The Art of the Rebranding – A users guide

Brand Transformation

7th May 2021

By richard

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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● Outdated brand identity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.

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