media update’s Aisling McCarthy delves into the ins and outs of rebranding.

Although there are numerous reasons to rebrand, it might not be completely necessary – and could do more harm than good. If you’re looking to up your sales, or are merely tired of looking at your logo, rebranding may not be the way to go.

However, if you choose to do a rebrand, here are five tips from experts in brand identity, branding, and rebranding.

1. Get employees on board

Although rebranding tends to focus on the idea of winning over your consumers, Kristi Knight, CMO of InMoment, says in an article that it is just as important, if not more so, to capture the hearts and minds of those within the organisation.

“It is my belief that brand ambassadors start from the inside.”

Jolene Roelofse, director of marketing at Bludoor Market, describes employees as a “hugely overlooked” influencer, as they know the products and the direction of the company better than consumers do.

By getting employees on board with a rebrand, they can assist in making the transition for consumers.

Brand manager of Simonsberg/Président, Angelique October, tells media update that it is necessary to consider all of the involved parties, and not just your consumers, when rebranding.

“It is highly important to engage key stakeholders, the first being your consumer and all the way through the chain right back to your supplier.”

Knight suggests finding creative ways for the team members to personalise the transition.

“Designing activities to get your employees to engage with the new brand in a personal way will make them feel a sense of ownership.”

2. Remember, continuity is key

A rebrand does not necessarily mean that your company has to start from the ground up. Numerous successful rebrands involve the company using recognisable pieces from an old logo.

James Greenfield, creative director and founder of London-based studio Koto, was a big part of the team who created the new logo for Gumtree.

“The previous logo had a history that was no longer relevant to the global brand it had become,” Greenfield says.

The new logo still includes the tree symbol, synonymous with the brand, but is timeless. With Gumtree becoming more app-focussed, Greenfield says the new logo was designed to work on a range of scales – from a mobile screen to a building-sized poster.

“The new brand was built around three key tenants of modernity, simplicity, and digital. We used these as criteria to create a flexible brand that can be executed with ease, one that stands out and feels appropriate for everyone, regardless of age or digital experience.”

Knight says that in order for consumers to still recognise your brand post-rebrand, continuity is key.

“Look for opportunities to bring elements that really matter – to your company and clients – to the new brand. It might be as simple as an iconic colour or font. Or maybe the new logo can retain parts of your former logo.”

3. Let the creative professionals do their job

Design professionals are hired for their professionalism, so getting overly involved in the process can often hinder their performance and end in mediocre designs for your business.

Greenfield says that it is important to keep the end goal in mind when allowing designers to do their work.

“[It’s about designers’] problem-solving ability and critical thinking, combined with creativity that creates brands that mean something and look great.”

By hiring good designers who understand the message behind the brand, you are off to a good start. You must ensure you give the designers clear direction, but not micro-manage.

“Design by committee is a frightening prospect that most often produces tepid, and even downright awful, results,” says Knight.

Ensuring that your designers have a good understanding of the brand, culture, and where the business is going is vital to design success, Greenfield tells media update.

“[A designer must] understand why and how a brand connects with its audience, and then make everything about that. With a lot of noise in the world, it is important that a brand has clarity and distinctiveness.”

4. Keep your audience in the loop

When considering a rebrand, or even just a logo change, it is important to think about your consumers. Ambushing loyal customers with a totally new look can be overwhelming and can lead to negative backlash.

This was the case with Gap in 2010 when they rolled out a total rebrand without any warning. In an article for Business Insider, Harrison Jacobs says that the rebrand was a disaster for the company.

“The backlash was intense. Thousands of tweets and Facebook statuses derided the logo, and a parody Twitter account and Gap logo generator went viral.”

Within six days, the company reverted to its original logo.

“Two lessons: Don't spring a drastic redesign on an unsuspecting public and listen to your customers,” Harrison says.

October says that when rebranding Simsonsberg to Président, they ensured consumers were prepared through a simple approach of always communicating and engaging with them.

“We know consumers are not always keen on change, and that is why we have taken a phased approach in rebranding to Président. This kicked off in October 2016 and will continue over a period of 18 months,” October tells media update.

“This is to ensure that consumers understand that the change in name does not mean a change in product taste, quality, or manufacturing process. The brand will be maintaining its tradition and craftsmanship, and it will still be made locally in the Cape.”

5. Make sure your brand evolves as you grow

Your brand is more than just a combination of a colour, logo, and graphic – it is the essence of your company. Even if your logo changes, your brand culture should stay, for the most part, the same. This makes it necessary to ensure that when rebranding your business, you have something that is able to grow and evolve with the business.

Knight uses the Harry Potter series as an example to illustrate this point.

“While the characters grew up and matured as the series progressed, they still remained, fundamentally, Harry, Ron, and Hermione – just a bit older and more mature.”

In a blog post, The Marketing Machine says that businesses learn, grow, and evolve, just as people do – and their visual personality needs to reflect that.

“Rebranding doesn’t have to be 180 degrees from your current brand. Your company’s look might just need to be freshened up to keep with the times and latest styles. It’s important to appear current and hip with your client base, and a stale, stagnant identity is not going to achieve that.”

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Before considering rebranding your business, you need to be sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Read more in our article, What to consider before rebranding.