Ultimate Rebranding Best Practices

Picture this: You’re sitting in a meeting with your team, bouncing ideas off each other. Perhaps your brand has failed to gain traction in the market as quickly as you’d hoped, or sales are falling as consumers seem to lose interest in your products. Then someone says that dreaded word – rebranding. We get it. Rebranding a business can be a daunting task, with no guarantee that the changes you implement will be embraced by your existing customer base. But trust us when we say that the rewards far outweigh the risks, as long as you avoid the common mistakes companies tend to make when undertaking a rebrand.  Successfully rebranding your business can revitalise your position in the marketplace, attract new customers and align your brand more fully with your company mission and values. So let’s get cracking!

The Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When Rebranding a Business

The first thing you should ask yourself is – do I need to rebrand, or do I actually need a brand refresh? (Yep, they’re two different things.) The last thing you want to do is overhaul your entire brand identity only to alienate your current buyers who have an emotional connection to and familiarity with your existing logo, packaging and other visual elements. You might find that a new marketing campaign or fresh look at your packaging design does the trick to improve sales, increase awareness and re-energise your brand in the eyes of consumers. You also need to consider if you’re undertaking this rebrand for the right reasons. A recent study showed that the success of rebranding is affected by the complexity of brand meaning creation and negotiation amongst different stakeholders, including consumers. In essence, the longevity of your business relies on customer recognition and loyalty, so make sure that you aren’t transforming your brand into something unrecognisable. We all know the pressures of keeping up with an ever-changing and expanding marketplace, but change for change’s sake can ultimately damage your reputation and could result in the loss of any existing brand equity. Remember that as consumers, we tend to prefer consistency above all else – the knowledge that our favourite restaurant, food product or beverage (and the brands behind them) will always deliver the same level of quality. 

Why (and When) Your Business Might Need to Rebrand

There are several reasons why you might decide to rebrand your business, from trying to capture a new target audience to differentiating yourself from your competitors. The purpose of rebranding is for consumers to perceive your brand in a different way while maintaining your accumulated brand equity. Legacy brands in particular can benefit from rebranding, allowing them to maintain a competitive edge while evolving to meet industry expectations. Partial rebrands are more usual than full rebrands, where companies update certain elements of their visual design such as their logo, while keeping the original colour palette and imagery. A partial rebrand can effectively overcome a slump in sales or attract new customers while still maintaining the integrity of your brand identity. 

Our Top Tips for Successful Rebranding

Not to brag or anything, but we’ve helped some pretty cool companies with their brand identities over the years, from entrepreneurial start-ups to global corporations. We’ve learned firsthand that rebranding can be a game changer for any business, if you do it the right way. Here are our top tips for a successful rebranding:

#1: Pinpoint What Makes You Unique

If your brand is struggling to stand out from the crowd, then it’s time to find out what makes you different. Following popular design and packaging trends might work in the short term, but without a unique visual presence and authentic brand story, customers are likely to overlook you for your competition. Start digging deeper and get to the heart of what makes your brand distinctive, meaningful and interesting. Telling your unique story is the silver bullet of branding building. We believe that behind every good brand is an even better story – stories make us laugh, cry, reminisce, think and care.  Not only does good storytelling humanise and modernise your business, it will help you forge a valuable, lasting connection with your customer base. 

#2: Create a Strong Emotional Connection

During the process of rebranding, it can be hard to figure out what parts of your existing brand identity you should keep, and what parts aren’t serving you well anymore. We like to think about it this way – which elements of your brand create the strongest emotional connection for consumers? If you’re a legacy brand, perhaps it’s your name, logo or typography that people find comfortingly familiar, in which case those elements should be maintained – and amplified.  However if you’re a newcomer, opportunities for connection could lie elsewhere in your company’s purpose, story or values. You can then feel free to completely change the visual elements of your brand, secure in the knowledge that your customers are drawn to your passion for organic ingredients, eco-friendly manufacturing methods or experimental flavours.

#3: Focus on Longevity, Not Being On Trend

In any market, companies look to their competition for inspiration. A certain brand gains popularity out of the blue, so naturally you examine everything from their packaging to their ad campaigns for something you can use. That’s how trends form – a successful brand might have graffiti-inspired typography and a high-contrast colour palette, and suddenly everywhere you look there are similar designs. The issue with following trends is that (you guessed it): they change. Rather than risk being left behind, focus on creating distinctive brand assets which you can own and develop over the long term. For example, when Yenda Brewing Co. decided to rebrand after losing market share in the highly competitive craft beer industry, we crafted a unique, easily customisable logo and set of distinctive assets that would punch off the bottle and intelligently disrupt on the shelf.

#4: Establish a Clear Purpose for Your Rebrand

This might sound pretty obvious, but you need to be able to clearly articulate why rebranding your business is necessary, as well as what you hope to achieve by it. Are you trying to engage a new customer demographic, or appeal to an international audience? Are you looking to expand your business, or are you trying to distance your brand from a previous mistake? Once you know why you want to rebrand, you can create a focused rebranding strategy which is more likely to succeed and help you achieve your business goals. You should also consider sharing your reasoning with your customers through social media, both to reassure people that the essence of your brand will remain intact and to demonstrate that their opinion and trust matters to your company.

#5: Know Your Audience Really, Really Well 

As an established brand, you should already know your target audience inside out. But pivoting to target a new audience, or expanding to appeal to a broader demographic, means going back to the drawing board. Research your ideal customer and analyse your rivals in the marketplace, factoring the information you accumulate into your rebranding strategy. Look for gaps in the market, what your customers need or desire that hasn’t been provided so far; you want to zig when everyone else zags, and stand out in the process. When Delta Estate Wines wanted to evolve their brand, we appealed to a sophisticated, modern audience looking for exceptional quality, handcrafted wines and a brand with a clear passion for viticulture. The result was elegant, memorable and significantly increased domestic and global sales.

#6: Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative

Sometimes companies are scared to experiment, worried that their existing customer base might dislike the changes or no longer recognise the brand. While this is a valid concern and a risk to be considered before the rebrand begins, you should also think about rebranding as the perfect opportunity to push the boundaries and intelligently disrupt. We know creating a brand that people will love and remain loyal to is hard, and it makes sense to stick with what you know. But being too cautious can result in a brand that is generic and boring, the opposite of everything you’re trying to achieve.  Bold, intelligent design sells. Clever, disruptive design cuts through the noise and is remembered. And every successful brand began with a leap of faith, so get creative!

#7: Commit to the Rebranding Process 

We’re going to let you in on an industry secret – getting cold feet halfway through a rebrand is completely normal. You might want to put on the brakes, or stress that all these changes are happening way too fast. But hesitating could leave your brand lost in the middle of an inconsistent present and incomplete future, never reaching its full potential. When Oporto came to us, they were known as the famous Bondi Beach chicken burger restaurant by Sydney-siders. In order to target regional areas, Oporto had to move away from their wildly popular ‘Bondi’ brand positioning. The risk paid off, with a vibrant blend of Portuguese culture and Aussie humour coming to define their brand. Commit to the process. 

Whether you want to re-energise your brand, attract and retain new customers, or maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace, our team of experts can help you rebrand and share your unique story.
Contact us today to see how we can create a successful rebranding strategy for your business.