Rebranding: what it is, how to do it in 4 steps, and famous examples

Rebranding is the evolution of a company’s identity through the use of various strategies, capable of updating it or in some cases changing it. You’ve probably heard of it or indirectly seen it, but if you’ve never delved into the topic, this is the right place.

A company’s life can be short or long, but one aspect to consider when you’re an entrepreneur is change. Everything grows and changes at the speed of light, and anyone who thinks that doing the same thing always leads to the same results at different times is mistaken.

However, it is neither mandatory nor advisable to always carry out the rebranding process, but one should not underestimate this transformation either. This is because, before implementing the strategy, it is essential to understand and determine whether it is necessary to implement a total or partial change based on your company’s situation. If you are interested in understanding the roles and how to undergo this evolution for your brand, the Web Marketing Specialist Certification from Digital Coach could be suitable for you.

That being said, in this article, you will find:

  • What is rebranding;
  • 5 aspects to consider;
  • How to implement it in 4 steps;
  • Examples of success.

What is Rebranding

Rebranding is a marketing strategy adopted by many companies to change their brand identity. In fact, this process often involves modifying the logo, slogan, logo design, and sometimes even the brand name. This new change of identity is increasingly taken into consideration by companies for the simple reason that we are facing the birth of new markets, and reality is constantly evolving, and adaptation is not a walk in the park.

A crucial point is that every company has a context different from others. Therefore, rebranding a business is never the same, as it must be done after conducting a strategic study, based on the company’s needs at a specific moment. All of this is aimed at achieving a single goal: strengthening the brand and thus reclassifying the company in the market.

Exactly for this reason, based on the company’s needs, there are 2 types of changes:

  1. Partial rebranding, is used for specific changes that will improve the brand. For example, changes to a product line or small changes to the logo color;
  2. Total rebranding, is carried out when more complex changes are made, affecting fundamental elements of the company. Such as communication strategies, target audience, brand name, logo, and even market positioning.

When to Rebrand

The rebranding process leads to changes in the brand name, color, logo, or any other feature that can improve, maintain, or even worsen a company’s conditions. It becomes implicit to constantly analyze data to understand if a potential change could bring advantages.

Through this analysis, it can be determined whether expectations align with sales reality or product perception. If these factors are missing, it’s time to intervene and create a strategy that will strengthen the company’s brand and position it in new markets.

Executing this marketing strategy doesn’t simply mean changing the product’s color; it’s a much more complex process that also involves the company’s values and mission. So, it’s essential to carefully consider when and how to implement a rebranding plan.

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Aspects to consider

But why do companies undertake this process? The 5 reasons for rebranding that drive companies are:

  1. The audience has changed. If a company faces a shift in its target audience, it’s natural to consider aligning with it. The same goes for changing trends because what works today may not work tomorrow. Think about how digital marketing trends are constantly evolving. For this reason, a marketing strategy can be a good solution.
  2. Improving brand reputation. In many cases, for various reasons, a brand or service needs to requalify itself. A rebranding strategy can, in this case as well, facilitate closer engagement with the public, create a new segmentation that addresses the brand’s problem, or rebuild lost consumer trust.
  3. Company expansion. If a company has decided to expand its market and grow, it must consider giving itself a new identity. This new identity should align with the expectations of new consumers and the new environment.
  4. Incorrect offer segmentation. In marketing, one of the most common mistakes is addressing different consumers in the same way. If you’re selling B2B, you can’t assume you can address consumers in the same way as when you’re selling B2C, and vice versa. The audience becomes confused because it doesn’t correctly understand what’s being offered.
  5. The product/service is approaching the end of its lifecycle. When sales are declining, and change is in progress, a decision must be made whether to abandon the product entirely or carry out a rebranding operation.

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How to rebrand in 4 Steps

We’ve seen the reasons why a professional or business should consider engaging in a rebranding of some kind. Now, let’s understand how to implement it effectively.

Do you know the quote by Warren G. Bennis, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got“? It relates to the concept of corporate identity innovation. If your revenue is declining, if you’re expanding, if your audience has changed, and you do nothing to adapt, you’ll remain in the same place.

Let me explain how to create a good strategy, always keeping in mind that everything can vary from case to case:

  • Analysis. Try to delve into the current situation of your product/service/company and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This step should not only be related to your business but also to your competitors. Try to understand what another brand has that yours doesn’t; don’t copy it, but use that data in your strategy.
  • Brand concept. In this second phase, focus on the mission, values, and identity of the company. What do you want to convey? What is your goal?
  • Audience. Always consider who you are addressing; it may seem obvious, but it isn’t. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of who your customer is, what they desire, and what interests them. Only in this way can you capture their attention. Understand their needs, their problems, and provide them with a solution.
  • Brand identity. Once these steps are structured and explored, there’s the final step that concerns the visual, visual, and textual aspects of the product. Always keep in mind the previous phases and try to incorporate them into your visual identity. Redesign the logo, update the website, and use a new communication strategy that conveys your values.

 

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Famous rebranding examples

As you may have understood, the rebranding process is essential in some cases, but not always does it require a drastic change. Here are some interesting case histories:

Volkswagen

When analyzing the Volkswagen case, we must go back to the beginning with the first model created by the German company, the ‘Beetle’ (Maggiolino). The car was created for the people, designed to be suitable for everyone, and it lived up to that promise. Later, the company became a symbol of the Industrial Revolution and started making slight changes to the logo, which over time retained its original form.

Several years after the Nazi regime, the German company faced the ‘dieselgate’ scandal (emissions scandal) and, as a result, adopted a reactive rebranding strategy. According to the company’s marketing director, Jochen Sengpiehl, there was also an emotional reason behind this decision.

Investigations revealed that Volkswagen had a distinctly German image that distanced it from the broader public. “The big challenge is understanding how to introduce people to the ‘electric’ world; we want people to have fun with us.” “We need to become more colorful,” said the company’s CEO.

This marked the beginning of the partial rebranding of the brand in terms of style and the values the German company wanted to convey, particularly regarding electric vehicles.

Dropbox

Dropbox has undergone continuous rebranding over 10 years, but at times, it was imperceptible. The American file-hosting company started its branding journey with 3D elements and colors intended to inspire trust through shades of blue.

In 2007, Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox, designed the initial graphic identity featuring the image of a box, symbolizing the service’s functionality: storing and collecting data. Later, the journey toward flat design began concurrently with the development of the iOS app.

Gradually, the initial box flattened, becoming the new visual identity of the brand. Dropbox describes its brand as follows: “The logo is simple, functional, and we think it’s a bit like us. It’s recognizable in both small and large formats, works in color and black and white, and is made of solid and robust shapes that hold up well in physical environments. It’s built to last.” Their intention was to adapt to change without losing their identity and to show users they can trust this brand.

The real transformation occurred in 2015 when, together with the Collins design studio, Dropbox opted for a complete identity overhaul to represent the digital world’s revolution and more. The user should not only be a worker but also a creative, which is why they created various colored versions of the classic blue logo, all with the same styling.

Premier League

If you’re a football enthusiast, you must have noticed the type of rebranding done by the Premier League. The most famous English football championship series has always been loyal, since ’93, to its royal logo with a lion and an incorporated sponsor. Over the years, there have been changes, but only in terms of style.

Perhaps it all seemed a bit too static. In 2016, a major transformation arrived, leading to a total change, not just stylistically, but also in terms of values.

Providing a lively and dynamic graphic look for the Premier League was a challenge not to be underestimated. They are entering a new aspect of broadcasting, and it’s their first logo without a sponsor,” said Nick Moody, Head of Production at the Premier League. The impact they wanted to create with this type of rebranding strategy was undoubtedly very strong, and there was no shortage of sarcastic comments on the web. The truth is that it was later appreciated because it reflects the values of strength, dynamism, and the real champions present in the football league’s broadcasts. In short, a new approach also in view of the digital transformation.

Budweiser

Founded in 1876, Budweiser is one of the most well-known American beers in the world even today. Initially, its logo was overly complex and didn’t reflect the simplicity mentioned in its mission, which should be representative of a beverage like beer.

Over the years, it underwent modifications until reaching the current logo: simple, defined, and encapsulating all American values. In this case, a complete rebranding was necessary to adapt to change, as it not only changed the logo but also the messages conveyed by advertising campaigns.

 

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The risk of rebranding

So far, we’ve talked about what it means to rebrand and how to implement a good strategy. However, change in marketing is not always positive. We must still consider our target audience and think about whether they will embrace the novelty or not. While in the case of Airbnb, the co-founders decided to move beyond initial judgments, “Gap” stopped and returned to its origins.

Gap’s new logo was a major flop; the public did not like the idea at all. Despite retaining the “blue box,” which was the distinctive element, something was missing. The use of a different font and a white background immediately generated unanimous negative comments on social media.

Gap then asked users for input in creating the new logo. The final decision? Gap decided to return to the old logo without any changes. This teaches us that the rebranding method can also be a risk, but we can only learn from our mistakes.

Conclusion and free consultation

In conclusion, as you have understood, always thinking that rebranding is the ultimate solution is a mistake. Therefore, I recommend conducting a thorough analysis based on the points I have outlined in this article.

This is done to understand what cards are on the table and to choose the right path. Remember that this is a very important decision because it will affect only your brand identity.

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