It should go without saying that your brand is who you are, what you stand for, and the one thing unifying the goals, ideals, and mission of your business. In short, your brand is an integral part of your business identity, so you want to make a good one right out of the gate. Of course, your business will grow over time, which means it may change. Perhaps your goals will shift.

Maybe your mission will develop into something new, or you’ll want to refresh your company’s look and overall vibe. You may even want to offer your customers new services or provide products that are a little different from what you offered previously. When this happens (and for many businesses, it will happen sooner or later), you should begin thinking about re-branding your business.

Re-branding is as common as creating a brand itself, but it takes a little extra care. When your business is in a space where re-branding is wanted or needed, the chances are that your company has been in the world for a while. Whether you’ve been around for a year or fifty, when you re-brand, you must reinvent more than just your image so that who your business is on the inside matches the outside and vice versa — all with your customers and employees in mind.

To rebrand successfully there are several major do’s and don’ts you must follow for optimal success.

do's and don't's for rebranding
Ultimate Guide to Re-branding Your Business: The Major Do’s and Dont’s

(Photo Courtesy of Unsplash)

Don’t Be Intimidated: Why Re-Branding Might Be Needed and Why It Works

Plenty of brands re-brand. Slack, for example, has already worked through two new re-brands in the last few months. IHOP went through a (very memorable) re-brand during the summer of 2018, and other companies such as Uber, Lyft, Instagram and more have recently undergone some form of re-branding to stay current with their followers, customers, and fans.

Though it may seem like a lot of change and uncertainty, re-branding is an opportunity to refresh and revive one of the most critical parts of your company. Re-branding offers lots of room for new opportunities and creativity as well as chances to engage with your customer following in new and dynamic ways.

Re-branding doesn’t have to be an entire overhaul of your company image! Instead, think of it as a time when you can tweak and fine tune parts of your company that can be improved for clarity and increased interaction.

Let’s think about Slack again: the company itself hasn’t undergone a considerable change. Slack is still a useful app, and network professionals can use to connect, chat, and share information. What has changed is Slack’s look and how it interacts with its customers. A small but profound change, revamping the company look leads to a lot of interest and attention for the company, winning new customers and getting the word out on what Slack does and what it stands for.

In short, when you think about your current brand – whether it is your brand’s look and logo, your mission statement and goals, or your products and services – is no longer working, re-branding is the clear next step. So don’t panic. Take a step back and make some time to think about how you want to change your brand for the better.  

Re-branding Your Business: The Major Do’s and Don’ts to Keep In Mind

Now that you’ve got an idea about what re-branding is and why it may be necessary, let’s move on to the actual business of re-branding. There are several do’s and don’ts all companies, whether small, medium or large, must know when re-branding. These do’s and don’ts should help you avoid common pitfalls, save you time and money, and ensure that your re-brand is a complete success:

Do’s

Do Work from the Inside Out

When re-branding, you have to think about more than just changing your look. Re-doing your logo and visuals will undoubtedly be some of the more eye-catching changes, but you have to re-brand from the inside out to make an actual impact. Think about the core of your company: your core values, your goals, and your mission statement. When you think about how you’re looking to re-brand and why you can begin identifying how each of these things should shift. As you sort through this step, be sure to include your employees in all new decisions and changes so that you can present a united front when you finally go public.  

Do Revamp Your Company Copy

If you’ve been a company for at least a year, the chances are that you’ve got plenty of copy on file. The copy can be anything and everything from your tagline social media posts and e-mails to blogs, articles, and other web content. When re-branding, you don’t want to leave all your old content and copy sitting around. For one thing, the copy may no longer reflect your company accurately, and for another, you may confuse potential customers, investors, and partners about who your company is and what it stands for. In some other cases, your copy may not be that strong or compelling anymore. Whatever the problem, you do want to revamp your company copy during a re-branding. It helps to ensure that everything is up to date, polished, and ready to be read, shared, and engaged.

Do Stay Consistent Even in the Change

Re-branding may be all about making changes, but this doesn’t mean you should lose consistency in who you are and what you do. Re-branding is more about changing how you represent who you are and how you do what you do. Let’s return to the IHOP re-brand: one of the issues people had with “IHOP” becoming “IHOB” for a spell was that burgers are pretty far from pancakes. Though IHOP later clarified that they weren’t turning their back on what made them famous in the first place, how they re-branded had many people scratching their heads. Staying consistent may have looked like keeping their name the same, but launching a burger campaign with a new tagline, logo, and goals specifically for this meal option. When re-branding, don’t get lost in all the new — you also have to remember your roots.

Do Get Creative

Creativity is an essential part of any business and should be leaned into at all times. Creative thinking gives way to new ideas, new adventures, new opportunities, and even new customers and fans. In short, getting innovative feeds into all areas of your business and you re-brand: it helps you reimagine your logo, tagline, and visuals as well as other areas. Are you wondering how to provide a product or service that’s already out there? Get creative! Think of how your company can do something the others can’t, whether its providing better quality products, better prices, better customer support, or improvements in another area. Having a creative mind and creative members of your team can open a lot of doors, so be sure that creativity is never stifled.

Do Include Employees and Customers Alike

One thing you must remember during your re-brand is to include internal constituents on the big decisions and changes. If you’re lucky, your employees are loyal to your company and believe in it. With this in mind, you don’t want to begin making changes that your team is not on board with. Beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes can be deeply ingrained in both employees and customers, and for many people change is hard. Keep this in mind when you begin the re-branding process (remember, work from the inside out!) to avoid some severe pitfalls. How can you include employees AND customers? Use insights from your employees, executives, and partners to help craft and fine tune your mission and core values. Offer surveys with rewards to loyal customers to get their opinion on specific changes before they’ve been made. Getting feedback from these parties is valuable and can help make your re-brand smooth and successful.

Don’ts

Don’t Worry About Money

While it is always important to be mindful of your budget, you don’t want to get caught up pinching pennies and cutting corners to make ends meet. Let’s be real: re-branding can get expensive, but if you plan well and leave yourself some wiggle room, you can keep everything on track. Before you begin, look at other areas of your company where funds may be diverted to add some padding to your re-brand budget. To take things a step further, do your research on how much money your specific re-brand may take, and do your best to plan accordingly. In the end, you have spent a little more than you intended, but having a strong brand identity and strategy can offer a significant return on your initial investment!

Don’t Become Generic

Part of being a successful business is standing out in a way that is important to your customers. You can give people something they both want and need – something they can’t get from just anywhere. With this in mind, you want to make sure that your re-brand does not strip away any of who you are as a business.

Becoming generic reduces your company to just another face in the crowd – another option. Sure, some people may choose you, but what is the incentive? What do you have that others don’t? Keep these questions in mind as you consider why you’re re-branding and what you want the process to do for your company and your customers.

Don’t Be In a Hurry

Re-branding can be a long and deeply involved process, so the last thing you want to do is rush. When changing your company in any way, you must think about what you want, what your customers want, what kind of new customers you want to attract, and how you plan to accomplish your goals while staying in line with your core value.

Of course, this is a lot to think about, and so should be given the proper time it deserves. To get the best job done, slow down and make sure that everything is precisely how you want it. It may take longer than you like, but it will pay off in the end.

Don’t Recycle Old Content Without Changing or Updating It First

For more established businesses undergoing the re-branding process, it may be tempting to post old content on your fresh new site. While recycling material is a good idea, doing so without changes or updates is not. Remember, consistency is critical. It’s vital that your brand voice must stay the same across all avenues.

If you have a blog post that contains a lot of useful information, but it was made well before your re-brand, re-visit it and see what elements can be brought up-to-date. Think of it like updating your closet: you don’t get rid of all your old stuff, but you can update looks by adding new pieces among the mix!

Don’t Oversell

Finally, don’t oversell or overpromise anything to your customers or employees. If you oversell what your new brand is going to be and do, it will only be met with disappointment and negative feedback. Such reactions can do severe damage to your business, stunting its growth or making it impossible to recover.

If you’re going to create hype around something and make promises, you have to follow through no matter what. A great way to think about it is through your lens: when politicians, friends, family members, or colleagues say they’re going to do something but don’t, how do you feel? Annoyed and let down are usually the top answers. For best results,s be realistic about what your brand will do and stick with it.

Re-branding your business is a big job, but when you follow these do’s and don’ts you can ensure that the process will go smoothly. Whether you’re giving your whole company a makeover or are just doing some light housekeeping, these tips are sure to help.

Margot Bushnaq

Margot Bushnaq

After a 10-year career in web development and system architecture, she left her position of Senior Director of Information Systems at a digital security company and cofounded a venture studio. There she noticed a lack of affordable “do-it-yourself” naming services for startups, which in turn became the driver to launch BrandBucket. At the age of 18, Margot was accepted to all 8 Ivy League universities, but shepropel BrandBucket into the successful business it is today. She now spends most of her time doing what she loves most, consulting on naming strategy sessions with tech startups and spreading her wealth of knowledge in the art of naming.