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October 10, 2014

Why Baby Steps Toward Rebranding Might Be Better

Why Baby Steps Toward Rebranding Might Be Better

Baby steps are generally recommended prior to engaging in any activity that could be easily fatal, and yet when it comes to rebranding, there are some companies that insist upon leaping without a functioning bungee cord. Why? Wouldn’t you want to prepare yourself before committing to any incredibly expensive and potentially ruinous rebranding efforts? Oh, we see… you just want to completely overhaul your brand and spend 50 percent of your future revenue on an endorsement from a hip-hop artist. Good luck with that!

The rest of you who want to proceed more cautiously might try changing your brand image incrementally. If you are itching to get your rebranding efforts over and done with, either because your organization has been around for many decades or there have been indictments you’d prefer the public to forget, here are a few reasonable considerations that might help to change your mind in favor of the gradual rebrand.

1. You can test the efficacy of your rebrand strategy.

Testing is key to any marketing strategy, and slowly rolling out design, logo or brand identity changes will act as the final leg of your extensive research processes.

When you jump feet-first into a total rebrand, you never give yourself the chance to gauge how that rebrand might be taken by your existing customer base. If you anticipate a drastic rebrand, then starting out easily could give you the opportunity to get useful feedback from your public. People always post heartfelt, helpful tips and sound business advice on Facebook, don’t they?

2. You could alienate your public with a sudden and dramatic change.

If your logo re-do or image reconfiguration is unveiled suddenly, you run the risk of confusing your loyal consumers. Remember, there is a reason your customers have stayed with you throughout your brand’s existence, and if you stray from the identity that your public has come to trust without necessarily attracting new enthusiasts, you could be headed for disaster.

Of course, if the core reason for your rebrand is precisely to get your public to forget your questionable business habits, then by all means, confuse away.

3. Gradual rebranding is more of a natural evolution; sudden rebranding is a trend-grab.

Every organization changes and grows throughout its lifecycle; everyone accepts that. Packaging materials change; new technologies cause products to be used differently than they once were; certain ingredients in food products become either sought-after, or avoided, by the general public. Brands that change due to growth rather than desperation are inherently more trustworthy.

When you unveil a drastic new brand identity, logo and packaging structure suddenly, it appears to the public as though your organization is pandering to a certain demographic out of a misguided desire to appear relevant and “hip.”

4. It’s more cost efficient to systematically rebrand.

Rebranding isn’t cheap — the fees from a reputable packaging design company could be in the millions alone.*

Rebranding doesn’t necessarily have to begin with a logo or packaging change; it can start with a new social media strategy, promotional campaign or product line unveiling. When you open yourself up to new demographics and see which are the most receptive, you’re able to tailor your rebranding efforts to suit the consumers that are the most likely to make the efforts worthwhile.

5. You give yourself the opportunity to gauge whether you are leading or following with your rebrand.

The most effective rebranding campaigns have been the campaigns that have led the market rather than followed it. Ask yourself, why is rebranding essential for your brand? Are you responding to trends within your niche or have you noticed a gap in the market that you could possibly fill? Give yourself the opportunity to assess exactly what problem you think your rebrand will solve.

Furthermore, gradual rebrands give companies the chance to modify their company culture and brand identity from the inside out. Slapping on a new brand identity when your organization itself remains the same as it always was can be fatal to the rebranding efforts.

Rebranding can easily be a years-long undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be a huge struggle. If your branding motives are pure and your company culture is on board with the image you are trying to project, your efforts will be successful. Of course, if changing your brand identity is largely to capitalize on the cupcake trend, you might want to rethink your strategy.

*Just kidding. We rarely charge more than several hundred thousand.

author

by Kevin Smith
Managing partner at SmashBrand. We're a group of experienced brand owners, thinkers and world-class designers united by an obsession for creating category disrupting brand experiences.

Purposefully selective, we work with brands that want to stand out and also stand for something.

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