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Few topics generate as much buzz in the boardroom as rebranding. The subject often causes some distrust and reservation, because the return of such a hefty investment is not tangible and difficult to measure. And not least, many founders do not easily distance themselves from the logo and corporate colours that made their company big.

Yet brand renewal - from a brand refresh to a thorough rebranding - is part of every company's life cycle. Seizing the right moment, however, is essential to speak of a successful rebranding. The first question that needs to be answered: is renewal necessary?

Seize the right moment

When is it time to rebrand? We leave aside concrete causes such as mergers and acquisitions, or a brand reputation problem, and zoom in on less obvious reasons to rebrand.

Your brand or business strategy has changed

If you want to position your brand differently and appeal to a different audience, it is important that this new audience can associate with your brand. The stronger the adaptation of your strategy, the higher the need for rebranding.

Your business has outgrown your brand

Here we are again with Apple. In a previous life, the technology giant was called "Apple Computers," since at the time it primarily produced computers. In 2007, however, the focus shifted to other products and opportunities, resulting in the well-known name and brand change. Time does not stand still and neither do your activities. Are you no longer able to differentiate yourself from the competition in your communication, or do you want to offer new services or products that do not match your current brand? Then your business has outgrown your brand.

The brand no longer reflects what you stand for as a company

Time is merciless, and so is the public. No matter how timeless your brand is conceived, chances are your logo or corporate colors may suddenly seem dated. Is your brand identity contrasting with your corporate vision, style or future plans? Then rebranding opens the door to new opportunities.

The overview in the brand architecture is lost

If your business has expanded over the years with new products, whether or not with sub-brands, a lack of overview is lurking around the corner. The more complex, the harder it becomes to profile yourself as a company to the right target group in the appropriate way.

Usually one of the above reasons doesn't just pop up. A selection of signs, big and small, that show it's time to evaluate your brand:

  • You are not reaching the customers you want to reach.
  • Sales of a particular service or product are not going as desired.
  • You're reluctant to give your business card to a new contact.
  • The marketing team is bogged down in developing new tools.
  • No employee can explain what the company stands for loud and clear.
  • A proliferation of communication carriers has developed, causing a loss of unity.

Prepare your rebranding process carefully

An unprepared rebranding process can become a drawn-out story that ultimately leaves no one really excited. Knowing that the real work begins only when the brand is effectively re-launched, it is therefore best to avoid this.

Buy-in from (senior) management is essential

The symptoms of the need for a rebrand are usually felt first in the workplace, for example in marketing, hr or sales. Take your time to not only engage all key stakeholders but also convince them of its importance. After all, a rebranding in which the decision-makers do not join you has no strategic added value and will not be carried out.

Define rebranding objectives

Analyze the reason for debating a rebrand and then determine the objectives. What do you want to achieve with your renewed brand? What do you want to see different from before? That way, we establish a trajectory with impactful results.

Do your research

No rebranding without market research. Conduct a competitive analysis and examine how they position themselves, what they do well and what they don't. Also scrutinize your target audiences: what do they expect from your brand, today and in the future? The goals of your rebranding will determine the depth of your research.

Scheduling is key

What do you want to have clearly stated or finished by what date? Leave room for ideas to mature so that decisions are thoughtfully made, but set deadlines and work in function of a launch moment.

Prepare the launch

How do you want to inform your audience - both internal and external - and do you foresee a transition phase or do you do tabula rasa? It's best to think about that in advance.

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What impact can you expect?

The investment you make does not usually convert into sales immediately. Yet rebranding effectively has impact:

  • You change your target audience's perception of your brand, allowing you to change your pricing. After all, people pay more for a quality brand.
  • If you do it right, you will catch the eye of your target group and become more attractive to new customers.
  • A rebranding has an impact on your brand equity.
  • With a focused story and a strong visual identity, you are more likely to be seen as an authority in your sector.

Measuring impact is difficult but not unachievable. Find out more in our blog on measuring ROI on brand awareness.

SIMON edited

Simon Vanhauwaert


Barbara Bataillie

Strategic director

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