Eventually, the time will come to paint your brand in a new light. Perhaps you’ve expanded over the years and feel that your current brand identity doesn’t represent what you stand for anymore. Maybe your target market has changed, and you need to spruce up your logo to better appeal to your new audience.

Whatever the reason for embarking upon a rebrand, you’ll need to make sure the process is handled correctly if you want to ensure your new company image goes down a storm with your clients and peers.

As a designer with decades of experience in helping businesses revamp their company image, I know exactly how to ensure my clients get the most from their rebrand. I’ve put together a list of the nine steps you need to take when developing your new brand – and highlighted some of the traps that novice designers and entrepreneurs often fall into along the way!

How to rebrand a business in 9 steps

1. Identify the reason for the rebrand

Working out WHY you want to rebrand will help your chosen designer to come up with visuals that truly reflect your vision for your company.

Most companies decide to rebrand for one of the following reasons:

  • They are entering into a new line of business, or a new market entirely, and they want to change their company name and/or identity to encompass their new ventures
  • They have already expanded – and perhaps even created subsidiaries – and they want to streamline all these company offshoots into one consolidated brand
  • Their visuals look tired, outdated or irrelevant when compared to those on offer from their competitors, and they are trying to re-establish themselves as more current and dynamic
  • They have merged with or acquired another company, and want to rebrand to reflect their new arrangement
  • They have encountered some legal issues (such as using another company’s intellectual property)
  • They have received some negative publicity and they want to ‘start again’

2. Consider the needs of the customers you’re trying to reach

Who are you trying to sell to?

And what would these people expect to see from you?

These are two crucial questions you should always ask yourself at the very start of any rebrand – because the answers will help you shape your new identity.

Talk to your existing customers to discover how they currently perceive you. Then, carry out some more research into your target market to find out whether your new ideas are likely to be well-received by them.

This initial investigative work will give you an external perspective on where you currently sit within your sector, and an insight into how other (successful) major players in your industry are presenting themselves.

3. Set a rebranding budget in place

This step is often ignored by business owners who are keen to skip through the practicalities and start the creative process as soon as possible.

It might not be the most enjoyable part of your rebranding process – but it’s vital to work out how much time and money you will need to dedicate to the project BEFORE you start work. There’s nothing worse than having to abandon a rebrand because you’ve run out of funds!

4. Explore your brand values

This is where the real fun begins.

Your brand values are at the very core of your business. They can be used to define your proposition (what you can offer), your personality (what makes you different) and your purpose (what motivates you to do what you do). They’re also essential for establishing a meaningful connection with your customers, because people want to buy from companies that share their outlook and their ethos.

The easiest way to establish your brand values is to think about what you truly stand for. You might be all about innovation. You may be committed to delivering an incredible customer service. Whatever it is that makes you ‘you’ needs to be reflected in the values that underpin your rebranding strategy.

If you need some inspiration, check out this list of 5 companies with awesome core values from Element Three. Though you might identify with some of these, you should never copy and paste brand values from another organisation – you need to dig deep to create a set of brand values that are unique to your business.

5. Build your brand visuals

Creating visuals for a new brand is no mean feat. You’ll need to consider everything from the psychological properties of the colours you use within your design palette to the legibility of your fonts. You’ll need to create a distinctive, easily identifiable logo that can be used across all your marketing assets. And, of course, you’ll need to make sure that your new visuals marry up with your brand values.

Last year, I put together a post that outlines the 5 key branding principles that start-ups should follow when coming up with new corporate graphics. A lot of these ideas also apply to companies that are preparing to rebrand, and who want to have a profound impact in their market from the moment they re-launch.

6. Refresh your messaging

Once you’ve nailed your logo, your colour scheme and your brand graphics, it’s time to turn your attention to the message you’re delivering to your audience.

Start by updating your mission statement. This is a summary of your company’s aims and values. (It’s different from your brand values in that it needs to state your objectives and tell the reader how you’re intending to reach them. This article from Status.net makes the distinction between the two very clear.).

At this stage, you may also want to refresh the copy that sits on your website and your printed collateral to ensure its tone is consistent with your new brand identity. When you’re immersed in your business’ rebrand, you may struggle to give your content the TLC it so desperately needs, so I’d always recommend instructing a professional copywriter to help lighten the load. He or she will be able to help you align your messaging with the values that now underpin your new identity. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind that all your copy is grammatically and stylistically correct.

7. Get feedback from your internal teams (and other people you trust)

You’re nearly there! But before you start preparing for launch, why not ask your staff and perhaps even a handful of your longstanding customers what they think of your brand new look? They may spot something you haven’t noticed, or bring something to your attention that you haven’t even considered.

Giving staff a chance to contribute to the rebranding process will also help them get to grips with your new identity, and make them feel as though their opinions are valued.

8. Make sure all your marketing materials are brought up to date with the new branding

Your brand’s design has been finalised, your messaging is clear and well-considered, and you and your team are happy that everything reflects your business as it exists today. Now, it’s time to roll out your beautiful new branding across all your marketing assets!

You’ll typically need to update the following:

  • Your website
  • Your business cards
  • Other business stationery, such as letterheaded paper
  • Your brochures, leaflets and other promotional materials
  • Your social media banners

When and how you choose to launch the rebrand is entirely up to you. In my experience, however, you’ll make the biggest impression if all of your assets are updated simultaneously.

9. Finally… tell the world about your rebrand!

Rebranding tells your stakeholders that you’re willing to invest in not only your company image, but also the longevity of your business. It’s a big deal, and it should be treated as such!

There are plenty of things you can do to make your customers, suppliers and competitors aware of your rebrand. Many companies choose to officially unveil their new identity at a launch party, and most will introduce their new brand using their social media accounts. If you really want to draw attention to all your hard work, you could send out a press release to the media and various online distribution sites, too.

So there you have it – my guide to successfully rebranding your business!

As long as you follow this tried and tested process, it’s certainly possible to manage and complete a rebrand without hiring the services of a professional designer. But if you’re struggling to come up with your new brand identity all by yourself, give me a call. I can take all your ideas on board to create branding that’s impactful yet timeless, and, just as importantly, I can lead the project to make sure you hit those all-important rebranding deadlines.