How often should I rebrand?
A rebrand, or a brand refresh, is often an essential part to any businesses’ journey, no matter your size or sector. The best brands are ones that are built to last, seeing you through ever-changing trends, shifts in culture and customer demands. They have strong recall yet allow for flexibility and change – a necessity in today’s climate.
Changing your brand should be a reaction to a particular issue or to fulfil a specific objective: your brand might no longer be effectively communicating your brand purpose, or there has been a change in your target customer demographic.
Nike are a really good example of a strong, consistent brand that builds flexibility and adaptability into their communications. They set themselves a clear mission and brand purpose from the very beginning, which in turn sets the tone for the rest of their brand and clearly states their objectives and reason for existence:
To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. (If you have a body, you are an athlete).
We’re committed to creating a better, more sustainable future for our people, planet and communities through the power of sport
They are so secure in their brand that core assets, such as their signature tick, have barely changed since Nike first emerged decades ago. Rebranding could potentially harm their success and/or ruin their reputation (we all remember what happened to Gap when they attempted to rebrand back in 2010), so Nike instead focusses their attention on flexible communications, products and offerings (such as involvement in events and external programmes) to add real value to customers. They are not afraid to be bold and take risks but, more importantly, to learn, grow and adapt.
“In the face of today’s challenges – from climate change to inequality to how we unleash the potential of the next generation – I believe we need our boldest dreams yet”
Mark Parker, Chairman, President and CEO of Nike
Brands and businesses that resist change risk being left behind. If you can’t keep up with customer needs and demands, or you’re slow at reacting to change, then customers will inevitably look elsewhere. The fall of well-known high-street giants such as BHS, Toys ‘R’ Us and Woolworths are all examples of this. However, a shift in consumer habits was just one contributing factor to their demise.
The popularity of discount supermarket chain Lidl has increased significantly in recent years, and, despite their reluctance to offer customers an online experience, now ring up one in every seven pounds spent on groceries in the UK. They give consumers a unique reason to visit the store (if you haven’t heard of the ‘Middle of Lidl’, then check it out). They listen and respond to what their audience is looking for and use brand to communicate their values effectively.
When should you consider a rebrand?
It is essential to evaluate your brand (purpose and mission included) regularly. You should always be aware of where you sit within your market and how your customers are interacting with your company and your services.
Below are some common signifiers that a rebrand is indeed what is required. If these apply to your business then chances are a rebrand is the best option for you and your business.
When your brand no longer reflects your brand purpose
The Co-op, a British grocery store staple, undertook a bold rebrand back in 2016 triggered by a change to their membership offering. They had lost their sense of purpose: Co-op existing solely for their members and pride themselves on giving back to local causes, so decided to revert back to a close iteration of their original logo to visually bring them back to their roots.
When your brand no longer resonates with your customers
I can’t stress enough how important it is to listen to your customers. They ultimately contribute to the success (and failure) of your business and can offer incredible insights that can inform design decisions.
Dominoes, the world’s largest pizza-delivery company, placed consumer feedback at the heart of their brand refresh. 96% of their pizzas are purchased in pairs – this insight informed the whole reason for the change to their pizza box designs, which sees their logo cleverly spread across both halves of the box.
When your brand no longer feels relevant within the current climate
Since their inception in 1998, Google has grown to be the dominant internet search provider. The way consumers use their service has evolved and changed at a rapid rate. Their old logo felt out-dated, irrelevant and unreflective of their offering.
2015 saw a refreshed visual identity and language that not only effectively communicates their purpose (to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful), but also reflects the way consumers use Google. They’ve pushed past just existing online and have cemented themselves as a core part of everyday life.
When there’s a change in leadership
If a significant change in leadership happens – through a merger or acquisition, for example – it is possible that a new name, or merger of two company names, may be on the cards. This may involve operational changes that will require efforts to improve both internal and external engagement. Chances are a rebrand will help you unite and clarify this change for customers.
When you’ve outgrown your current brand
A change in business size, be it an organic or conscious decision, may mean your original values and purpose no longer resonate with your customer or communicate your offering effectively. It’s really important to vocalise this change, particularly if this leads to a change in audience.
One of our clients, Milk VFX, went from a boutique agency to having numerous offices nationally pretty quickly. The brand they originally started with no longer felt like ‘them’. Refreshing their brand assets enabled them to look more grown up and established, reflecting their new size and change in clientele.
There’s no pre-determined number of rebrands you should or should not go through. However it is vitally important to review and evaluate your brand regularly to ensure you are positioned in the best way. A ‘rebrand’ doesn’t necessarily mean transforming into a totally new brand – a refresh can be equally, if not more, effective than a redo – so don’t let the phrase deter you. Your reasoning for a change or an update should always be subjective, so use consumer relevance and needs to inform your decision. If you feel the relevancy of your brand start to slip away, then a rebrand, or brand refresh, could well be the key to solving this.