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There are a myriad of reasons that drive different companies to rebrand. The business may want to engage a new market regionally or globally, grow in size and scale, reach a new customer segment, or simply be looking to modernize or update their image. Often, however, they are looking to reposition themselves entirely.
Generally, we will see the result of a rebrand in creative or visual terms- refinement to a brand’s visual identity, a cosmetic fix such as a change to the logo and the brand expression on business cards, brochures and PowerPoint presentations. However, it can and should also be a strategically led endeavor, and reach into the realms of tone of voice, vision, mission, values and other non-visual elements too- not just the tangible touch-points.
A rebrand should not just be about changing a logo. Obviously, a change in logo will inevitably signal to the market that change is afoot. As such, there will be an expectation that things will be positively different in some way. However, does that alone indicate a new approach to the market, a new ethos and way of doing things, a new range of products and services designed to address customers’ needs? Brands should be thinking deeply and broadly about what they need to do to bring this change to life in ways that positively impact customers, far beyond a new logo.
As a brand and digital agency, it is important for us to understand what our clients’ businesses are trying to achieve, as it will determine the extent of the shift. Sometimes it can be an evolution, or maybe just a simple refresh. Often, this involves a conscious attempt to retain some vestige of the past, as the current brand identity may have some existing equity or nostalgic value that the business wants to leverage. Equally, they may want to ensure that they remain recognizable to their current loyal customer base, while still appealing to a new audience.
During the discovery stage of a rebrand, it is worth investing in a brand audit to assess the “health” of the current brand. This customer-focused exercise assesses sources of equity and ways to leverage the brand. This is an important foundation for any rebrand, but it also helps to determine if one is actually beneficial to the brand itself.
Sometimes, the rebrand might take a more revolutionary form. This might happen when a company goes through a merger or acquisition, when they need to reposition themselves in the market entirely, such as when there’s a fundamental change in strategic direction, or the new ownership wanting to make its mark. But what should brands and branding agencies consider when rebranding?
In short, our strategy-led approach ensures the following are considered: why companies want to rebrand, the investment required to do so, how it will be rolled out and executed, international reach, cultural sensitivity, timescales etc. At Omnia, we encourage our clients to really think about why they want to rebrand, and ask them to be clear about what their objectives are from the outset. What is it that they want to happen as a result of the rebrand? We work with our clients to set out a clear rationale.
If a rebrand is to work as hard as possible for the business and deliver the value it needs, it requires careful thought, consideration and time. We work in strategic workshop sessions to help extract from clients what they are hoping to convey, the story they want to tell, the image and personality they are trying to forge in the market, and place huge importance on the decision makers being a proactive part in them.
We also advise bringing the brand’s PR team or agency in at this early stage to assist with this. It enables brands to think early on about their communication plan, what the new brand means, what is the story they want to tell and what their customers expect in terms of their relationship with the brand. Understanding this may also help shape other elements of the branding process, especially in regards to the timeline.