Photography: Davy Evans | Illustration: David McLeod
When and How to Renew Your Company’s Image
Rebranding refers to the process of creating a new brand identity for a company, product, or service. It involves changing the name, logo, design elements, messaging, or other key aspects of the brand to present a new image to the market. It’s a strategic decision taken to better align with their business goals, target audience, and market position. Rebranding can be a significant investment in time, money, and resources, so it's crucial to know when it's the right time to undertake such an effort.
Rebranding can help a company reposition itself in the market. It may be undertaken to target a new audience, enter a different market segment, or align the brand with changing customer preferences. As companies grow and evolve, their goals and objectives may change. For instance, a startup that initially focused on a niche market may later decide to expand its offerings to a broader audience. In such cases, a rebrand can help the company convey its new direction and positioning to its customers and stakeholders. Or, a fashion brand that initially targeted teenagers may later decide to focus on the adult market. In this case, a rebrand can help the company create a new image and messaging that appeals to the new target audience.
In a crowded marketplace, rebranding can help a company stand out from competitors. By revamping its brand image and messaging, a company can communicate a unique value proposition and differentiate itself from others.
If a company has faced significant negative publicity, rebranding can be a way to distance itself from the past and rebuild its reputation. For instance, if a company's product is associated with a safety issue or scandal, a rebrand can help distance the company from the negative image, signal a change in direction and regain customers' trust.
Expansion or diversification
Rebranding may be necessary when a company expands its product or service offerings or enters new markets. It allows the company to communicate the breadth of its offerings or cater to different customer segments effectively.
Outdated or irrelevant image
Brands need to evolve with the times to remain relevant. If a company's brand image becomes outdated or no longer resonates with its target audience, rebranding can rejuvenate the brand and make it more contemporary. A rebrand can help modernize the company's image and messaging to better resonate with its customers and stakeholders.
Rebranding is a complex process that requires careful planning, research, and communication, so it’s best done with the help of marketing and communication specialists. It involves evaluating the company's goals, understanding the market and target audience, and creating a brand strategy that aligns with the desired objectives. By recognizing the key indicators outlined above, companies can evaluate whether a rebrand is necessary to align their brand identity with their business goals, target audience, and market position. A successful rebrand can help a company improve its reputation, increase its visibility, and drive business growth.
Rebranding a company that involves multiple steps, from defining the new brand identity to implementing it across all touchpoints. Here are the key steps that comprise the rebranding process: Define the new brand identity: The first step in rebranding is to define the new brand identity, including the brand positioning, messaging, and visual elements. This should be done by conducting market research, analyzing the competition, and defining the company's unique value proposition.
Develop a brand strategy
Once the new brand identity is defined, a comprehensive brand strategy should be developed. It should outline how the new brand will be implemented across all touchpoints, including marketing, advertising, product design, and customer service.
Create a brand name and logo
The next step is to create a new brand name and logo that aligns with the new brand identity. This should be done in consultation with an agency that can help develop a logo and visual identity that reflects the company's values and mission.
Develop brand guidelines
Once the new brand identity and logo are finalized, outline how the new brand should be used across all touchpoints. This should include guidelines for using the brand logo, colors, typography, and messaging.
Implement the rebrand
The next step is to implement the rebrand across all touchpoints, including marketing materials, website, social media profiles, product packaging, and advertising. This should be done gradually to ensure a smooth transition to the new brand identity.
Communicate the rebrand
Communicate the rebrand to their customers, stakeholders, and employees to ensure that everyone is aware of the changes and understands the reasons behind the rebranding. This can be done through a press release, social media announcement, or email newsletter.
Measure the impact
After the rebrand is implemented, measure its impact on customer perception, brand recognition, and business performance. This can be done through customer surveys, brand tracking studies, and sales analysis.
In conclusion, rebranding a company requires careful planning and execution to ensure that the new brand identity aligns with the company's goals, values, and market position. By taking a measured approach and consulting with experts, companies can successfully rebrand and create a new brand identity that resonates with their customers and drives business growth.
Rebranding can be tricky, especially when it comes to longstanding and popular brands.
The recent I Love New York rebranding is an example of why great care, consideration and expertise should be used when undertaking a rebrand.
Even people who have never been to New York are familiar with the iconic original logo, which was developed in the 1970s as part of an advertising campaign to promote tourism. And while it was never intended to still be relevant decades later, that’s exactly what happened, with the logo holding a prominent place in pop culture.
So, perhaps the recent decision to switch things up is a lesson in knowing when not to fix things that aren’t broken.
To say that the March 2023 introduction of We Love NYC was controversial might be putting it mildly. The team behind the revamped logo said it was meant to signal the city’s reemergence following a difficult experience with the COVID-19 pandemic.
But professionals and ordinary New York City residents largely shared the same view of the redesign — that it was a bad one. The critiques didn’t only touch on the design itself, from the font choice to the layout and the style of the heart. Some people also felt that the decision to prioritize the redesign of a decades-old logo over more vexing issues facing the city was tone-deaf.
So, ultimately, what began as an attempt to recreate something that would unify the city and signal a move forward from a period that was rife with negativity has seemed to have the opposite effect.
Even with something that seems simple enough — two words and a heart — much needs to be taken into consideration when attempting a rebrand to ensure that it conveys the right messaging. It’s always risky business, but it’s best done with the help of experts who will ask the right questions to come up with the best solutions.