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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

Is your business ready for a major rebrand?

Here are 10 tips to help leaders decide on the best next steps to level-up business.

Is your business ready for a major rebrand?
Members of Fast Company Executive Board share their expert insights. [Image: Courtesy of the individual members.]

If you’re looking to upgrade your company’s image or improve on the pattern of behaviors it is widely known for in the marketplace up until now, there are plenty of factors to evaluate before making a decision to promote the rebranding of your business.

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Be clear on what it is that you truly plan to accomplish and why. Then do your research even further to make sure it’s the right plan of action for you now and if now is the best time to do it. By examining these few points, you’ll be setting your team up for successful wins each time.

Fast Company Executive Board members advise leaders on how to start with just some minor adjustments to improve your business effectively before moving on to invest in a major overhaul that you may not be prepared for to move forward with as quickly.

1. TREAT YOUR BRAND LIKE A PERSON.

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I would first consider thinking of your brand as a person that is the embodiment of the vision, values, and voice of your company. Can you define the attributes of that person based on those three elements, and what would you want to change about them? Make sure that your brand persona will be relevant to you, your employees, and your clients today and five to 10 years from now. – Mark Bryan, M+A Architects

2. EVALUATE YOUR ROI OBJECTIVE.

Before executing on a major rebrand, executives should first double click into the catalyst behind it: industry, product, customers, employees, and more. Will the rebrand have the intended consequence and ROI? – Suchit Tuli, Quantime

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3. BE HONEST AND REALISTIC ABOUT YOUR BANDWIDTH.

Before you decide to move forward, answer the following questions. What is your motivation to rebrand? Will rebranding better enable your strategy? Will you make the commitment (time, money, resources) for rebranding to succeed? Do you understand and are you willing to sign up for all of the execution steps a rebrand requires; it’s way more than messaging and logos. Don’t go forward with anything until you have robust answers to these questions. Amy Radin, Pragmatic Innovation Partners LLC

4. BE CLEAR ON YOUR WHY.

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Define rebrand and lay out the “why” behind it. You have to be clear on what you want to accomplish and why you want to undertake the effort. Are you talking about changing your brand promise and how you show up every day, or are you just bored with your logos and color palette? Too often a brand is misdefined as a logo and tagline and not the way you make customers feel. – Matt DeWolf, MK Quinn Media

5. MAKE SURE YOUR MISSION AND VALUES ALIGN.

Take a look at your mission, vision, and values. Do they still align with the overall direction of the company? This is important because your two most important stakeholders are your internal team and your customers. It doesn’t matter if executives believe rebrand is important. It matters that your teams embrace it. Once your team embraces the new core values, the market will follow. – Kyle Lacy, Seismic

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6. IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM YOU’RE TRYING TO SOLVE. 

Is your brand name confusing? Confining? Tied to a founder, product, or location that is no longer relevant? Or is the problem with brand awareness, a slump in sales, an aging customer base? The more specific you can be when setting goals, the easier it will be to see whether you need a new name, a new logo, or simply a new marketing strategy. – Jan Bednar, ShipMonk

7. PUT THE CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS FIRST.

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It’s never what you want, but rather what your customers want. In business, you should be prepared for mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, or exits. Preparing your business for the aforementioned will allow you to think clearly about rebranding. Will your rebrand expand your offerings, or will it allow you to substantially increase revenue? Ultimately, never forget to focus on what it is that your customers want. – Maurice Kelly, Windpact Inc.

8. FOCUS ON BRAND LEGACY, VISION, AND CURRENT PERCEPTION.

The first step should be to understand the brand legacy, the vision, and the current perception. The legacy will help understand if this rebrand feels right for the brand. The vision will show you if you’re heading in the right direction and not just making a 180 degrees pivot. The current perception will display if there is actually a problem. Once you have these three factors, you can then decide to do it. – Candice  Georgiadis, Digital Agency, Inc

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9. DO YOUR RESEARCH.

Start by doing the research needed to perfect your own brand effectively. What has worked well for your target audience in the past? Which brands are the most notable? What have they done wrong? Which competitors failed to impress your target audience? By learning your landscape, you can build a new brand that will captivate the prospects. – Yoav Vilner, Walnut

10. FOCUS ON IMPROVING CORE BEHAVIOR PATTERNS, FIRST.

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When rebranding yourself, not a product or service, the first step is to look in the mirror and ask why. If you’re rebranding to distance yourself from a pattern of behavior that has become a liability, start by identifying the underlying cause of the behavior. Then, focus on changing it. Until you do this important inner work, it doesn’t make sense to invest in rebranding. – Camille Preston, AIM Leadership, LLC

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