About half of the branding clients I work with hire me for a rebrand rather than for a company starting from scratch. Maybe you are in the position of having been in business for a while and you’ve started to wonder about rebranding. Why do companies decide to rebrand? How do you determine if it would be a good move for you? How do you know when to pull the trigger? These are a few signs that either alone or especially in combination will help you to know if this is a good direction for you.
1 | Your existing branding is outdated.
When you’ve been in business for a long time, you can see growth in many areas of your company from services, to client base, to ideals. But during that time, what may have started out as a strong brand now looks old and out of date. To keep up with the times (and with your competition) make sure you are evaluating your brand at least every few years to ensure you are holding up with trends and styles. Both examples below are companies I have worked with, and the only goal they had was to look more modern, meaning it was important to preserve the personality they had spent years developing. One thing in rebrands I like to emphasize is that you can carry over the most prominent aspects of your existing brand while still refreshing the overall look.
With D'ee Angelic Rose Florist, the priority was to keep but update the angel holding three flowers. There was a lot of symbolic meaning behind the imagery, but in the rebrand we were able to simplify the color scheme and the illustration while developing a more comprehensive brand.
The Quick Appliance Repair logo wanted to refresh and introduce another color to their branding, but we were able to keep the "feel" of their brand by honing in on the blue as the primary color and updating the type treatment but keeping a similar style with a similar font and italic treatment.
2 | Your visuals no longer match who you are as a company.
Maybe there’s nothing technically wrong with your branding. Your company still looks current, you stand out from your competition, and you have a legitimate and consistent appearance. You can check pretty much all of the boxes, but something still just doesn’t feel right. This might mean that your visuals no longer line up with who you have grown into as a company. If you are in tune with that feeling, that means you branding is no longer doing the primary thing it is meant to do – reach and resonate with your target audience; hence the reason for a rebrand. This is one of the more sticky areas because, reasonably so, you might be worried about losing your brand recognition. Below are two examples, one you have likely seen before and one I worked on for a client. In both instances, their visuals didn’t align with their message, meaning their message was immediately being diluted. Take a look at the first example. Air-BnB displayed a clear message with their rebrand. It was a strong move on their part and easily understood why they made the change.
Now take a look at the second example. When I started working with PHOCO they already had a solid brand. It came across as professional and the way it was applied was very consistent. They already had a solid handle on building their brand recognition and trust with their consumers. However, after a couple of years in business, the owner felt the approach really wasn’t reflective of who they are as a company. The discussion started with descriptions of a desire for a “more stream lined, more minimal, more sophisticated" approach. From there we dug a little deeper and were able to identify and address all of the concerns he had in order to come up with a solution that worked for his company.
3 | You can afford to invest in professional design now.
I am under no impression that every startup has an indispensable bank account to devote to developing their brand. When you are just getting going, finances can be tight. Even though I will always be a huge advocate for investing in your branding as soon as possible, I understand that a step-by-step solution can be the best approach. Sometimes you have to wait until you have your feet under you before you can prioritize branding. One of my favorite projects to date started this way. Her branding was more or less at a concept stage when she came to me. She had been in business for a couple of years already and really liked the concept of the logo mark she had developed. You can see it below. It makes sense, it's clever, and it speaks for her company and industry by incorporating the male/female symbols with the shears. Yet, she didn’t feel it was refined or sophisticated enough. We were able to improve what she had while maintaining the recognizable features she had already developed.
4 | You don’t stand out from your competition.
Sometimes when you start your business, it seems like a good idea to follow in the footsteps of what everyone else is doing. While I can get behind making sure your brand makes sense for your industry, I would also caution you to make sure you take a unique approach that will help you to stand out from your competitors. Think about any organic/green/eco product or service. There became a point when a green leaf alone didn’t work anymore because the product didn’t stand out from the rest of the products on the shelf. Geographic location can sometimes factor into this as well. While there are not enough words to describe my love for the state of Colorado, I have found that as a designer here, I've advised clients not to use a mountain range in their visuals. Not because it is an inherently bad idea, but because it is a pretty common practice, which could result in your company blending in to the masses.
5 | You changed your name.
Sometimes the reason for a rebrand is more logistical than anything else. You may have had an internal shift occur that involved changing your services, selling part of the company, adding a product line, or most importantly changing the name of your company. Oftentimes, if you have changed the name of your company, a number of the above have changed as well, meaning it is time to reevaluate and redevelop the personality and visuals for your company.
An interior design company I worked with early in my career, Studio L Designs, decided to significantly change their approach to their services and company. The discussion revolved around making their appearance more modern, simplified, gender neutral, and able to reach any age demographic. With their name change to Interiors, we were able to reveal an entirely different look for their business.
Have you ever considered a rebrand for your business? What are the things you have worried or wondered about?