Is Now the Time for a Rebranding Strategy?

Is Now the Time for a Rebranding Strategy?

rebranding strategy

Branding is an important marketing tactic, and tends to be a hot topic when trying to improve a business. Forging a company identity — from color palette to mission statement to the tone of your messaging — gives consumers an instant snapshot of what you’re about. But when branding no longer fits the core values and public perception of your company, how do you strategically implement a rebrand? What does rebranding really mean? 

Here are some points to consider before launching a rebrand.

What is rebranding?

Rebranding is defined as changing or updating a business’s corporate image. Think of it a lot like renovating a home. A rebrand often takes the form of updating or shortening the company name, changing up symbols and images associated with the brand or launching a new company goal.

Rebranding doesn’t always mean taking your company in a completely new direction, and often takes the form of subtle changes to a slogan or company name. For example, AirBnb was originally called “AirBed&Breakfast,” but opted for a shorter name with a rebrand.

The choice to rebrand is often sparked by changing consumer demographics, outdated antics or new technological advances. It is common for public relations professionals to guide a company rebrand and advise on the best way to alert audiences of the change. 

Rebranding strategy and finances

The decision to create a rebranding strategy should be carefully considered against the cost and expected revenue of doing so. A successful rebrand could mean pulling existing product from shelves, replacing billboards, revamping the company website, designing new packaging, hiring street teams to poster, and paying a PR firm to implement the change.

The list can be extensive.

Calculate your expected rise in revenue from the rebrand and weigh it against the cost of rebranding to determine whether the financials line up. If your rebrand is going to cost more than your expected change in revenue, seriously consider whether the change in corporate reputation would be worth a blow to your financials. 

Not ready to implement a rebranding strategy just yet? Here are some ways you can start to update elements of your business while you decide what direction to take:

  • Use modern communication methods: Research shows many customers are unhappy with companies who contact them in the wrong way, so this could be an easy fix.
  • Incorporate new marketing methods, such as mobile coupons: Doing something different from your competition might be just enough to help boost your business without launching a complete rebranding strategy.

Disadvantages to rebranding

Companies can make the mistake of turning to a rebrand for a facelift, when the real problems sit beneath the surface. Rebranding is expensive, and can be detrimental to a company that is already experiencing large losses in revenue or unbalanced books. While rebrands can spark media attention and temporary attention, they won’t help in the long run if your business model needs updating. If you do decide to go forward with a rebrand, also make sure you’re rebranding in a manner that benefits your company. A rebrand focused around store aesthetics isn’t beneficial to a company selling outdated technology. 

Additionally, consumers don’t always respond positively to changes. They can typically tell when a rebrand is implemented purely for financial gain and when the company stands behind the new messaging. Know your audience, and consider how they will respond to the rebrand by collecting data beforehand. 

Advantages to rebranding

With the rise of the internet and social media, many companies have to adapt to survive. Updating your corporate image with a rebrand is a valuable tool that helps maintain relevancy and garner public attention. Is the public demanding changes following a company crisis? Implementing a rebrand can separate your company from the negative attention and show audiences that you’re listening to their feedback. Does your company have an outdated slogan? Rewriting core messaging shows consumers that you aren’t afraid to adapt to changing times. 

It’s important to update a company image, and rebranding allows you to do in the span of one campaign. When used correctly, rebranding can be a company’s lifeline. 

It’s important to weigh the financial considerations of rebranding along with the pros and cons. Updating your company’s look and purpose so both are more aligned with customer needs is crucial to maintaining growth so don’t necessarily be scared away when you look at how daunting a rebrand can be.

Reviewing examples of how companies in your space have handled a rebrand could help you make the decision.

Rebranding examples

Here’s what rebranding looks like in practice with two common national brands you’ve probably heard of. Keep in mind that companies are often making slight tweaks to their image regularly that you probably don’t even notice. It’s also common for companies, like the ones below, to make drastic changes all at once.


The International House of Pancakes, better known as IHOP, rebranded as IHOb to promote the addition of burgers to their menu. Audiences were split between outrage, confusion and amusement to the change in the iconic IHOP name. Though the company eventually changed their name back to IHOP, the change drew major media attention created buzz about their burgers. 

The Discovery Channel

Here’s what the Discovery Channel’s logo looked like before their rebrand:

Here is the logo after the rebrand:

Faced with increasing competition for viewership, the Discovery Channel updated their logo. Now featuring a sunrise over the earth, an open “D” and the phrase “the world is ours,” Discovery rebranded their logo to be more visually appealing to audiences. Since they’re operating in an industry run by visual appeal, the rebrand was intended to make their content more clickable. 

Is now the right time for a rebranding strategy?

Before rebranding, ask yourself what your company really needs and why a rebrand would help. The pros of an effective rebranding campaign are virtually unlimited, but the financial burden and time can often be better spent improving other areas a given company. If the timeline or financials don’t align with your vision, consider postponing. When it comes to rebranding, timing can make or break your campaign. Rebranding is most effective when done sparingly, so when you do decide to go forward with a rebrand, make it count. 

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