What is business rebranding and why is it important?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Rebranding is the process by which an already established company undergoes a complete image transformation. This can be the changing of a logo, a slogan, its core values and more. If you're interested in marketing and related fields, understanding a rebrand and how it works can be very useful. In this article, we discuss what a rebrand is, what the main reasons for it are, its main advantages and show some real-life examples of rebranding in practice.

What does rebranding mean for companies?

Rebranding is the practice of completely transforming the image of a brand. Companies mainly do this either by changing a brand's name, their mission, their slogan, packaging or logo. The term ‘rebranding' can apply to any one of these, or it can be more significant and apply to them all. It varies according to the company and what it's trying to achieve.

There are two main types of rebrand. There's proactive branding, which refers to when a company changes their image to react to social change. There's also reactive rebranding, which is when a company changes due to an event. In the latter case, this can be something like negative publicity or a sudden change in public perception.

Related: What is my personal brand? With 10 personal branding tips

What are the main reasons for a company rebranding?

There are many reasons why a company rebrands itself, and some examples include the following:

Connecting with consumers

One of the most common reasons for a company to decide that it's time to rebrand is because they no longer connect with their target demographic. This is particularly the case if a company has been around for a long time. This is an example of proactive branding because a company usually takes note of social trends and incorporates them into its transformation so that it can better connect with consumers. In these cases, a company often undergoes a much more radical rebrand. By appearing to remain more relevant, the company can connect with consumers and potentially increase sales.

Related: How to become a brand strategist (with steps and duties)

New direction

Another reason why a company may wish to rebrand is that it has a new vision or new direction that it wants to take. Often, this can be incompatible with the way that consumers viewed a company prior to the rebrand. One of the most common triggers for this is where an owner sells their company or hires a new CEO. It can take place due to character preference, or it could be an attempt to stay relevant in the changing market.

New competition

It's very important for a brand to differentiate itself from competitors. This is even more important and somewhat challenging when competitors sell quite similar products, at which point branding can be the deciding factor for a consumer choosing between the two. If competitors start producing very similar products, then a company may choose to rebrand to differentiate itself, as this can be less costly than changing entire product lines that are already successful. This can help to ensure customer loyalty by making branding decisions that appeal to targeted consumers.

Technological change

As technology advances, it results in many companies deciding to adapt their practices, including with their marketing and publicity image. This could be a reason for a rebrand. For instance, technological change is often seen as an indicator of progress, and companies may wish to allude to this in their branding to demonstrate that they're not outdated. This is often more necessary for companies that don't sell technological products, as those that do would probably change their products rather than rebrand when advances happen.

Market changes

Another reason for a proactive rebrand is where there are significant market changes. These are shifts in public expectations and demand. For instance, the fashion market might change and new styles become popular, or consumers might become more interested in companies that are sustainable. Even if a company meets these demands, it can be just as important to communicate this through branding, which is why a rebrand can be effective. This is another way that the brand can demonstrate that it isn't outdated.

Related: All about Generation Z

Controversy

Sometimes, a company might encounter some controversy due to inadvertent events. These might be damaging for the brand's image, and a rebrand might be necessary to overcome this. In this case, the rebrand can have two purposes. The first is to seek media attention, which can decrease negative coverage regarding the controversy in question. Additionally, once the controversy becomes well-known, consumers might associate it with the brand, which is why a rebrand can allow the company to distance itself from past mistakes.

What are the advantages of a company rebranding?

There are a few major advantages to undergoing the process of a rebrand, including:

  • Staying relevant: A rebrand can help companies stay relevant in a changing market. This can be to get news coverage due to the rebrand or simply to adopt new trends to appeal to consumers.

  • Customer loyalty: Changing a brand's image can help to access new audiences and create a base of repeat customers. If a rebrand makes the brand more distinctive and desirable, consumers are more likely to choose it and make repeat purchases.

  • A new image: A rebrand can give companies that have encountered controversy the opportunity to distance themselves from past events.

  • More sales: When media and public attention focus on a brand for positive reasons like a successful rebrand, this can lead to an increase in sales.

Examples of companies rebranding

To better understand a rebrand, it can help to look at some real-life examples. Below are a few examples of real companies that rebranded successfully that can help demonstrate how this can be effective:

Burberry

Burberry underwent a rebrand that focussed more on its history and values, allowing its signature plaid print and trench coats into icons that are often immediately associated with the brand. The brand also looked at popular trends and hired noteworthy celebrities such as Kate Moss to model its clothes. Burberry has also engaged with modern online media channels, working with virtual fashion shows, social media and live streaming. This is an example of proactive rebranding that a company pursued in reaction to changing market trends and possibly technological advancements related to online media.

Old Spice

Before undergoing a rebrand, Old Spice was an established brand in the perfume industry. To increase public attention and appeal to consumers' sense of humour, the company engaged famous individuals like Isaiah Amir Mustafa and Terry Crews to produce funny television adverts for the brand's scents. These quirky advertisements become well-known and synonymous with the brand, as did the individuals that performed in them.

Lego

Lego is a brand that sells physical toys for building things and was generally targeting children. Once video games started to become popular, Lego decided that technological changes necessitated some proactive rebranding. The company partnered with media companies like Lucasfilm and Warner Bros. Together, they developed movies and video games based on popular franchises that represented famous characters as Lego figures.

Tips for rebranding different companies

A rebrand can be a challenging thing to organise properly, as the company wants the new branding to be appealing. This can be problematic as many consumers may have developed a loyalty to the old brand. A successful rebrand allows a company to retain past customer loyalty while also expanding its consumer base. Below are some tips for successful rebranding that can help to achieve this:

Redefine brand values

It can be more significant for consumers if a company rebrand accompanies a change in its values. A company typically does this to demonstrate that it embraces current social trends and concerns, such as sustainability. This can often involve lots of research into what target consumers are most concerned about or interested in. As long as the brand effectively communicates the right values, it can retain old customers while also appealing to new ones.

Related: 10 types of core values (plus ways to identify your own)

Do it infrequently

While a rebrand can be very beneficial for a company, it's important to only do it when other means are insufficient. If a company rebrands too frequently, this can actually decrease customer loyalty as the brand isn't in existence long enough for consumers to develop positive associations with it. This is more important for major rebranding projects, especially when fundamental aspects of a brand like its logo change. Smaller things like minor changes to the logo, alterations to mission and vision, and adopting new marketing channels can be more frequent without alienating loyal customers.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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