Nightmare Fuel: Do I Need a Rebrand?

Rebranding is a freaky leap of faith. Nobody knows for sure if it’ll work. Not even us. Don’t let any agency tell you they know for sure - they don’t. 

Here’s a list of things I’d rather do than rebrand Yonder:

  • Box Mike Tyson with my face 
  • Pay my taxes five extra times
  • Watch the most recent Vin Diesel movie

You get it. Rebranding is a freaky leap of faith. Nobody knows for sure if it’ll work. Not even us. Don’t let any agency tell you they know for sure - they don’t. 

Though it’s speculative by definition, sometimes it’s the right thing to do. How can you tell? First, I have to get something off my chest. 

Don’t Let Your Intern Tell You What Branding is. 

If you think branding is just a logo, you’re either searing one into a cow as we speak (acceptable) OR we recommend thinking again (also acceptable). 

It’s simple, just remember this one thing: branding is everything that makes your best friend your best friend. That’s it. Seriously!

What do you love and know about Becky? The same things you love and know about Apple:

Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room. It's how you make them feel. It’s your reliability, your trustworthiness. It’s a promise you keep and don’t break. 

These notions influence everything: colors, fonts, photography, design guidelines, your tone of voice in any communication, and much more. 

Whew, ok I feel better…so let’s get our hands dirty.

It’s a touchy subject. Get comfy with it.  

Your brand is an emotional connection between you and your customers. Fiddling with that connection can make your customers feel betrayed.

But if you don’t rebrand when you should…you look dated and stuck in the past. This is also offputting. 

Like, it’s fine for Ford - they haven’t meaningfully rebranded since 1927. You probably aren’t Ford, though.  

So how do you know when to rebrand?

Could be time for a new look, bucko

Ask yourself a few questions - right here, right now. If you say yes to any of these, you might have to rebrand.

Clear as mud? Yeah…

Let's take a closer look at these scenarios.

Name change

As you may recall, Dunkin’ used to be Dunkin’ Donuts. In 2006, Dunkin’ Donuts came out with the slogan “America Runs on Dunkin’.” 

This tagline seems to have been so effective that it changed how America viewed this tasty chain. Putting my detective hat on, I suspect over the years this slogan led to their renaming, which not only makes for a good PR story - it also simplified how a whole generation looks at their establishment.

Other reasons you may change your name be confusion in the market or outgrowing your original product stack/design. As technology changes, so does demand. And if your whole success hinges on communicating to that very specific demand…guess what? Yep. 

Just know the kids these days will make fun of you no matter what. 

Merger or acquisition

When organizations join forces, they already have their own logo. Who wins the brand war? Sometimes it’s the bigger fish. Other times, it’s more complex.

Let's take a stroll back to 2011. Prince William and Kate Middleton dominated every headline and Adele had everyone singing “rolling in the deep.” Something else happened, too. Huffington Post acquired AOL's struggling news operation.

Both brands had immense power and recognition. But with Huffington Post rising in relevance and AOL descending, ultimately we knew which way this deal would go. These two brands became “HuffPost.”

Targeting a new audience

Remember when you built your product for a target audience? Coulda been 45 years ago. Did they change? Did you start serving them a different way? Is new tech changing your features and benefits? Buckle up. Could be time for a rebrand. 

Analyse your target audience. Compare it to the last one. If they’re different, ya gotta talk to them differently. Beware, branding rookies will stop at demographics. That’s low hanging fruit. 

Go further…dig deeper into the funnel to understand more about your potential clients:

Reanalyze your company's mission or values

Your brand should reflect your organization's mission and values. If they've changed, consider a brand update. Similarly, if they haven’t changed then take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why you’re considering a rebrand.

Gut check: just because you're a new CMO or VP of Marketing…this doesn’t mean you have to rebrand something. Everyone knows what you’re doing. 

If, in fact, you do need it and you want to knock it out of the park,  first reanalyze your company's mission. Is it the same? If not, how has it changed, and why? Put it into words.

It's like redefining a job description but for the entire company. Think of it this way: when a stranger approaches your employee with "What do you do?" - they can precisely explain the "who, why, and how."

Revisiting your corporate values is crucial. It's redefining your core values to unite everyone in the company and make sure your market knows who you are.

Take YouTube (as a company and a platform), for example. They claim that they value:

  1. freedom of expression
  2. freedom of information
  3. freedom of opportunity
  4. freedom to belong

Does YouTube really live by and uphold these values? Some think yes, some think no. But most importantly, this is how brands like YouTube get judged. So you better believe it’s important to nail your values. 

Note: Your mission could be timeless, but values can change over time. 

Rebooting your brand

Let's look into the fuzzier reasons to refresh your brand:

  1. You see something coming in the market. Standing out means constantly innovating and adapting to times. Frequently companies rebrand before we know why. Then BAM! They catch up to the market of tomorrow and slay. 
  1. You just ain’t relevant anymore. A new breath of life is needed. Over time, even the most innovative companies can become a little… boring. If your brand feels stuck in a rut of irrelevance, a rebrand can be the perfect way to give it a fresh start.
  1. To be in the "now." Don’t change for the sake of change. But do consider if you still turn heads like you did in your 20s. Does your audience still care? If they referred you to a new prospect, would you be proud of what they found? Too many companies are ashamed of a totally fixable brand. 
  1. Bounce back after getting screwed up. There's no sugarcoating it. If your company has taken a big hit, you need to do something. Don't give up hope! It's an opportunity to correct the wrongs of the past and begin again. For example, I bet you didn’t even know Subway used to be called Pete’s Super Submarines.

While a total rebrand should not be undertaken lightly, there are many ways to refresh your brand without starting from scratch. Sometimes, it only takes a new logo, tagline, or color scheme to give your brand a much-needed facelift. 

Decided to rebrand? Here’s how you move forward with it.

Yes, there's right and wrong when it comes to rebranding. No, nobody knows for sure if it will work. All you have to rely on is expert help to increase your chances of success.

How do you actually move forward with it?

  1. Set your customers as the top priority.
  2. Etch your reasons for rebranding into stone. Vanity isn’t a good reason (by itself)
  3. Set your budget.
  4. Get an expert to help you.*

*In fact, if you have the budget for it and success is the only option, get three experts minimum. With three or more proposals, you’ll  immediately spot who knows how to do it. 

Get killer rebranding strategies

We’re happy to be your branding guides if a rebrand is needed. Not sure? We’ll work with you to figure it out. 

Afterall, you need customers and we help them find you. Your brand is a big part of that. 

We’re down for a chat anytime and we’re easy

Need a hand? Check out how we can help


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