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More Than Just A New Look: A Guide To Rebranding Pulling off a successful, meaningful rebranding is always a tiresome task, and lots of companies can't get it right.

By Muhammad Omar Edited by Tamara Pupic

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Pulling off a successful, meaningful rebranding is always a tiresome task, and lots of companies can't get it right. Our last rebranding project at my company, Eventtus, taught us a lot, and we would like to share with you the most critical points to keep in mind to execute a successful rebranding effort.

1. Answer the why question first
Why do you want to rebrand? Do you just need a refreshed look after a long time? Are you facing specific challenges, and identified rebranding as part of the solution? Did you enter a new market, or have discovered a particular opportunity, which requires an inevitable change in looks, and is worth a full rebrand?

These are some of the questions you need to ask. Rebranding is not a simple decision, you are risking your brand assets, the backlash of your current customers, and making a substantial investment, so you need to understand, why are you doing this, and be sure that it is worth the investment.

At Eventtus, the case for rebranding was clear. The company has evolved greatly over the last couple of years, expanding its portfolio, and scaling its business with major key events, venues, corporates, and exhibitions all over the world. We were focusing so much on the product that the brand was kind of left behind. So, it was time for the brand to evolve to reflect these changes, and hence, rebranding and formulating our current motto: Think Big, Think Easy.

2. Have a clear scope, and write a rebrand manifesto
Defining a clear scope (and sticking to it) is an essential aspect of a successful rebranding. Knowing precisely what you want to change, what you want to keep, the communication message that you wish your brand identity to reflect are major flags whether you will have a successful rebranding project or not.

Lots of brands dive headfirst into rebranding, and get lost and consumed in the aesthetics, then end up with something that might look visually appealing, but the message that needs to be delivered gets lost in translation.

Create a well-written, clear manifesto to be your North Star, and use it to get buy-in from all stakeholders. Rebranding is one of the toughest projects to discuss and get a clear go-ahead on, as branding involves colors, fonts, and designs, which has a subjective element, so agreeing on what to do isn't an easy task.

New Eventtus logo.
Source: Eventtus

3. Hire an expert
Unless you are a huge company with a big design, branding, and marketing team, you should hire an expert for the project. Find a branding and design agency that fits your goals. Research and ask for recommendations, check their portfolios, and use these criteria to find the right fit:

Hire an agency with expertise on rebranding projects, an agency that successfully proved time after time they know what they are doing, and how to satisfy clients' needs.

Make sure to choose an agency that has worked on similar industries. It doesn't need to be the same industry you are in, but it's better if you find one like that. For instance, if you're
a company offering a SAAS product, don't go to an agency that has only done rebrands of physical products and their packaging they simply won't understand you well.

Design soul
That one is hard to define, but when you browse different portfolios, you will always see a general design pattern. Some agencies favor soft fonts, others like bold, radical recreations, and some agencies go safe and corporate-y, so make sure to choose one that reflects the soul of what you are hoping to give your brand. This is somehow subjective, and it needs an eye for design and branding, so involve your design team when making this decision.

4. Research your target audience
Eventually, your work is for your audience, the current customers, and the potential ones, so you need to make sure to know who they are, what they like, what are their preferences, and that whatever you are doing will reflect a better way to serve them. There are many types of research that you can conduct to ensure your rebranding is successful, including:

- Brand awareness research
- Brand perception research
- Brand identity research
- Brand loyalty research
- Brand values research
- Brand message research
- Brand strategy research

Related: Rebranding Your Startup: The Right Conceptual Development Makes All The Difference

Make sure to cover all your bases; begin a qualitative analysis, interview customers, and hold internal and external focus groups (we did tons of that before our project started), and gather all you can about your customers' emotions and perceptions. Use this data to formulate your quantitative research surveys, so you can measure, compare, and assess exactly what you need to do. And a bonus point, doing this made it much easier to convince the major stakeholders in our company that this project is indeed a priority.

5. Involve your experts
Marketing teams tend to be protective of projects like this- they love leading the whole thing, and making every call. But out of experience, in rebranding, inclusion is key. Collaborate with your design team, your UX/UI designers, your art director if you have one of those, and someone to represent the business side. Having people that represent different aspects helps you see the problem from various angles- you need these inputs. But make sure to make the roles and decision-making process within this mini team crisp and clear, so as to not hinder progress.

6. Be unique, but stay relevant
Every brand wants to be unique and different, and it's understandable- we all want to stand out, and be visually pleasant and remarkable. But in our pursuit of uniqueness, many times we forget being relevant. When we started the Eventtus rebranding project, we also aimed to be unique, and were first looking for a radical change in our logo/icon, but then settled for the current logo that is a re-imagination of the concept of the logo we once had, done in a new, sleek, and modern way, because that concept is relevant to us, and represents who we are as a company. Going radical would have defied the purpose of the project.

7. Plan the switch
When you switch to your new brand, it's not just about your website, logo, colors, and icons. You have to plan for that switch accurately. Create a list of all your collaterals, documents, sales kits, every communication asset you have, and make sure to have a plan for how you will update everything to your new identity. You will need to redesign and reproduce everything: your blog design, your stationery, business cards, logos on sales kits and brochures, presentations, your online social media accounts, and maybe even change some posters in your office. Lots of brands mess up this point, and end up with an incoherent online presence that has both the old and the new brand co-existing, which, in the end, makes you look sloppy. Don't fall for that, and have a clear plan from day one. Pro-tip: create checklists of all your resources that need to be rebranded, use it to track progress, and make sure nothing gets missed.

8. Tell your audience why
You owe your audience an explanation. People, in general, don't like change, and especially your users. They got used to a certain UI, colors, logo, and icon of your brand. And if you did a really good job, they might even have an emotional connection with it. Remember Slack's logo and colors change? Lots of people were sad or angry, and didn't want the change, but Slack issued an informative, nicely written article explaining the functional and practical problems they faced using the old identity, and why they needed the change. We followed the same path as any great brand- we explained on our newly redesigned blog (which you really need to check and subscribe to if you are working at any role in event creation or management industry) why did we rebrand, and what it was all about.

9. Use the opportunity to go public
You don't get to rebrand every day- it's a big deal. Use it well! Go public with your rebranding project; create a landing page for your rebranding, be visual and beautiful, partner with publishers, and do a PR campaign. Use this chance to increase your brand awareness, and use that platform to position your brand the right way. Everybody likes a good story, right?

Another great way to use this opportunity is what we did here at Eventtus, which is to present to the world a new product! With the rebrand, we finally got the chance to introduce Eventtus LeadBox, our new software solution that grants sponsors and exhibitors the means to drive immediate ROI, with a simple yet valuable lead generation tool. Doing that helped our SEO and product awareness big time, and our PR even helped us generate leads- this wasn't our main goal, but hey, what a great bonus achievement!

As you go through the rebranding process, make sure to keep revising your brand manifesto as you go, ensuring that you are on the right track all the time, not losing sight of what's important, and what you actually want to achieve with your rebranding. And that's it. Happy rebranding, everyone!

Related: Why Your Branding Is More Important Than Your Logo- Start Your Company With A Better Chance Of Success

Muhammad Omar

Head of Marketing, Eventtus

Muhammad Omar is the Head of Marketing at Eventtus, an award-winning digital event management and engagement tech company.

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