What to know about rebranding

Your brand’s identity, including your logo, is essential to your business. It’s how your audience identifies you and differentiates you from competitors. 

Why would you want to change what people know?

Deciding to update your brand isn’t always an easy choice to make – or an obvious one – but it’s something all businesses should consider doing from time to time.

You may think that major brands keep the same look and feel forever, but in reality, a company’s original branding rarely remains unchanged throughout the years. Instead, some companies gradually evolve their branding and logos over time like Pepsi. Others take a risk and dive headfirst into a rebrand, the way Angie’s List did in changing to Angi.

Company rebrands

Walmart

Do you remember what the Walmart stores looked like when you were a kid? If not, you’re not alone: Walmart’s brand identity has changed several times over the years.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy has ditched the crazy dude and cartoonish font in favor of a complete rebrand and redesign – and it was definitely for the best. Its original brand, which featured over sexualized commercials and a “frat bro” image, did not age well as our culture evolved into a “woke” one. 

Today, GoDaddy focuses on “The Go” part of its name and uses it in its new logo and overall brand identity. The modern and simple design is versatile and reinforces their updated brand messaging. 

Pfizer

2021 is Pfizer’s year. So if you haven’t heard someone utter the name “Pfizer” over the past few months, I have one question: Where have you been? 

Pfizer’s uptick in popularity due to the Covid-19 pandemic gave the company an excellent opportunity for a brand update.

Choosing to undergo a rebrand or brand update

Choosing to undergo a rebrand or brand update isn’t as simple as “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” 

While subtle changes to a brand can make a significant impact with minimal risk, major rebrands are high-risk, high-reward. However, these can either be a huge hit or a total miss, and result in a large waste of money if the rebrand fails.

Major rebrand success: Burger King

Two decades with the same branding can get about as stale as two-day-old fries, so Burger King decided it was time to throw out the old and bring in the…older? BK brought back a nostalgic look with their 2021 total rebrand.

While it’s still early, so far, the rebrand has been a success and has reminded many of us that Burger King is still a great fast food option.

Major rebranding fail: Tropicana

If you don’t recognize this rebrand, you are not alone. That was Tropicana’s exact problem when launching this redesigned branding back in 2009: people didn’t recognize it and sales dropped.

While people may notice branding changes when seeing commercials or shopping online, in-store shopping is a bit different, especially in a hectic grocery store. Tropicana’s rebrand was short-lived, and they quickly went back to their old, recognizable branding.

When to update your company’s branding

Your brand is more than just a logo

While your logo may be the first thing people think of when it comes to your complete brand, it’s just one part of it: the starting point. 

The reality is that anyone can slap a logo on a website or piece of paper or a bag and call it “branded material.” However, good, effective branding goes far beyond the logo – and shouldn’t always need the logo to be identified.

What comes to mind when you see a red shopping cart? 

What about a big blue tote bag? 

Do you still think of Walmart when you see a simple yellow smiley face? 

Does hearing someone say “I’m lovin’ it” make you go “ba da ba ba ba” and crave a Big Mac? 

Font usage and color can reinforce and evoke your brand without the presence of your logo. Your brand palette and fonts are essential when creating headlines, buttons, and other graphic elements that help your audience navigate your website and recognize your brand out in the world.

Having a clear, consistent brand identity is an integral part of increasing brand recognition and trust. Therefore, all brand elements should be spelled out clearly in a brand identity guide for consistency’s sake.

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How to know if your brand needs updating

Unlike your phone, your branding won’t give you a notification when it needs an update. Luckily, there are a few ways to figure out if it’s time for a brand refresh.

Is your branding consistent?

Consistent branding is vital in building brand recognition and trust with your audience. Your brand should have the same look and feel, whether on your social media, website, or printed materials. 

If you lack overall cohesion and consistency, it may be time to think about updating your brand to one with a cohesive look and feel.

Are your logo and branding versatile enough for multiple uses?

How does your brand look on digital screens and printed materials? Is your logo pixelated or grainy? Do your colors look off when you print materials with your branding? Do you have a version of your logo with a transparent background? Is your logo simple enough to be recognized in a small profile photo while scrolling through social media?

These are all things that should be considered when implementing your brand. If your brand is older than Instagram, it may not be optimized for all uses. A simple update to your brand could go a long way.

How old is your current branding?

Trends are constantly changing, and while some brand elements are timeless, it’s easy to appear outdated and out of touch with your current audience. The older style of branding with 3D effects, shadows, and beveling can make your brand feel stuck in the 90’s or early 2000’s.

Does your branding reflect your business at this moment in time?

There are a few questions you should ask yourself when considering your answer:

Have your demographics changed? As new generations age and begin new stages of life, you may find that your Gen X audience has evolved into a more Millennial one. Or maybe Millennials have aged out of your audience, and you need to target Gen Z better.

Understanding your demographics will better set you up for success.

Have your values changed? Just like people, businesses and organizations grow and evolve, and values change as the world changes. 

Take this example: Your company or organization may have started focusing on shipping packages but has expanded to provide packaging, printing, and copying. To avoid your audience thinking of you just as a package delivery service, you should update your branding to reflect your new services. 

Essentially, your branding should reflect your business or organization as it is now, not just as it was in the past.

Does your branding make you stand out from the competition? One way to compete with the hottest new brand is by undergoing a simple branding update or rebrand. When done well, a new or updated look can remind your audience why you’re the brand they trust and should continue to patronize.

Sometimes, it may not even be a direct competitor that comes along. It could just be a new, big brand with a similar look and feel to their branding. Updating your branding can help avoid confusion between brands in different industries.

Do you still like your logo or branding? At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to look at your brand the most. So why keep using a logo or branding that you hate?

You don’t need to do a total 180 with your branding. Instead, start small, with reversible tweaks such as color palette and font.

What to expect during a rebranding

How much does it cost to rebrand?

It’s no surprise that major corporations will spend millions of dollars on rebranding. For most businesses, that can be scary to imagine. But, don’t be intimidated – major corporations simply have a lot more to consider than a small business during a rebrand.

Rebranding doesn’t have to be expensive. However, as a small business, updating your brand or rebranding should be an investment in your future.

When thinking about the cost of your rebrand, it’s important to consider everything that will need updating or changing once your rebrand is complete.

Consider, for instance, a restaurant. For a restaurant to fully update its branding and logo, it would need to update its website, social media, coupons, and menus. In addition, other branded materials within the restaurant, including signage, need to be updated as well.

On the other end of the spectrum, a business like a vacation rental company would only need to update its website, app, social media, and branded marketing materials. 

Maybe you like your logo, and it’s just your branding that needs to be refreshed. The main cost would come from the time spent working on the rebrand and updating your digital platforms where needed. 

Most small businesses can spread the cost of rebranding over time as they launch their updated branding.

Design process

Every designer likes to get to know and design branding differently, but the process usually fits within a rough structure. We don’t usually just jump right into designing. Instead, we get to know your brand and learn:

  • What you like about your current brand identity
  • What ideas you have
  • What are your values
  • The official and unofficial name of your brand
  • The goal of your rebrand

Some designers may ask more specific questions about aesthetics or voice as well.

Once we have these answers, it’s time to get to work on the redesign. The time it takes to finish the update and process can vary greatly and depends on the budget and the amount of work to be done.

Once complete, it’s time to show the world.

Launching your updated branding

Now that you’ve got your updated branding and logo, it’s time to launch your rebrand. 

In an ideal world, you would be able to snap your fingers at midnight on launch day and magically replace your old logo and branding with the new material. 

But we are just mere mortals, and that’s not always possible. 

In reality, launching your rebrand requires a lot of planning and careful orchestration from your business and marketing team. 

Since magically flipping a switch to update everything at once isn’t always feasible, it’s crucial to prioritize your rebrand launch. There are three phases of the launch process.

Transition period

Step one: Update digital branding

Your digital presence is the quickest and easiest thing to update, but you need to be careful that these updates don’t interfere with those who may be using your site at any given time. 

It’s best to make sweeping website changes during the middle of the night when your audience is likely asleep, though timing can be tricky for a business with an international audience. If this is the case for you, do some research based on your site’s usage data to find the optimal time.

Your branding on social media should always go with your website, so make sure to update your social profile images, cover photos, and information when you update your website.

Don’t forget to address the elephant in the room! Announce your new website to your followers on social media and your email list. In doing so, remember to update your email marketing materials with the newly updated branding and logo. 

It’s easy to forget, but your business email signature may need an update as well based on your rebrand.

Step two: Update printed materials

Much of the cost of rebranding can come from updating tangible items. 

It’s vital to phase out your old branded materials as quickly as possible, but your rebrand shouldn’t cause you to be wasteful. So if you are considering a rebrand or know you will soon be updating your branding, hold off any new materials until you need to or are ready to launch your updated branding.

You don’t have to throw out all of your outdated materials, though. Instead, there are a variety of ways to get some use out of them:

  • Donating products with the old branding. Homeless shelters are a great place to donate your branded backpacks, hand sanitizers, hats, shirts, and more.
  • Reuse outdated materials internally. Pens and notebooks are always helpful around the workplace as long as it’s not in a client-facing space. Additionally, as long as price lists and menus are accurate, these materials can be helpful to have around to answer customer questions quickly. 

Step three: Signage

Signage can take a while to create and install, and because your regular audience will still recognize the previous branding for some time, it’s okay if it’s not updated on day one. However,  it’s still essential to have a plan in place to get these updated.

Brand design trends to watch

Just like fashion trends, branding trends are constantly changing and evolving. 

And, just like fashion, some trends are timeless. But if you have the budget, trying on a new, bolder trend for size may be suitable for your brand.

These are just a few of the branding trends to watch.

Minimalism and simplicity

It’s hard to really call minimalism a “trend” in brand design, because it really is a classic and can be used in a variety of ways and usually to great effect. Minimalism makes the list of trends to watch simply because more and more major brands are updating their branding with a more minimalist look.

Just because less is more with this trend, doesn’t mean that minimalism is less versatile. Minimalist design allows your branding to speak for itself, or it can emphasize different aspects of your brand when paired with dramatic or heavily-detailed imagery.

Minimalist design is also easy to scale down for digital platforms like social media without losing what makes your brand recognizable.

Some of the most notable brands that have fully embraced minimalism in their brand identity include: Airbnb, Android, and Apple – just to start at the beginning of the alphabet.

Flat design

We’re saying goodbye to the beveled and 3D look of the past and hello to the simple flat design of the future!

Flat design brings versatility and boundless creative potential thanks to the simplicity at the core of the design style.

Sustainability and nature-inspired

Gen Z could easily be called Gen Green if dad jokes like that weren’t so cheugy. Still, Gen Z has made environmental consciousness a significant priority, which has spread among Millennials and older generations. It’s time for sustainable branding to shine.

Recyclable packaging, zero waste-refillable products, green and natural imagery are not only having a moment but are likely here to stay as more people are looking for ways to help fight climate change.

Throwback

Brands are really embracing pop culture’s love of nostalgia – especially when targeting Millennials, but this trend isn’t as simple as going back to an old logo or changing a font. It’s about taking the past and making it modern. Brands like Spotify, Kodak and Burger King are great examples of this trend.

Diversity and Inclusivity

Representation matters, and brands are starting to recognize this.

One of the easiest ways to connect with your audience is by showing them that people who look the way they do use your brand.

Expanding the color palette

While it’s essential to stick to a specific color palette, brands aren’t limiting themselves to just the colors in their logos or primary color palettes. Seasonal color palettes and alternate color palettes give brands more freedom while still sticking to a cohesive look and feel.

Humanizing the brand

Brands that act like actual people on social media create a community of social media users excited to interact with the brand and tag the brand to try to get noticed.

Humor and self-awareness are critical for brands that humanize themselves on social media. While some brands are more successful than others, many brands model their Twitter brand personality after companies like Wendy’s, MoonPie, and Target.

Who can forget The Great Chicken Sandwich War of 2019? Are you Team Popeyes or Team Chick-fil-A?


Are you ready to update your branding?

At The Loop Marketing, our team of experts specialize in brand design and development catered to your unique and individual needs. From brand conception to design to implementation, we do it all under one roof.