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  • Writer's pictureMegan Keyser

The Rebrand Process

Rebranding is the process of creating a new brand identity for a company. It involves creating a new visual identity and physical and digital touchpoints for a consumer’s interaction with your brand.

The Difference Between a Partial and Full Rebrand

Partial and full rebranding processes have different outcomes, but include generally the same steps.

Over time, an update is needed to keep a brand relevant and fresh in the eyes of consumers, so there may be slight updates to colors, logo designs, and visual image representation. Partial rebranding should never 'surprise' your audience, because it is not a core purpose, mission, and values change.

A full rebrand means that the brand identity has changed drastically, your core purpose, mission, and values have changed, you're offering a new service or product, or your organization has been acquired.

The following steps can apply to both a partial rebrand or a full rebrand that replaces the original branding. The choice should be determined by the organizational leadership’s vision and goals, supplemented with research into the current market.

Before You Start, Get Decision-Makers on The Same Page

Think carefully about your brand. It may sound obvious, but all of the decision-makers of an organization that's looking to rebrand should be involved in communicating before the brand agency takes over. Before interviewing agencies, you need to have all decision makers on the same page regarding the undertaking.

This alignment is crucial for a smooth process internally and externally with your branding agency of choice.

  • Decide if you're truly in the market for a rebrand.

  • Decide who will manage the rebrand project. Understand that this sort of project usually includes a significant amount of time and communication from the leading parties.

  • Decide who will review and approve all rebranding project submissions.

  • Decide who will collect necessary data and files for the rebranding project.

  • Decide what your budget is for a rebrand project.

Know Your Service or Product

It is vital to know and fully understand your service/product, because it helps you to build a more productive research phase built on solid data. Ensure that all decision makers understand what your organization is offering to the market. You can likely find this information in your business plan or yearly reports.

Arrive to your rebrand consultation with the following information:

  • Who you are | Organizational background, origin story, etc.

  • What you do | What you bring to the market

  • What you are seeing | Competitive trends, market trends, service evolution, etc.

  • Customer insights | Who you think your current consumers are

  • Competitor analysis | A list of your top competitors

  • Unique selling point | Data and details about your products and services and what makes them stand out from your competitors

  • Sales data, including past revenue and future goals | Consider including performance metrics to look back and know that you have had a successful brand launch.

Research Your Market and Buyers

Market research for a rebrand includes gathering data about your current and future audiences, as well as their motivations, behaviors, and buying trends.  It may also include conducting a competitor study, examining reports on consumer research, and assessing your current site and user flow.

  • Audience demographics and behaviors | Are these different than who currently sell to?

  • Competition | Which products and services do they offer? How do they perform better than us? How do they perform worse than us?

  • Applicable consumer research reports | Gather relevant data on your ideal customers that relates to buying habits.

  • Digital analytics that can contribute to buying trends, average sales and user flow patterns

Decide on Your Brand Archetype and Message

Brand archetype is a name given to a category of brands with similar characteristics. You can think of an archetype as a personality.

Your chosen agency can work with you to develop this, but your brand archetype can be used to help determine your initial strategy, design, communication, website, and implementation elements.

Communication is vastly important to relay the necessary information to the right buyer, so think carefully about how you will talk to your customer. Your agency will work with you to develop a voice and a tone that flows smoothly with your personality.

If Necessary, Give Your Brand a New Name

Please note that not every organizational rebrand requires a name change.

If the rebrand does requires a new name, ensure that it's included in the archetype, voice and tone decision, and that the new name matches your research data.

Ensure that your name is not trademarked by another entity and submit a trademark application with a seasoned attorney.

Form Your New Visual Identity

Your visual identity includes a variety of parts.

  • Your logo can be represented in a variety of ways, depending on how it will be used. This can include the creation of horizontal and vertical variants, a favicon, and design in a variety of colorways.

  • Your chosen typography, or fonts, will be used across a variety of mediums and should match your archetype.

  • Image standards | These are mood boards that include examples of the types of images that will be used in conjunction with the brand

  • Your chosen color palette includes the colors that will be used to represent the brand physically and digitally.

Create and Uphold Brand Standards

Once you have developed your new visual identity, ensure that all team members are on the same page about branding guidelines. This includes a set of instructions that remind bother internal teammates and external partners how to use your branded items.

Your brand standards guide should include the following:

  • Brand vision

  • Brand mission

  • Brand values

  • Brand story

  • Brand personality

  • Brand voice and tone

  • Tagline

  • Logo suite and instructions (Do's and Don'ts)

  • Brand imagery

  • Illustrations, patterns and textures

  • Fonts and usage rights

  • Color palette

Create Brand Collateral

Audit all sales and marketing collateral and software and hardware to update brand standards on each.

You may find branded elements that need a refresh on the following items:

  • Invoices

  • Proposals

  • Products

  • Merchandise

  • Event collateral

  • Sales collateral

  • Advertising

  • Email marketing

  • Email signatures

  • Social media profiles

  • Signage

  • Uniforms

  • Website

  • Blogs

  • Stationary

  • Annual reports

  • Internal company software icons

Communicate This Change with Appropriate Parties

If every touchpoint matters in a brand — from telephone greetings and email signatures to checkout processes on your site — then you need to be sure every person within your company understands the importance of your brand. Arm them with the tools they need to defend your new brand.

A rebrand does not follow a “build it and they will come” mentality. Instead, it is more like “build it and you will find people are constantly altering it.” In order to have a successful launch and ensure that your new brand does not erode over time, your internal team needs to understand the rebrand direction and the resources they have available to them when creating assets for your company. The interaction between the external communicators and your internal team should also be documented so that everyone has a clear understanding of what will happen at each stage of the rebrand process.

Build excitement around the launch of the new brand and reward the participating teammates for their investment on this project.



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