When Dunkin’ Donuts dropped the “Donuts” from its name, many brand loyalists had a tizzy. Where are my donuts going? Well, nowhere. The controversial rebrand was less about pushing donuts to the side and more about bringing to light offerings that were otherwise going unnoticed.

In the case of Dunkin’, remaining relevant and diverse meant that a rebrand was in order. If your business has forgotten what its purpose is, the audience it serves, or the problem it solves, it could be time for a rebrand.

What is rebranding?

Before we can understand rebranding, we must understand what your brand is. Since branding itself is widely misunderstood, we similarly see how rebranding can be a head-scratching topic. Just as communication is about 80% non-verbal, a brand is largely invisible.

Depending on your needs, there are two paths a rebranding can take. First, a partial rebrand focuses on the components of your visual brand identity. This includes bringing in new offerings, setting old ones aside, or redesigning your business’s aesthetics, including the logo, website, or slogan. Alternatively, a complete overhaul would focus on your company’s mission, values, user persona(s), target market, and service offerings. Both options are effective; it simply takes knowing your brand and what it needs to revitalize. Next, consider the questions you might ask in a rebrand:

  1. Who is our target market? – More specifically, who are they right now, not who was our audience five years ago. User personas are a helpful tool in identifying the right audience.
  2. What is our current mission, vision, and values? – Before considering a change in logo, colors, or typography, think about what actually instills feelings within customers—the who, what, and why of your business. Similar to the point above, this isn’t about your mission a decade ago. It’s about right now. Neglecting where your brand currently is may cause dissonance between who your customers are, and who you’d like them to be.
  3. What’s our slogan say about us? – Slogans take your mission, vision, and values, and condense them into one memorable phrase. Before changing your slogan, ask yourself: why are we changing it? Have we conducted a market survey yet? (This informs you as to what people think when they hear it.)

Remember, rebranding is not a fire escape or quick fix. Intentional consideration should take place before deciding to pursue one; and if you do, each step should be just as intentionally and carefully considered.

Have you lost your way?

Since branding tugs at the heartstrings of your customers, rebranding carries its weight in risks. But being aware of the risks will guide you through a successful rebrand and reduce the chance of diminished brand equity in the process. The best way to navigate a rebrand is to ask yourself: “Is it truly the right time to go through one?”

This question is more easily answered after analyzing a series of smaller signs:

  • Customers don’t match your target audience – All business is good business, but the right business is the best for your brand. If you are attracting different clientele than you planned for, or your desired niche doesn’t align with whose buying, it might be time to change your niche. Alternatively, strategize a way to start attracting the ones you initially hoped for.
  • People confuse you with a competitor – – If you don’t know what makes you unique from your competitors, your brand likely isn’t communicating your uniqueness to the world, either. For example, Google started out as “Backrub”, but quickly outgrew this and renamed itself something we now all know and love.
  • That’s so 1999 – Design is a small sliver of your overall brand identity. Even so, it is the face of your business, and you will eventually outgrow that 1990’s comic-sans font. 

Finding your north star again

Having to rebrand is not indicative of any sort of failure from your business. Often, a rebrand is in order because of external factors, like social or political happenings. It’s also a way to remain proactive—we all know that reacting to changes in the market and playing “catch up” could cause a marketing team to run around yelling, “fire drill!”

When done properly, your brand can reap big returns.

For example, you might score brownie points with Google, who is placing more emphasis on brands. According to Google’s previous CEO, Eric Schmidt, “brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.” Which makes perfect sense, in a digital world that serves up false information constantly. Trust = rankings.

Although rebranding will create a stronger identity and improved loyalty from customers, it could also impact the way employees see your company. Getting buy-in from customers will be impossible if the people within don’t believe in your mission. Rebranding is an excellent chance to bring your tribe along, encourage feedback, and remind everybody why you do what you do.

Don’t do it alone

Your brand is your story. Are you ready to take it to the next level? Red Mallard helps businesses solidify their brand identity and communicate it to their audience. Contact us to learn more about developing a stronger brand

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