Your brand, time for an update? 4 signs it's time

Author: Christina Author Christina
Published: 16 December 2021
4 Minute Read

If you’re not entirely happy with your branding at the moment, do not fear, you are not alone and it is all part of the natural cycle of a strong brand. Every brand needs to evolve as the business grows, what started working out for you really well in the beginning when you offered one set of services and had your original mission may not be the case 7 years later when you have a new set of services and an updated mission. Your brand may have gotten a bit outdated, may not really reflect who you are anymore and that’s okay, but the important thing is to get it addressed.

What is a brand update/rebrand/partial rebrand? 

So let’s dive in and have a look at the world of rebranding. Rebranding in its simplest definition is the process of reworking how a company or product is perceived.

The phrase rebranding tends to be associated with a full rebrand where everything is on the table, including a brand’s name and tagline. Lighter touch rebrands that focus on updating visual identity are more often known as brand updates or partial rebrands although, like with most things, a myriad of terms are used and in different contexts. 

Why rebrand

Strong brands attract customers and give you the edge over competition that have weaker branding strategies. They also attract loyal followings, which drives more revenue through recurring purchases, higher frequency purchases and referrals. It doesn’t stop with revenue either, as strong brands also help attract and retain your other most valuable asset: your employees.

But all brands have a ‘best before’ date. The marketing and sales playbook, as we know, is constantly changing and a whole bunch of other stuff is contributing too: market factors, changing customer behaviour, global pandemics. This really means, everything has a relevancy period and for brands, this is somewhere between five and ten years. 

The more mature your brand is the more you potentially have to lose from a rebrand. A brand update or partial rebrand will help you keep your loyal customers whilst attracting new prospects by keeping up with the changing times. Old Spice is a really good example of a brand that needed a partial rebrand or update. They needed to shake up their musty reputation and did so by celebrating the art of manliness in their branding strategy fronted by the ‘Old Spice Guy’. Retaining the brand loyalty they’d built but creating new relevance for younger generations.

However, if you’re about to undergo a complete identity transformation with changing mission, vision and values, it may be the total rebrand you’re looking for. This tends to be instigated by mergers, product overhauls or some other major strategic shift. A good example of when a major rebrand is required is FedEx, which ticked all of the above.

On the back of a series of international acquisitions and becoming the world’s largest full-service, all-cargo airline, Federal Express adopted the new brand FedEx in 1994. Which, as a brand, feels just as relevant now as it did then. It was shortened to FedEx as research indicated it was a better communicator of speed and there’s even an arrow in the logo. Can you see it?

So to recap, we know your brand is super important to your success and we know it can’t last forever. So the question is when to rebrand?

4 signs it’s time for an update:

1) Your brand no longer reflects your business (your MVV)

Probably the most obvious and simple example is in a suboptimal brand name. This might be because what seemed like a good name a decade ago no longer is, a la Google, which actually used to be called Backrub. Hard to imagine seeing that pop up on your web browser isn’t it. But indeed, it is not BackRub as Larry Page and Sergey Brin had the foresight to know that it would not stand up to the brand’s next phase.

Mission, vision and values should steer every decision you make and that includes brand. If your MVV are changing or have evolved and are taking the business along with it, chances are it’s time to reevaluate your brand.

2) You're breaking new ground and appearing in new locations

If you’re expanding into international markets, chances are that customers won’t identify with your logo and messaging, that’s before we even get into the language conversation. Customer research is the only way to discover the challenges of your audience and ensure that any rebranding isn’t just a creative exercise but a targeted evidence-based approach.

3) You're repositioning yourself in the market

Brands are designed to connect businesses with their customers, so if you’re trying to reach a new audience - whether through product, place, price or promotion - your brand will need to follow suit. 

Trying to foster brand loyalty with the upcoming generations is an exercise in creating relevancy, after all, tech-savvy Gen Z’s are heavily influenced by businesses with environmental or sustainability credentials, does your branding strategy encompass this? A rebrand lets you redefine yourself with the goal of reaching these new and untapped audiences.

The strength of your brand has an interesting effect on price too. If you’re struggling to raise your prices, a rebrand can help. Ultimately brands are about customer perception, if they value your offering (after some redefining), then you can command a higher price. Strong brands have more pricing power than weaker brands.

4) You're going through a merger or acquisition process 

Two companies, two brands, what next? Battle of the brands? No, not good. It’s time to find a new brand that reflects the new entity. The key here is brand architecture ensuring optimal relationships between the newly merged brands, products and services.

To sum up

Whether it’s a full rebrand you need or an update, it can really save you time, effort and streamline your teams throughout the business. Working within an outdated ‘baggy’ brand where you feel who you are and what you do isn’t represented is tough. It’s tough to plan campaigns, it’s tough to make design decisions, it’s tough to move projects (a new website for example) forward. Going back and revisiting your branding strategy, takes you back to the beginning again and should cover the following points:

  • Re-establishing your brand’s audience and market
  • Re-defining your company’s mission, vision and values
  • Renaming your company if going for a full rebrand
  • Reconsidering your brand’s slogan 
  • Rebuilding your brand identity 

It’s important to go through the steps previous to rebuilding your brand identity, as you do need to consider who you are now, where you sit in the market, who you’re talking to (and the list goes on) before jumping into logo re-works, colour palettes, typography and visual devices. 

Then you will be in the delightful position of having a brand that truly represents you, putting you back on a clear, smooth course (with plenty of design assets) to get you powering forward into your next business phase.

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