Rebranding, avoid the common pitfalls

If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.

Coca-Cola Executive

The above statement makes the value of a brand quite clear. Of course, branding goes well beyond the mere visual identity of a company, it relates to the story the company wants to tell and the values it wishes to convey.

So, if a company chooses to ‘rebrand’, unless there is an existing negative perception of the company, care must be taken to ‘evolve’ the look and feel of the company so as not to alienate the existing loyal customer base.

Rebranding should never be undertaken on a whim. It requires considerable thought and detailed planning. Here are some of the common rebranding pitfalls that we come across:

Heritage v history

There is a big difference! A brand with a proven heritage that sets it apart from its competitors is right to want to maintain links with its past. A brand that wants to stay the same simply because it shies away from change is wrong. Think about it, the font and colours that you chose 10 years ago would have been selected for a reason. Can you honestly say those reasons hold true today?

Rebranding? Piece of cake, isn’t it?

Evolving the visual ‘experience’ of the company requires expert counsel. Asking the in-house designer to make a few tweaks to the current logo is just not going to cut it. You need someone who has experience in the field, who can work with you to plan out the journey, demonstrate the rebrand’s application across a variety of marketing materials, offer a choice of creative solutions, deliver on budget and on time. Your whole company’s visual persona is under scrutiny here. Can you afford to gamble with how the outside world perceives you?

Remember the customer

We’re all for being creative but a rebrand where the creative process pays scant regard to the customer experience is flawed. A website with a wonderful design may look good but if the navigation and content do little to inspire confidence in the company / product, then what is the point? Similarly, market research amongst not just stakeholders but end customers can represent a valuable – and cost effective – exercise. When Gap tried to rebrand with a new logo, the resulting response from consumers forced them to revert back to the original blue box logo just six days after the unveiling of the new brand ID! Smart research would have saved them a lot of money ….

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Get your ducks in a row from the outset. If you know you are going to be considering a rebrand, look at how that is going to impact on marketing activity over the next 12 months. Do you really want to sign off that massive print run of new brochures when talks are already afoot about changing the brand identity? Should you be briefing the company responsible for your new trade stand when there is a strong chance that the company might be revising its name and corporate colours? To what extent is the impending merger likely to influence the look and feel of the annual report? Inconsistent branding and a failure to integrate the new visual identity across all company collateral does little to inspire confidence and intimates a degree of unprofessionalism.

Work smart

Everyone is likely to have an opinion on a rebranding exercise but if the process is going to move forward smoothly, agree a creative brief which is signed off before talking to the agency. Identify a project team and agree an approval process and the nominated decision maker (s). This will not only encourage a positive, productive working relationship, it could also result in savings – both in terms of money and time.

If you’re thinking about a rebrand get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.


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