion or cultural significance, that play into a restaurant brand’s story.

When a brand engages its guests, it helps guests start to fall in love with everything the restaurant brand does. Designing one-off restaurants or multi-chain brands to make them part of the fabric of peoples’ lives is no easy task.

What makes a restaurant unique, what gives it a competitive edge and how the brand wants to grow are all part of how we identify the solution. We need all of those subliminal qualities to be make sure our design is just right.

Fogo de Chão is known for its Brazilian heritage and warm hospitality. We were determined to help this brand show its Southern Brazilian roots in every step of the guest’s journey with new design elements.

We started by creating a timeless, sophisticated and welcoming environment within the restaurant using deep accent colours and rich upholstery textures

Fundamentally, the food has to go above and beyond tasty. Then, we come in to help maximize the guest journey, which starts not just at the door.

The customer journey is what everyone sees and touches to create a sense of place. Whether the details are big or small, we convey a narrative in everything the guest experiences, from moments like walking to your table and seeing the seats you sit on, smelling the aroma of the brand’s food and drink, hearing music being played and people talking to noticing how the napkins are folded on the table, the weight of the cutlery and how the food is served, everything matters.

Ethics and brands’ behaviours are now even more of a priority on the consumer’s mind. We have to reflect the brand accurately to create the perfect narrative that resonates with who the brand is and what it offers. This is part of what makes any brand stand out from the rest and brings people back for more.

We must understand the finer points that give the discovery and strategy phase of the brand depth.

While it may seem obvious, many new startups, incubator brands and even long-established brands omit this stage as they get caught up in the day-to-day minutiae of operating their business.

For example, we have recently been working with FB Society on Buttercup Love Me Tenders, a quirky brand that serves chicken tenders in cones.

The concept takes an unconventional approach to classic comfort food that embraces global influences and encourages flavour exploration. The unique brand has a fun sense of humour and needed to be envisaged correctly to be successful. As we crafted the Buttercup concept from the ground up, we had to analyze how the brand experience would be for its guests to appropriately bring it to life.

Playing with food is encouraged, so our design had to be equally as fun and playful. The restaurant stall was designed to resemble a traditional shed and chicken coop and even the logo and font choices reflect that lively energy.

In addition, Fogo de Chão is known for its Brazilian heritage and warm hospitality. We were determined to help this brand show its Southern Brazilian roots in every step of the guest’s journey with new design elements.

We started by creating a timeless, sophisticated and welcoming environment within the restaurant using deep accent colours and rich upholstery textures.

From the moment guests arrive, they will enjoy an experience that allows them to discover something new with every bite. Founded in Southern Brazil in 1979, Fogo elevates the centuries-old cooking technique of churrasco – the art of roasting high-quality cuts of meat over an open flame – into a cultural dining experience of discovery.

Whether guests are celebrating an occasion with family or enjoying a date night in the Next Level Lounge, the restaurant’s design aesthetic tells the Fogo story through every touchpoint.

Guests want a brand with a story to tell. Told often through many unseen details, key features are planned out and unite to create the right experience.

As designers, we rely on the brand to help us translate its DNA into special features or magical moments and feelings that ensure the brand’s story is being told.

Ultimately, we’re in charge of putting the guest at the heart of the experience, and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure they fall with the brand and stay in love.

Because we all love a happy ending.

Top tips for adapting to outside dining spaces

Creating an effective outdoor dining space.

It’s fair to say outside space has never been more important – both to businesses and to us as people.

For restaurants and pubs in particular, who are among those hit hardest by ongoing coronavirus restrictions, outdoor dining spaces have been thrown into the spotlight as a real ‘must have’ for any business in the hospitality sector going forward.

But when it comes to outdoor dining spaces, design, style, character and ‘feeling’ are also must-haves – certainly in the eyes of guests.

They have to ‘feel’ something when they take a seat in your outdoor dining area – and most importantly, they have to feel at home.

So, how do you develop those kinds of emotions in your guests when they’re outside rather than inside? Here are some great ideas to get you started…

 

Outdoor restaurant design our recommendations.

Interiors can provide a richness of décor, with comfortable, stylish seating and lighting to set the right mood for guests at the right time. Outside, of course, recreating that is tricky – even on a hot summer’s day or a balmy July evening when everything generally seems right with the world.

It’s possible, although success is always in the finer detail.

 

The right lighting

When day starts to become night, how you light your outdoor dining space is critical to the kind of atmosphere you want to create for your guests. String lights, tea lights and lanterns are all brilliant ways to light your outside dining area, as well as capture your guest’s attention.

 

Protection from the elements while retaining the style

You can’t always rely on the British summer, but it’s possible to protect your guests from the elements and retain a sense of style and ‘brand’ at the same time. Table or bench umbrellas obviously work well on sunny days and offer value for money. However, consider other creative solutions that reflect your brand’s tone of voice in providing respite from the sun.

A step further, you could consider a covered area that can be used all year round, or a pitched canopy – the sound of a summer rain beating down on material can provide an atmosphere in its own right and can be rather soothing!

Making your outdoor dining area an ‘experience’

Capturing guest attention and providing a theatrical experience when they first enter your outdoor dining area can make your venue memorable. Think about placing fire pits around your outside dining space to create a sense of drama or light up a large barbecue where customers can toast their own marshmallows or choose freshly cooked meats.

An open outdoor kitchen is also a great way to entertain guests dining al-fresco.

 

Outdoor restaurant seating ideas

One of the biggest challenges facing hospitality in the era of Covid-19 is seating. With social distancing restrictions being relaxed completely, we hope, in the not-too-distant future, brands can once again start to think about how they lay out their outdoor dining area and the type of seating they use.

Bringing people together, after so long apart, will be key in the early days post-coronavirus – so think about using bench seating, with long tables where diners can share space, food, drink and laughs.

The Stable, a national brand of pizza and cider restaurants, do this really well.

Your outdoor space, of course, should reflect your brand as much as your inside space – your customers should feel like they’re eating and drinking with you, despite dining al-fresco. So, use the materials that reflect your brand – whether that’s sleek metals or warm wood tones.

Remember though: this is the UK, so your seating will need to be durable and resistant to the glorious British weather as well as remaining stylish and on-brand.

 

How Harrison can help create an outdoor dining experience for your brand

Creating a usable outdoor dining space isn’t necessarily the hard part for you as a brand – it’s making that space feel like ‘you’ that’s much, much harder.

The outdoors will never be indoors, but that doesn’t mean it has to feel ‘different’.

Just take a look at this rooftop hotel concept we developed for a hotel chain in Dubai – competition doesn’t come bigger than the Dubai skyline, so creating drama and theatre was a key part of this particular project.

The stories we create are told through design. That’s what we’re all about.

Get in touch to find out more.

The Future is Now for New Restaurant Design

At Harrison, we are fortunate enough to work with restaurant concepts that are taking this leap in to the future and creating engaging experiences through their restaurant designs. Many have used this time to redefine their brand stories and maximize areas of opportunity. These shifts are revolutionizing the industry and defining the restaurant of the future.

Keith Anderson, CEO of our US Design Studio has recently been interviewed by QSR magazine and outlined his thoughts and ideas on next level interior design.

“We should focus in on responding to the need states of the guest through increased flexibility, experience, customization, personalization, convenience and safety measures.

As we move into this new phase, there are three areas of focus for next-level design:

 

Fully Customizable Spaces

During the height of the pandemic, restaurants realized that versatile design played an integral role in profitability and this lesson will become part of the new landscape. We predict a shift towards adaptable designs that offer the flexibility to create multiple lay-out options that can flex to heightened restrictions but without creating cavernous space. New prototypes will be designed for multi-functionality with screens to divide high-traffic areas, moveable tables and chairs instead of fixed booths, and flexibility to create socially distanced layouts. Creating personalized and multi-purpose design is no longer an option, it has become an essential part of all future design.

 

Hygiene and Sanitation Built-in to the Design

The big winner of the last year is hygiene. We will never again take our health and safety for granted, even at our favorite restaurants. This new must-have design element will be reflected in future restaurant prototypes and will include more than just hand washing stations. Anti-microbial finishes should be considered for guest touch points. All handles and high-touch surfaces will be made with self-cleaning materials which can prevent the spread of germs and seating will convert from fabric to hard surfaces for ease of sanitation. Brands must continue embrace technology that enables convenience, enhances safety by allowing contactless ordering and transactions.

 

Maximizing Opportunities for Off-Premises Dining

During days of lock-down when many of us were missing our favorite restaurants, it was a treat to have the option to grab carry-out from our favorite spots. We learned, although eating our favorite menu items at home is a different experience, it’s not all bad and we might want to keep doing it when all restrictions are lifted.  In addition, many restaurants realized they had been leaving money on the table by not offering this option and are ready to make off-premise options a permanent part of the equation. According to data, 66 percent of consumers anticipate continuing to use curbside pickup after dine-in services resume. We must continue to innovate and look for ways to enhance the off-premise brand experience through digital, technology and packaging.

Off-premises dining is here to stay and restaurants are building it in to their model moving forward. They are adding grab and go areas to maximize take-out and dedicated access for third party delivery drivers. Additional options include dedicated space for take-out orders with items stored in lit or temperature-controlled locker-like boxes with designated numbers to ensure that orders are secure and only picked up by the correct customer.

We must continue to think outside the box and return our focus to the need states of the guest. True innovation in drive-through should be explored by focusing in on personalizing the customer experience through data and understanding. Technology such as number plate recognition can help brands recognize returning guests so they can personalize communication, gifting and experiences. Imagine the possibilities of a drive through experience that triggers a music playlist, plays a favorite Netflix movie or provides a special birthday greeting. If it sounds futuristic, it is. But, the future is now.

Things are always changing and that’s not always a bad thing. In these extraordinary times, brands can reimagine their stories and ways to connect with their guest.

 

 

The “new normal” that everyone is talking about is actually an exciting evolution for an industry ready to come back better than ever”.

 

What is Brand Storytelling and and why should you be sitting up and taking notice?

What is brand storytelling?

In a world full to the brim with competition and even copycats, the old adage ‘survival of the fittest’ has never carried more weight for today’s brands. And with brands battling for every nano-second of consumer attention, your chances of survival can be hugely boosted through brand storytelling.

 

But what is brand storytelling and why should you be sitting up and taking notice?

Brand storytelling is the narrative that links you with your customers on a far deeper level than your product or service alone can manage.

It’s why you exist.

It’s why you matter.

It’s what makes your customers feel something.

That emotional connection, which encompasses the values you share with your customers, is a powerful thing and it’s what can help you stand out from the copycats and competition we alluded to right at the top of this piece.

It’s what makes your brand unique – because they can copy what you do, but they can’t copy your story.

That’s the power of brand storytelling…

 

Why is brand storytelling important?

The relationship between a brand and its customers had always been traditionally seen as something of a one-way street. You know how it used to go…

1. Customer makes enquiry, sharing lots of information about themselves.

2. Brand embarks on a hard sell to customer without giving them anything meaningful in return.

Of course, this was accepted many moons ago when companies had no real way of communicating effectively with their customers. But now, with more than 91% of businesses using content marketing strategies, the noise you’re battling with to capture your customers’ attention has never been louder. And even more importantly than that – customer demand for meaningful stories has never been higher.

As recently as 2015, research from The Brand Storytelling Report revealed how 80% of UK adults wanted brands to tell meaningful stories as part of their marketing output.

Yet 85% couldn’t recall a single memorable story told by a brand.

All of which tells us that while many brands are attempting to jump on board the brand storytelling train, many are derailing themselves right away through the actual content they’re creating.

 

How do brands use storytelling?

Think of some of the great books that have sold millions of copies all across the globe. How about:

• Harry Potter?
• Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
• The Lord of the Rings?

Those examples have all been made into films, too, and here’s what they all have in common:

• A hero with a goal or mission
• Something that our hero has to battle against in order to succeed
• A positive emotional development in our hero

As humans, we’re all wired to emotionally connect and react to stories – after all, we’re taught them from the moment we emerge into the world, from bedtime tales to picking apart Jane Eyre in GCSE English.

Brand storytelling example: Airbnb

Airbnb is some way from Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte, but as a brand, it’s one that places connective storytelling at the very heart of everything it does.

By providing a picture of an Airbnb host’s life, as the brand has done with Jonathan’s story, Airbnb is able to tell a ‘hero’s tale’ of a single dad of three, who was working 60-80-hour weeks as well as looking after his kids – before he started generating an income from letting his spare rooms to Airbnb guests and changed his life. The hosts, essentially, are Airbnb so rather than focusing their content marketing efforts on telling the story of the business, the brand’s approach focuses on their customer’s own stories and experiences.

What better way to resonate with their customers, than through people who are essentially just like them?

 

How to tell the story of your brand

The story of your brand, your values and what you stand for already exist – it’s how you project them into the emotional make-up of your customers that’s key. It’s also important to remember that your brand story is an ongoing evolutionary process, with plenty of sequels to come.

Your brand storytelling strategy should be driven by people and personalities – just like a good book.

Think about:

• Who you are – how did your brand come to be and what is your vision, mission and values? What did you go through to get to where you are?
• What you do – but not only that, consider how what you do improves the lives of your customers and why you do what you do
• Who your customers are – your customers have stories to tell which stem directly from their experience with your brand. Make use of those authentic, honest stories
• What’s next – how will your brand evolve and how will you take your customers on that journey with you?

You should also:

• Focus on the problems your customers have and how what you do solves those problems – that’s the way to craft your hero and the story of how they overcame the odds with your help
• Make sure your story is educational, entertaining and inspirational – but most of all: make sure it’s believable
• Concentrate on the emotional touchpoint with your audience – how did what you do help someone and what were they struggling with before you stepped in?
• Let your personality shine through in your stories – it’s what sets you apart from the competition and your customers should know something is ‘you’ simply from reading the first line of your content

 

The Harrison approach to brand storytelling

We love telling the stories of the brands we work with. They’re intriguing, aspirational and encourage discovery from your customers.

Here are just a handful of the great brand story projects we’ve worked on:

The Angel Hotel

Intrigue formed the basis of our work with The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds, an imposing 12th century Georgian coaching house full of history and mystique.
Author Charlies Dickens stayed at the venue and referenced it in his acclaimed novel The Pickwick Papers. We created a concept of ‘fables and tales’ to inject a feeling of ESCAPISM and ADVENTURE in every corner of the venue’s historic footprint.

Giraffe Restaurants

We built Giraffe World Kitchen’s brand story around the characteristics of the animal itself. Customers would ask why is this restaurant called Giraffe?Those characteristics align with the brand’s own values and beliefs:

• Giraffes have the biggest hearts of all land animals – OUR BRAND IS FRIENDLY AND WELCOMING
• They’re explorers, roaming the plains of Africa – OUR BRAND IS EXCITING AND ADVENTUROUS
• They have different view of the world, due to their height – OUR BRAND IS FUN AND LOOKS AT THINGS DIFFERENTLY

Gallio Pizza

The brand challenge for this Mediterranean pizza concept was to find a narrative arc that would forge a connection between the many varied cultures around the region, and connect with the brand with the wholesome and healthier way of life that the Mediterranean is synonymous with.

Our solution was to ensure Gallio Pizza became a true EXPLORER brand telling the story of a food odyssey that followed in the wake of the ‘Galley’ ships of the early Mediterranean trade routes. It is a brand which collects stories and recipes from chefs, staff and customers – recommending places to find incredible food and telling stories of ingredient provenance – quite literally taking customers on a journey. This story gives the brand licence to combine ingredients and influences creating an inspiring new and innovative menu.

Find out more

We’re brand storytelling consultants – but so much more than that, too.

Get in touch to find out more.