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● Outdated brand identity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.

The transformation generation of the new roaring twenties – Where do hotels go from here?

This is the year of ‘Future Thinking and resetting’ at Harrison, and our recent planning and brainstorming session was all about that. It was a truly dynamic session with contributions from the global team in Melbourne, London, Dallas and Dubai.

We’re all mindful that the industry we work in is under pressure like we’ve never seen before, but hotels are still under construction, entrepreneurs are still designing and building, chains are still growing, but in the shadows, we experience record numbers of lifetime closures, sales declines and job losses which we cannot get away from.

But what of the hotel assets that have had a year of hell from lockdown after lockdown, how can they continue to survive? …… We have a clear view that they have to.

 

The Future of the Hotel.

We talked about the role that large hotels will play in owner portfolios, hypothesising whether there was still a place for them in cities where office worker behaviour has transformed and what once might have been unthinkable is now becoming acceptable ‘working from home’ and the role of Zoom becoming so common place it’s hard to see a return to the social and working habits of the noughties.

So, what of these assets?

Can whole floors be transformed from single night stays to permanent residences? Can staid all day dining becoming destination dining? Perhaps a whole floor transformed to a gaming and sports themed destination with a global brand perhaps, such as Goose Island Craft Beer Bar, an AB InBev concept?

Meeting rooms transform to technological spaces that replace the traditional meeting room, to a Boardroom by the hour or day and other cavernous space transformed to destination social meeting and workspaces relieving the boredom of home working.  Why couldn’t additional space be used to home retail services and shops aligned to the needs of the new user, guest, resident, visitor, worker and owner?

Can a 600-bed hotel become a 350-bed hotel and multi-purpose asset that relies on multiple income, multiple destination purpose driven rather than the traditional dual income streams they currently rely?

These assets have to sweat and sweat differently. Imagine hotel revenue directors being complemented (even replaced) by single building asset managers looking after leasing etc., not just maximising the revenues of single night stays.

And then we went on, how do we make these spaces even more dynamic, future thinking and pace setting, like fashion statements but more physical and permanent. Many owners crave trophy assets, be they the hotel brand or restaurants and bars within, but that list is a relatively short one and as we transform how do we lift stunning indulgent design and make it equally captivating, atmospheric and command crave?

 

 

Hospitality Trends & Ideas to Look Out for in 2021

Our fashion analogy is that it’s a bit like taking couture fashion off the catwalk and into the mainstream, still generating awesome brand awareness but affordably in spaces that drive essential footfall from the residents but also the surrounding community as a new destination, but also a space that can quickly evolve, maintain and drive footfall.

Dining, drinking, social and meetings spaces that used to last several years or longer won’t now as innovators and entrepreneurs teach us how to create dynamic spaces so brilliantly and affordably. The consumers’ emotional needs crave value; atmosphere, comfort and the trend are now a given expectation.

We’re looking forward to seeing how hotels evolve in the transformation generation of today’s roaring twenties.

Futuristic thinking is demanded to make sure that guests still get their jaw dropping experience, but owners too can sleep better at night knowing their assets are sweating while they’re sleeping, whatever the time of day it is.  And that is what the design, branding and strategy team at Harrison are focusing this year with their theme of ‘Future Thinking’ as ‘Global Brand Transfer’ experts.

 

Hospitality Consulting at Harrison

The team at Harrison have proven their ability to take brands and successfully ‘glocalise’ them from home brand to a global brand particularly in the franchise sector with brands such as Hard Rock Café, Pizza Hut, Wynham Hotels and Resorts, Hilton, Slim Chickens and TGI Fridays.

The Harrison Global Brand Transfer program now offers clients a full end-to-end service from design, branding, and franchise consulting services.
Offering clients

Brand Development on behalf of the Franchisor

Building design brand books for franchisees to deliver consistent global brand guidelines.

Brand Delivery on behalf of the franchisee.

Taking the brand books and providing detailed drawings for local contractors to build and deliver.

Strategic market entry guidance to both franchisor and franchisee with expert guidance and consultancy to ensure a successful development plan roll out

Guidance and advice for new brands going to market with franchising aspiration

Working with operators to build a robust franchise model.

Guidance and Advice for established brands with a franchise strategy.

We have over the years in fact created a Harrison ‘franchise ecosystem’

For further information or a chat about your franchise plans then please contact us on richard@harrison.hn or via our websites contact us page.

Front Burner’s New Slider Concept – Son of a Butcher – Makes a Stand in Dallas.

Harrison would like to thank and congratulate the Front Burner Restaurant team on the launch of the Son of a Butcher (SoB) restaurant concept in an iconic building on Greenville Ave. Dallas.

Harrison have been working in partnership with the Front Burner Restaurant team to develop this memorable architecture & interior design concept for the last year. Get yourself down to the restaurant, the sliders are incredible!!

Also a big thank you to the Harrison team who collaborated closely with Front Burner Restaurants throughout the concept, branding, architecture & interior design, construction documentation stages as Architect of Record on this project.

Click on this link for more details.  

 

Harrison Develops Concept for New Social Lounge Experience Sidecar Social

Dallas, TX  (RestaurantNews.com)  Architecture and design firm Harrison has completed Sidecar Social, a new social lounge experience in Addison. The property is located at The Village on the Parkway, a 380,000-square-foot lifestyle center in Dallas/Fort Worth. The grand opening is scheduled for late August 2019.

Continue reading here.

Storytelling – really connect with your customers.

Behind some of the greats in the business, there’s often an origin story. Richard Branson started his first business out of a public phone booth, known in the creative world as ‘the hero’s journey’. These stories have gripped us since mankind first huddled around the fire, telling engaging, potentially life-saving tales of the tribe.  We are all storytelling creatures.

Hollywood screenwriting instructor Robert McKee argues that stories “fulfil a profound human need to grasp the patterns of living — not merely as an intellectual exercise, but within a very personal, emotional experience.” Creating an immersive experience that tells the origin story of a product – and where it’s heading – can be an effective way to engage with customers on a deeper level than more traditional marketing methods. The key to making them work – the same as Hollywood blockbusters and tales around the campfire – is memorable, instructional storytelling that resonates with the audience.

Experiential marketing is still working. Developments such as the €16m expansion plan for the Guinness Storehouse (Ireland’s most popular visitor attraction), Disney’s Star Wars Hotel and Urban Adventure, a new concept we are currently developing. Urban Adventures, a unique, immersive, adrenaline-fuelled, extreme sports activity entertainment concept. Building on all the guest’s senses to create F&B that is a core part of its DNA.

These days, companies are more likely to use immersive experiences to reach new and existing customers via pop up that showcase brand innovations. Even for celebrities, institutions and IP-based products, telling the story of the brand now need to be more engaging than a few boards of old photographs, a shelf of ‘packaging through the ages’ and behind-the-scenes How-It’s-Done videos.  Even when your product is well established, how can the story go deeper?

That’s where sensation comes into the picture – at Cadbury World, the Heath Robinson-style gurgling, purple ‘chocolate machine gives visitors a taste of what’s in store,

Of course, it’s a good idea to make sure the story you’re telling isn’t a Tall Tale.  Consumers are only ever a few clicks away from a deep dive into a company’s public profile. Visitor attractions ought not only to reflect the sensations you want your brand to conjure up with loyal and new customers but also be able to go through the ups and downs in the history of your organisation and pluck out the tales that demonstrate what the company is really like and what the brand stands for. And it’s OK to admit to mistakes (short-lived changes in brand recipes that caused a public outcry, for example) – that makes you more relatable; more human.

When brands get it right, their visitor attractions morph into something beyond a marketing exercise and become tourist destinations in their own right. Places like the Jamison Distillery and Legoland ask their audiences to travel and pay for a brand experience.

Harrison is obsessed with telling beautiful stories for brands simply designed for people.

Creatively driven. Passionate. Provocative.

It’s your story. It’s yours to tell. Find an honest, engaging way to show people not only what or how, but why your company does what it does they will feel connected to your brand. That’s human nature. We specialise in storytelling and creating brands that are underpinned by the hero’s journey, why no drop us a line or email us.  www.harrison.hn

 

Harrison unveils the new kid on the Block for Whitbread

Time travel may be a sci-fi dream for many, but for the UK’s largest hospitality company, it has become reality.  Earlier this year, Harrison successfully evolved Whitbread’s Beefeater brand and transported it seamlessly to the competitive high street of the 21st century.

The recent launch of the 3000 sq ft, 173-cover Beefeater Bar + Block in Birmingham city centre has been met with rave reviews and offers a younger demographic a far edgier Beefeater experience with huge on-trend appeal. 

The new, modern design lends centre stage to the theatre of food and drink, with a dramatic open kitchen and stand-out central bar complemented by the warmth and conviviality of wood, leather and copper finishes.  The scheme is cleverly punctuated with the eponymous butcher’s block, contemporary artwork and atmospheric lighting.

Beefeater Bar + Block’s journey is a supreme example of Harrison’s skill at extracting and successfully reinterpreting the very best of a brand.  The restaurant is a perfect answer to Whitbread’s desire to attract a younger customer to Beefeater in a busy and highly competitive city centre location.