Rebranding your business is a big decision that involves many different moving parts. A rebrand can mean anything from redesigning your webpage or launching a new product, to repositioning yourself in the market.
Because of the time, money, and energy involved in a rebrand, it’s important first to consider whether rebranding is a necessary step for your business. What are you trying to change? Who are you changing for?
To help you answer these questions, a panel of Fast Company Executive Board members shares some important factors to consider before a rebrand.
1. CUSTOMER AND EMPLOYEE INPUT
Talk to your customers and employees! Do not rebrand without the voice of those that matter. If you make sure your employee experience is right and your customer experience is right, it will be easy to understand where and how you need to rebrand. – Shawn Nason, MOFI
2. TRUST AMONGST YOUR TEAM
Does the rebranding hurt or help your reputation with your customers, suppliers, and community? Building brand recognition is not cheap, and for industries where there are more late adopters than innovative buyers, this can kill your sales potential. Trust is an important commodity that is often overlooked and undersold. – Christopher Aliotta, Quantalytix, Inc.
3. YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION
Rebranding is the natural wing of your current business and aims to provide improved solutions to your audience. So, re-designing brand elements, brand voice, marketing collaterals, and more are an inevitable part of the rebranding. But the tricky and the most vital factor is finding out the right “value proposition” that incentivizes your existing customer base to adhere to your rebranding strategies. – Saikiran Chandha, Typeset
4. YOUR VALUES AND MISSION
Branding is the outward story of who and what your company is, so make sure you know that inside out. That means knowing your values, knowing what your mission is, who your audience is, and what you’re trying to tell the world. Branding is the first day-of-school outfit that tells the world who your company is. Make sure you don’t get ketchup on your top! – Catherine Merritt, Spool Marketing and Communications, LLC
5. YOUR AUDIENCE’S NEEDS
Assuming you know what your business offers and why you are offering it, the most important thing to start with during a rebrand is who you are trying to better reach and connect with. What do they care about and how does that match with what you do? So yes, for a moment, forget starting with why, and try starting with who. – Neil Simon, Metro Regional Government
6. THE IMPACT OF YOUR REBRAND
The most important factor to consider is the impact of your rebrand on your customer. Companies often focus on internal resources pertaining to the financial cost, the time needed for a frictionless and consistent rollout, team member responsibilities, and more without considering the potential loss of confidence and subsequent churn that may come with trying to reengage customers, prospects, and leads. – Mack McKelvey, SalientMG
7. YOUR REASON FOR REBRANDING
Ask why are you rebranding? There are many reasons: mergers and acquisitions, poor quality, lack of interest in the company, your company is stale, a need for market repositioning, others have a better brand reputation, and more. A company will need to redefine their company’s vision, mission, and values. These are all changeable items. The issue is that you can change strategy, but can you change organizational culture? – Will Conaway, The HCI Group (A Tech Mahindra Company)
8. WHAT YOU NEED TO REBRAND
Always remember, a brand is not a logo. A shiny new logomark on your website should never be the goal of the rebrand. In the same way that an orchestra needs a full collection of instruments working in harmony, a brand needs multiple thoughtful touchpoints. A system, intentionally crafted and consistently delivered, inclusive of a logo, but not simply a logo is essential. – Bill Kenney, Focus Lab
9. YOUR GROWTH TRAJECTORY
Before being rebranded, it’s critical to ask, “Is undergoing a rebrand the top action I can take to improve my growth trajectory?” In early-stage startups, founders often think the problem is around brand strategy when the problem is actually around the product. Don’t think of a rebrand as solving your retention or growth problems. Instead, use it to amplify a production with traction. – Nathalie Walton, Expectful
10. WHO YOU’RE TARGETING
One factor to consider in any rebrand is the “who” question. Who are you targeting with this rebrand? The answer should be a collection of audiences most likely but each of them with its own unique value proposition. Current customers, new customers, investors, analysts, and employees. If you are only doing it for one of them, that should be a red flag. Otherwise, think about the who at every step. – Liz Carter, ServiceMax
11. ALIGNMENT WITH YOUR CURRENT BRAND
Will the rebrand continue to align with the customers’ current experience with your brand? This is important because you want to make sure your loyal customers know that the rebrand will not affect the quality of your products or services they have become accustomed to. Most of all, it’s crucial to let them know what to expect in case these changes will affect their overall experience. – John Hall, Calendar
12. HOW TO EXPRESS YOUR CORE PURPOSE
A rebrand doesn’t mean changing who you are, it means getting creative about how your core purpose is expressed. So, instead of considering a rebrand, perhaps it’s time to start thinking of it as the necessary adaptation to the current context. Ask yourself: what is the natural evolution of who we already are? How do we become a better version of ourselves? – Alain Sylvain, SYLVAIN
13. YOUR 5 TO 10-YEAR PLAN
Clearly define where you see your company 5 to 10 years from now, using that vision as your North Star. Without grounding your rebranding strategy in a sense of forward-looking direction, you’re prone to recreating an iteration of your current self (which is limiting). – Katelynn Minott, Bright!Tax U.S. Expat Tax Services
14. WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT
What are you doing right? You haven’t made it this far by being completely disconnected. Make sure to take the time to understand what people love about your current brand, who you are, and what you deliver. Then make sure to carry those impactful elements forward. – Meagan Bowman, STOPWATCH
15. THE INCREASE IN REVENUE
As business buyers, we have rebranded and consolidated brands among multiple companies. The most important question is, “what will this do to revenue?” We rebrand only if the answer is, “revenue is expected to increase in the long term.” If the short-term losses are not expected to be counterbalanced by much larger long-term gains, then a rebrand should not even be on the table. – Tyrone Foster, InvestNet, LLC