Steps to implement an effective rebranding strategy

Rebranding is a process that involves changing your corporate image, usually when your company is going through a period of change. These changes can include anything from a merger, a shifting target audience, or simply changing priorities, tastes, beliefs, outlook, or more.

Whatever the reason for that change might be, a rebranding strategy can be crucial to the success of your business. The purpose of rebranding is to create a new identity for your brand to set it apart from other competitors. Rebranding is also key to your reputation—both online and offline—as it will affect how people view your company.

This blog will discuss 8 steps to an effective rebranding strategy: 

  • Identify the reasons for rebranding 
  • Set rebranding goals
  • Research and identify your audience  
  • Change your company’s mission and vision
  • Opt for a new name and slogan
  • Create a new brand identity
  • Craft a style guide
  • Plan the launch

Identify the reasons for rebranding

It’s important to take a look at why your company needs a rebranding strategy. Rebranding can be an exciting undertaking that allows you the chance to uplift your image, boost reach, strengthen your market position and, hopefully, improve your bottom line. But if you do it for the wrong reasons, it might just backfire on you.

Consider rebranding when: 

  • Your landscape changes
  • Your target demographic changes
  • Your vision changes

Don’t worry. The truth of the matter is that even the most successful companies sometimes choose to rebrand. Companies that spring to mind are Uber, Unilever, Weight Watchers, and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Dunkin’ specified its reason for rebranding was to “convey the company’s focus on serving great coffee fast.” Its previous name, after all, gave the impression it was merely selling donuts. In a way, the rebranding was to accommodate Dunkin’s product and target market expansion.  

Dunkin’ has gone all out in advertising their new name on billboards. But they also had to change their slightly dated website. Their website showcases the new logo and looks much fresher. 

The move is a recognition of the importance of online reputation management. Potential customers, after all, are no longer just offline. In other words, when you are looking at the right reasons for rebranding, you will also have to understand the current state of your online reputation and whether you will need to spruce things up.

Set rebranding goals

A successful rebranding strategy begins by deciding what your overall goals and objectives are. Whether you want to create more sales leads, compete at a better level in your specific marketplace, update old branding, or something else, you want to specify and write these down to ensure success.

Here’s another reason you should set your rebranding goals. Without them, you won’t be able to measure the success of your rebranding effort in the first place. Check out the list of what you can measure when rebranding and their corresponding metrics, according to Banking Journal:

  • Experience: How do customers experience your new image? Net promoter score is one sample metric.
  • Exposure: How much exposure is the brand getting after the rebranding? Familiarity, consideration, and preference can be your metrics here.
  • Perception: How do consumers perceive your product now? Performance scores on satisfaction metrics can be important here.  
  • Activation: How do people respond to your product now? Metrics include sales conversions.
  • Behavior: How effectively do employees understand the new branding and does that translate into good service? Employee engagement and branding understanding are sample metrics.

You can have multiple metrics, depending on what you’re trying to measure. 

Research and identify your audience  

Once you decide on your goals and metrics, it’s time to research and identify your new brand’s audience. Your new and improved brand needs to resonate with them, after all.

Here’s where an audience persona can help. It can help you visualize the people who represent your ideal target audience. Then, since this is your ideal audience, you decide what their behaviors, goals, demographics, interests, and challenges are.

An audience persona covers the pain points, drivers, and interests of your target audience. It also includes demographic information about your customer base. A good customer persona will include information like this:

  • Personal background: age, marital status, occupation, location, etc.
  • Lifestyle information: insights into family and work life
  • Challenges and opportunities
  • Social media usage and platform preferences 

Decide if your audience persona is different from the audience you’re currently targeting. If you decide it is, then use your audience persona to effect the changes you need to make to ensure the brand caters to that new target audience. 

Change your company’s mission and vision

Now you want to re-evaluate your brand vision, values, and mission. Chances are, they no longer apply to your brand so you and your team will have to sit down and create new ones. Make sure they align with your overall strategic plan.

Also, remember that there’s a difference between your mission and vision. Your mission statement describes what you do, what audience you are doing it for, and the benefits that it can provide. On the other hand, the vision statement is about where your company will achieve its mission. 

To see the difference, check out the mission and vision statements of Toyota. When a consumer reads your mission, it should give them an idea of what your company sells and does. Your vision is your plan for the future. 

Opt for a new name and slogan

It’s always essential for any changes to your mission or vision to reflect your rebranding strategy. A new name and slogan may sometimes be the only way to do this, but only if it’s essential. You need your new branding to be cohesive and stand out to your target audience.

Let’s take Weight Watchers as an example. As dieting and fat-shaming are now taboo subjects, they decided to rebrand themselves as a wellness company. They also changed their name to WW, which is in keeping with a younger image.

New WW logo

Besides, its previous name wasn’t exactly sending the right signals to some people. 

Weight watchers

When coming up with a new name and slogan, make sure you go back to your audience persona, too. After all, they should resonate with your new target audience.

Create a new brand identity

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room."

-Jeff Bezos

Brand identity is best described as the process of formulating that impression. When creating a new brand identity, you need to think about what you want people to associate with your brand. For example, do you want them to see you as a fun company that thinks outside the box to develop solutions? Or maybe you want them to equate your brand with luxury?

Once you decide, you should change all your creative elements to reflect your new brand identity. Those elements include your product logos, website (remember our Dunkin’ example), and your social media platforms, among others. It’s going to be a lot of work, so you might need to hire more people. Just use scheduling software to divide the work among members of the team. 

Also, you want to think about hiring a professional reputation management consultancy so they can ensure you leave the correct impressions on your target audience. An excellent example of a significant brand that created a new brand identity is Microsoft Office, which changed all its program icons to look more modern.

An excellent example of a significant brand that created a new brand identity is Microsoft Office, which changed all its program icons to look more modern.

Microsoft icons

Head of Microsoft Office design, Jon Friedman explained the thinking behind the redesigns. “From the get-go, we embraced Microsoft Office’s rich history and used it to inform design decisions. While each icon has a unique and identifiable symbol, there are connections within each app’s symbol and the collective suite.”

Craft a style guide 

You want to sustain that new branding, which means all company employees should be on the same page about what creative elements to use in marketing collateral. That’s why a style guide is essential.

A style guide sets the standards for a brand’s overall identity to ensure a consistent appearance in anything related to the brand. It references:

  • Grammar
  • Tone
  • Logo usage
  • Colors
  • Visuals
  • Point of view

The design team should sit with the marketing department to create the guide and make it accessible to everyone. 

So, how exactly does a style guide look? Here’s a small section of Spotify’s style guide:


Source: Spotify

Plan the launch

Let’s say you have everything ready. Congratulations! Now it’s time to plan the launch. You want to do as much as possible to help gain some viral brand momentum behind your initiative.

You need to ensure you have a targeted communication plan for each segment of your target audience. Without the plan, you won’t be able to get your new brand message across effectively. 

Plan all launch deliverables and specify a timeline. Don’t go it alone because it’s going to be a lot of work. Instead, assign people to specific tasks and give them a deadline. Make sure everyone has access to the work schedule, so you don’t have to micromanage.  

Final thoughts

Rebranding can be critical to your brand’s success. However, you need to do it for all the right reasons. Rebranding is, after all, a lot of work. It’s also a risk since you might end up losing customers who aren’t so keen on the change.

Once you do decide to implement a rebranding strategy, make sure you follow a process. Set your rebranding goals, research and identify your brand’s audience, and then change your company’s mission and vision.

Don’t forget to choose a new name and slogan, create a new brand identity, and craft a style guide. Then, finally, plan the launch.

Be strategic in rebranding, and you might just get it right the first time.

Rebranding FAQs

When should a company rebrand?

Consider rebranding when your landscape changes, your target demographic changes, your vision changes, or you are facing a reputational crisis.

What are the benefits of rebranding?

Rebranding can be an exciting undertaking that allows you the chance to uplift your image, boost reach, strengthen your market position and, hopefully, improve your bottom line.

What is a style guide?

A style guide enables your branding to remain consistent across departments and teams. It sets the standards for a brand’s overall identity to ensure a consistent appearance in anything related to the brand. It references grammar, tone, logo usage, colors, visuals, and point of view.

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