Rebranding isn’t just about giving your small business a facelift. It’s about re-evaluating your spot in the market, connecting with customers and checking your mission statement still stands.
If you’ve been thinking about launching a rebrand project, take a read of this guide to understand the reasons why companies rebrand. You’ll discover tips on how to approach your strategy and learn from some successful small business rebrands.
Let’s get into it.
How do you know it’s time for a change of identity?
It’s important not to rebrand just for the sake of it. Take a look at some of the most common reasons that companies rebrand and see if any of them resonate with you:
Your brand values are no longer relevant: As a growing brand, it’s important to continuously assess your brand values. Maybe your goals have shifted or you have a new, bigger mission in mind. Either way, a change in values means you could consider a rebrand that matches your new focus.
- You’ve pivoted your product lines or added a new line:We’re not saying you should go all in on a rebrand if you’ve just added a new colour variant of your bestseller. But if your catalogue has grown and changed since you first launched, think about whether your old branding is still relevant.
- You’re trying out a new ecommerce model: Are you moving to a subscription model? Perhaps there’s a new ecommerce marketplace you’re planning to target. Consider whether your brand needs a refresh to resonate with the new audience you want to attract.
- Your visuals are old and tired: Designs go out of date quickly. Keep an eye on current design trends and if your visuals start to look old and tired, it’s time for a rebrand.
- Your market position is no longer unique: You may have been the top dog in your industry back in the day. But if there have been a ton of new brands taking the spotlight recently, a rebrand could give you just the momentum you need to reclaim the top spot.
When should you not rebrand?
But don't think a rebrand is going to cure all your woes. Make sure you're not rebranding for the sake of it. If any of the below ring true, it's time to reconsider.
- Your competitors have rebranded: Every business is different. Don’t jump on the bandwagon just because your competitor has rebranded. Analyse why they might have rebranded (like we’ve covered above) and decide whether your brand is having the same issues.
- You’re new to the business: Have you just started a new job and want to make your mark? A rebrand could help you do just that. But unless this is the reason you’ve been hired, do your research beforehand. Don’t just jump in and change things up for no reason - you’ll most certainly ruffle some feathers.
- You’re bored of your visual identity: If you work with the same brand day in and day out, there’s a chance you’re going to get tired of the visuals. In this case you’re probably too ‘close’ to the brand. To find out if you actually do need to change your visual identity, it might be worth doing a brand health check (which we’ve included in the guide below). 🤓
Should you hire a branding agency?
It can really help to get a professional, outsider perspective when rebranding. Sometimes when you’re too close to something, it can be tricky to see what’s not working. An agency will assess your branding and identify what needs to change.
That being said, your in-house team knows your brand (and your customers) best. It’s up to you to determine whether you want to keep it internal or partner with an external branding agency.
Either way, it’s important you have the input from different specialties including marketing folk, copywriters, designers and PR experts.
A step-by-step guide to a successful rebrand
Once you’ve agreed on the reason(s) your company needs to rebrand it’s time to get down to business. 💪
This could be a big ol’ project but there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. With the right strategy in place, and a good brand asset management tool in your arsenal, a successful rebrand is totally achievable. Here are some steps to get you started:
Do your research
Before you start reworking your brand elements, do some research to figure out what direction you want to go in.
Do a brand health check
Before changing anything about your brand, find out how your audience feels about you. Does the consumer perception of your brand match the vision you set out to achieve? For example, if your purpose was to disrupt the market and go toe-to-toe with your industry leaders, is this something that customers still recognise?
Interview your customers and chat to your teams to get a handle on your current brand perception.
Here are some questions to ask them:
- Ask them to describe your brand in a couple of sentences to see if it matches your mission statement.
- Get them to write a list of all the things they do and don’t like about your main brand elements. These include your logo, colour palette, typography, existing content and the overall look and feel of your store.
Revisit your brand mission
Once you understand how your brand is being perceived by your audience you can revisit your brand mission. Perhaps you’ve achieved what you originally set out to do. Maybe your brand has broken through into the wider industry and is disrupting the status quo. In this case, you might want to rework your vision to include a new goal. For example, there might be a new cause that you’d like your brand to take a stand on and make an impact.
Take a look at some challenger brand examples to give you inspiration on the direction you might want to take your strategy. ✨
Re-evaluate your competitors
It’s good practice to frequently check up on your competitors. It’s especially important if you’ve seen a drop in sales or there’s lots of new brands in your industry. Here are some places you can go to snoop on your competitors🕵️:
Assess the market: Gather information on your competitors like their pricing, reviews, partnerships and their positioning. Getting a clear picture of them will help you spot any gaps in your own brand strategy and see where you fit in the market.
Look to social media: See what people are saying about your competitors on social media. Are they getting lots of shares and mentions? Have they had a significant increase in followers recently? This will help you get an idea of the consumer perception.
Determine your advantage: Is there anything that you offer that your competitors don’t? This could be an angle to lean on in your rebrand. 💡
Rework your brand elements
Now it’s time to get creative. Here are some brand elements you should consider reworking based on your research.
Fine-tune your voice
Your voice is how you speak to customers - usually through your communications. The tone of your voice can be worked around your new values. Think about how you want to talk to people: are you friendly, relatable and approachable? Or are you a little more serious, reserved and sincere? A copywriter or brand strategist can help you shape your voice so that it matches the other elements of your brand.
Freshen up your visuals
Visuals will determine the customer perception of your brand. They’re the first thing people will notice when they land on your site or spot your ads on social media. Your visuals need to be powerful and clearly convey your brand message. They will help you stand out against your competition and, hopefully, increase your market share.
Your visual elements will include things like:
- Logo variations
- Brand graphics and illustrations
- Brand colours
To organise these elements, we always recommend using a brand asset management tool like Dash (that’s us 😇). It’s a central location for all your important, brand-approved visuals and means your new assets will get all the attention and love they deserve. It also means that:
- Sleep safe at night knowing only the assets with your new rebrand are available for your teams to use
- You can approve or reject new graphics from your designers
- Share content with your rebranding agency via portals
- Your marketing team can quickly find your new designs and deploy them to your channels
- You won’t have duplicate files or endless email threads to contend with
And Dash isn’t just handy during your rebrand. It’s a home for your visuals that you can use to help your brand grow. Just take a look at how Planto (Dash's fake brand) organises its brand assets:
Get feedback on your new brand concepts
Feedback is so important at every stage of your brand strategy. It's especially important you get feedback from your customers and teams before launching your rebrand. Here are some tips on gathering feedback:
- Revisit customers you spoke to at the start of your journey: Ask them what they think of your brand with its shiny new assets. Has their perception changed? Does your new branding convey the type of company you want to be? How customers respond will indicate whether your rebrand is a success or a flop.
- Test your visual assets and copy: If you're unsure about the finer points of your rebrand messaging and visuals, then let the data do the talking. Run small-scale experiments where you compare different messages and assets across your website, paid ads and social channels and see what results you get.
Implement your new branding
Time to get your new brand assets into action! ✨
Create a brand tool kit
Happy with your new identity? 🦸 It’s time to compile everything into a brand tool kit that’s accessible to your teams as well as external partners.
Make sure you’ve got a digital asset management system, like Dash, to organise and share all of the new brand assets you’re going to need. Keeping them in one central place will mean you and your team can make the most of them. And you’ll know that your external teams - like your agencies and resellers - have access to all your new visuals.
Dash also integrates with Corebook. This is an interactive brand book that’s easily shareable (and means you don’t have to create a new PDF everytime you update it).
✨ Check out our marketing apps database to discover more tools to help you grow your brand.
Create a rebranding checklist
Finally, there’s a lot to remember in a rebrand. So, before you launch, make sure you’ve covered some key areas including:
Brand assets: Check that you’ve created all the different variations of your assets. For example, different-sized logos to deploy to your various marketing channels. (You can also create preset download sizes in Dash - ideal for resizing images for your socials).
Website: Depending on the level of rebrand you're going for (a new brand identity or a visual refresh), you’ll need to make sure that your site - from your home page to your product pages - reflects the new brand. You’ll also want to make sure any downloadable content has your new branding on.
Paid ads: If you’re running any display ads, make sure you get new ones created to reflect your new visual identity.
Emails: Templates and email signatures should be updated to reflect any new social links, job titles and logos.
Documents and templates: Refresh any internal templates like Word docs, slideshows and contracts.
Employer branding assets: Update the branding anywhere you advertise role opportunities in your company. That might include websites like Glassdoor, Indeed or LinkedIn.
Real-life examples from small business rebrands
If you’re looking for rebrand inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some successful rebrands from small businesses. You’ll also find key takeaways to help you on your journey.
Noom - needing to stand out in a big industry
Noom is a health and wellbeing platform. 💪 They’re a small company that wants to make waves in a huge industry, so needed a brand refresh to differentiate them from their competition.
Noom worked with branding agency, Gretel, to come up with new graphics and a logo. The logo symbolises a compass and the graphics convey the theme of ‘journeys’. Together, these anchor Noom’s brand mission: helping people ‘navigate’ healthier life choices.
Key takeaway: Sometimes it’s hard to explain your mission with words and photos alone. Shapes and symbols can help bring your concepts to life.
Van Leeuwen - creating scroll-stopping product packaging
Ice cream brand, Van Leeuwen, had a unique approach to their rebrand strategy. They specifically wanted to design product packaging that would ‘look good on social media’.
With fresh colours, bold typography and a new distribution strategy, they boosted their sales by 50% and now get 80% of their customers via Instagram.🤯
Key takeaway: consider where the majority of your customers come from. You may be able to build your rebrand strategy based on where your customers hang out.
Cream - pivoting to a new ecommerce model
Cream is a family-run bakery based in New Jersey, USA. For five years they sold exclusively to the wholesale market. However, with the direct-to-consumer model becoming more popular, they realised it was the perfect opportunity to grow their business. But they needed a rebrand first.
They worked with an agency to rework their entire brand identity. They explored different concepts and packaging designs and relaunched their website on Shopify. The result is a cohesive brand whose mission is to delight customers with delicious bakes all over the US. 😋
Takeaway: if you’re thinking of moving to a different ecommerce model, it’s important to consider whether your branding needs an overhaul first.
Modern Mammals - challenging the established narrative
Haircare brand, Modern Mammals, went for a rebrand after their first year of business. They’d reached 1000 customers, which meant they’d had the chance to test out the product and see what direction they wanted to take it.
In that first year they could see their product was resonating with men. However, they didn’t want to jump on the super ‘masculine’ narrative that many men’s haircare products told. So they worked with an agency to create a brand that reflected the type of business they wanted to be.
Takeaway: as a small business, you have the perfect opportunity to do something different with your brand. Instead of following the market leaders, you can challenge the status quo and create something that your target audience can really relate to.
Make the most of your new brand assets
Getting a suite of new assets is exciting. But don’t let them go to waste. 🙅♀️
Make sure you’ve got a DAM tool like Dash to help you manage, organise and share all of your brand visuals. Your marketing team can go here when they need a variation of your logo. Your designers can upload new graphics for you to approve. And your agencies can use portals to search for content that you’ve given them access to.
Want to see it for yourself? You can try Dash for free for 14 days. No need to add your credit card. Simply fill out the form below and you can get started! 🙌