When a rebranding project is on the table it can feel confusing to understand exactly what that means. Planning for what needs to change can feel daunting but actually there are a few core pathways that most brands choose to take. Each pathway chosen is usually driven by what is happening with the brand and / or business.
Here we list the most common rebranding pathways:
This is the go-to pathway for established brands that still need to make progress. The risk to disturbing hard-won brand equity is low as this is the ultimate evolution approach. Sometimes, it can even be difficult to see what has changed yet the subtle changes, to shapes or colours for example, ensures the brand is staying fresh and up-to-date with the market and remains strong against competitors.
This is where a few assets get an update, usually something like the colour palette or typography is renewed, extended or updated. This suits brands that have increasing needs or channels and often require more flexibility and agility in how they communicate. This can also include creating new versions of logos that work harder in certain scenarios like sponsorship listings and on dark backgrounds.
This is where an existing brand can be strong but has started to show its age, often against competitors. This weakens the brand and creates opportunity for competitors to steal market share. The solution is to modernise and future-proof the brand, often creating cleaner and bolder type-marques fit for all the digital variables that we need today.
The Big Step
This pathway is required when there have been significant changes in the business and is usually triggered by a merger or a diversification of the offering. What is needed is something that looks markedly different and can reach new audiences and opportunities. It can also be a bridge or a union between more than one brand to reconcile them together. This pathway often requires a high amount of investment in communication (both internal and external) of the change and may also be delivered in carefully planned stages to minimise confusion.
Two scenarios call for this pathway – firstly, when there is a merger in which politics dictate that existing brand assets can’t be combined and one can’t be dominant. Secondly, brands can become toxic through business misadventure (think Arthur Andersen / Enron) and create a blocker in the business. A complete re-invention is required and will cover all aspects with a strategy to not retain any existing brand equity. As such it is brand creation but with the added twist that the reputation also needs to be re-earned – making it essential to include a positive counterbalance to what was before.
By compartmentalising in this way, it is much easier to understand what the creative brief is for your rebranding and what you want to achieve out of the project. We often work closely with our clients in the early stages to help them define the needs and make sure projects run smoothly to time and budget.