It’s a brand new year. Maybe it’s a new brand year, too. Without further ado, here are a few compelling reasons to rebrand your business in 2023.
1. Your company has evolved
When a business changes or expands, it needs to redefine its brand to reflect the internal developments in the marketplace.
For example, in 2018 Dunkin’ Donuts conveyed its menu additions through subtraction, dropping the “Donuts” in its name to communicate that the chain offers more than O-shaped breakfast treats.
If your business has added services, shifted its philosophy, or simply grown in size, rebranding enables you to communicate your new and improved company to your audience.
2. To overcome a bad public image
McDonald’s has been successfully outmaneuvering social disapproval for decades. Remember when the documentary Super Size Me came out in 2004? In addition to exposing the fast food chain’s obesity-increasing, libido-decreasing side effects, the film featured a faux-obituary for Ronald McDonald, suggesting that those who eat fast food will die (sooner). In response to the film, as well as to the larger health food movement, McDonald’s began offering healthier menu alternatives. And, as it turns out, Ronald’s demise came when an outbreak of people dressing up as clowns terrorized the public in 2016. McDonald’s didn’t want to be associated with the Pennywise pranksters, so they quietly got rid of their beloved mascot. In the end, it wasn’t excessive Big Mac consumption that killed the hamburger eating bozo. It was his fellow clowns. Didn’t see that coming.
But McDonald’s had to do more than add salads to their menu and eliminate their Chief Happiness Officer to reshape public perception. More recently, the fast food chain changed its color scheme because its traditional palette—red and yellow—became associated with unhealthy food. So McDonald’s added earth tones to their branding, which are associated with a natural and healthy lifestyle (think Whole Foods), as well as vibrant colors, which express living a vibrant life. The fry grease still drips through the paper bags the same way it did before, but the rebranding helped shift public perception. Who’s lovin’ it? Customers are. Since the color change in 2016, the restaurant has seen a 5.5% year-on-year sales increase.
Our businesses can potentially end up associated with certain people, ideas, or events that put us out of step with the values of our audience. When this happens, not only do we have to shift our business strategy, we have to rebrand to communicate that shift to the public.
3. To reposition yourself in the marketplace and reach a new audience
Remember when the public voice of Wendy’s was its founder, Dave Thomas, the lovable grandfather figure who made an honest and fresh burger?
Ah, Dave. So inspiring. So wholesome. Well, to reach a younger audience, Wendy’s shifted its public voice to its Twitter account, giving the fast food chain an edgier persona.
Poor McDonald’s. First it’s the documentary, then the clowns, and then they get roasted by a troll in pigtails. Ronald got out just in time.
Since the tone of voice shift, Wendy’s has earned street cred with a non-geriatric crowd and has seen its sales skyrocket.
You don’t necessarily have to verbally torch your competition to reach a new audience like Wendy’s, but you might have to change your tone of voice to connect with the next generation. Rebranding is an opportunity to reestablish your communication style and open up new markets.
4. You’ve had a change in management
I just realized that, up to this point, I’ve only chosen fast food companies as case studies. Did I not learn anything from Super Size Me? This example isn’t fast food-related, however there is fake fruit on the logo so I haven’t strayed far from my theme.
When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, the company rebranded to reflect that there was a new (old) sheriff in town. And the tech company’s branding was transformed to express Steve’s approach to design—simple, clean, and sleek.
This is a common reason for businesses to rebrand. If you have bought—or are planning to buy—an existing business, rebranding is necessary to reflect your new leadership and give the public a sense that the future of your company is bright(er).
5. Your look is dated
What do all of these logo updates have in common? That’s right—they got simpler. In the mid-2000s, minimalistic designs grew in popularity, prompting companies to trim their aesthetic.
As design tastes shift over time, existing branding becomes progressively less appealing. The conventional wisdom is that your brand (especially your logo) needs to be refreshed every couple years, otherwise the public starts to perceive your look as tired and uninspiring.
The Art of Rebranding
A successful rebranding campaign requires more than a new look. It requires reshaping the way customers, investors, and others see your company. There’s both an art and a science to this process. At Mabble, we do a lot of rebranding work for our clients. Our process is not one-size-fits-all—we make sure our creative output is as unique as our clients are—but it involves these basic steps:
- Brand Audit and Strategy
We do a deep analysis of our client’s existing brand—identifying what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to be done to chart a new course.
- Company Naming and Research
Next, if needed, we’ll go through the process of generating names that capture the essence of a business and connect with the desired audience. Established brands may have a hard time changing their name (unless they’re dropping “Donuts”), but sometimes effective rebranding requires changing what people call you.
- Logo Design
Since it sets the foundation for the entire visual brand, a professionally designed and eye-catching logo is paramount. We initially create 3-6 concepts, then collaborate with our clients to refine it down to one winner.
- Brand Guide + Core Messaging
A brand guide is a comprehensive manual for the do’s and don’ts of your brand’s aesthetic—colors, fonts, design assets, photography usage, and more. And core messaging articulates the philosophical underpinnings of your organization—who you are, what you stand for, who you’re trying to reach, and how you’re going to do that.
Consistent branding is the most important thing to keep in mind when communicating with existing customers, let alone reaching new ones. Brand guides and core messaging are crucial for brand consistency, especially as your company grows.
- Web Design + Development
Your website is your primary marketing tool. It’s the hub for expressing your identity, and is often the main vehicle for sales. DIY and discount web development will hinder you in the long run, so it is vital to have a well-built (and beautifully designed) website from the beginning.
- Brand Expansion
Once all the rebranding is established, ongoing expansion is the final step. Whether that’s SEO, marketing materials, social media campaigns, or other marketing efforts, we help our clients build their brand for years to come.
For more on Mabble’s branding process, check this out. While you’re doing that, I’m going to pay my respects to a clown and get some McNuggets. No frozen beef for me—thanks Wendy! Dave would be proud.