10 Questions to Ask Before Your Rebrand
There are two constants in business: change and rebrands.
Eventually, your company is going to need to rebrand itself. Whether it’s to strategically bolster a pivot in a new direction or to make sure your brand’s ID is relevant in an ever-changing landscape, you will have to update, refresh, or entirely reinvent your branding. On average, companies will rebrand themselves every 7 to 10 years; but with the emergence of new platforms like the metaverse, the upcoming rebrand cycle might be shorter for some organizations.
This task shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your brand is your identity, both to your customer and your employee. You want to make sure that your rebrand strategically gets you closer to your company’s goals, while not discarding what is working already for your brand. A great rebrand will excite your employees and attract new customers, while not alienating your existing fan base.
We tackle rebrands all the time, and we take a holistic approach to make sure that we create branding that gets companies closer to their goals. Here are the questions we ask at the beginning of the process to create a great rebrand.
1) What are my brand's core values?
This is the number one question on our list for a reason. This is the greater reason behind your company: the thing that gets you out of bed each morning and energized to tackle the challenges of the day. Customers are savvy, and they can spot a sales pitch from a mile away. More and more, consumers are demanding authenticity from companies. They don't only want a great product, but they want to buy it from a great company. One that works to make the world a better place and treats its employees with respect. If a company is only about squeezing out as much profit as possible, the lack of core values will end up damaging its brand in the long run.
2) Who is my customer / audience?
Branding is a form of storytelling. Every aspect of your brand, from your logo and color palette to your email signature, tells part of your brand's story. Rebrands are a chance to reevaluate and refine that story, and a huge part of storytelling is knowing your audience. If you were making a movie, the decisions you would make about your cast, your script, your director, and your cinematographer would vary drastically if your film was aimed at teens versus if your target audience was over 40. The same concept applies to your branding. Just because a certain style is trendy on social media right now with Gen Z doesn't mean that it will resonate with your B2B clients.
Do some research into who your customer base currently is. This will help you figure out the strategy and tone of your rebrand, plus it might highlight opportunities for growth.
3) What does my company help my customers achieve?
If the first question helps you define the greater purpose of your company, this question will help you define your mission. You should try to get as deep into this question as possible. For example, let's say your company provides a data management platform. You could say that your company helps your clients manage important data vital for running their business. In a very literal sense, this is correct and important to identify. But you should go deeper than that. What other things can your services do for your customers? If that data management platform is twice as efficient as other platforms, think about all of the possibilities that open up for your clients with the time saved. Could they double their business? Maybe your service turns a chore into something stress-free and automatic. Maybe that helps them think up the next big idea to get their business to the next level, or opens them up to enjoy more time at home because they aren't wasting hours fighting with their data management platform.
Instead of your mission just being to manage companies' data, it's to help entrepreneurs reach the next level of success or enjoy a better work-life balance. While the former is crucial to define specifically, the latter will help you find deeper meaning behind your mission. This deeper mission should be a natural extension of your company's values.
4) What does our brand mean to our employees?
Your customer is not the only audience for your branding story. Your employees are arguably an even more crucial recipient of your company's branding, mission, and values. As we've shown in our recent post "Reasons Why Company Culture Matters For Your Branding," work culture is as important, if not more important, than your company's external messaging. Your employees should be totally bought in on your company's mission and values. Part of your rebrand should focus on your internal messaging. Have a conversation with your employees about what the company means to them, and consider their input as you embark on the rebrand.
5) What is the strategy behind the rebrand?
What is the impetus behind tackling a rebrand? Are you launching a new product line? Do you want to attract a new audience? Do you need to stay relevant to the current landscape? Or all of the above?
Answering this question will help you define the goals of your rebrand. For our rebrand of Newsy, the new branding launched in tandem with the debut of a new live news broadcast. As they were expanding their product to a new platform, Newsy wanted to make sure their branding was attracting the right audience and differentiated from their competitors. This informed every aspect of the design and messaging, which was crafted to resonate with Newsy's target demographic while reinforcing their core values of honest journalism.
6) What are my competitors doing?
It’s vital to do a thorough analysis of your sector to see what your competitors are doing with their branding. You want to make sure that you are differentiated enough, but you also want to make sure you are not missing something that has become table stakes in your industry. Having an in-depth knowledge of your competitors' branding will make sure that you do not come off as a copycat or as lacking in some way.
7) What story am I telling with this rebrand?
Hopefully, by the time you've answered the previous questions, this question should be rather straightforward. As I said before, branding is storytelling. In Building a Storybrand, Donald Miller lays out that your customer is the hero of your story, not you. The story you are telling is how your company helps your customer/client accomplish great things. This story should authentically incorporate your core values and your mission.
Using our made-up data management company from earlier, their story could read as follows: "Business owners face the challenge of massive amounts of information slowing them down. Through engineering solutions obsessed with efficiency, our company gives business owners the tools to cut the time managing their data in half, so they can focus on how to take their business to the next level."
For more on how to define your brand's story, check out my post 6 Storytelling Strategies from a Screenwriter.
8) What is my brand's voice?
Your brand’s voice should authentically emerge from your brand’s story. Since you have defined your target audience, aka who you are talking to, you can make sure that all of your messaging strikes the right tone. Is your brand’s voice casual or authoritative? Polished or informal? Would it work if your brand tweeted out some of the latest slang, or is a more buttoned-up approach appropriate? There are no right answers here, just make sure you stay authentic to your brand as you craft your voice.
Otherwise, you run the risk of Buscemi-ing your brand.
9) What elements of my brand need a refresh?
Define each aspect of your brand that your rebrand will affect. Just because you are undergoing a rebrand doesn’t mean you need to overhaul everything. Some of the world’s top brands undergo rebrands and refreshes on a regular basis in a way that makes their evergreen elements stay relevant.
Here are a few elements to consider for refreshing during your rebrand.
- Color Palette
- Animations / Motion Graphics
- Audio Branding / Audio Logo
- Broadcast ID / Video Elements
- Lower Thirds
10) How will this rebrand scale?
From a tiny Instagram icon to 150-foot wide screens and giant billboards, your branding will exist across extreme mediums. You need to make sure that your rebrand will work consistently, no matter how big or small it needs to be. Part of this comes down to production: making sure that you get the assets created in a way that will serve all of your needs. The other part of this comes down to design. Something might look awesome on a giant screen, but it just doesn’t scale down well. A skilled designer will know how to create iconography that scales across platforms.
With the emergence of Web3 and the metaverse, it’s more important than ever to have forward-thinking, flexible design. Right now, the metaverse is a little bit like the Wild West, with different companies all vying to create the preeminent platform, and it’s anyone’s guess which ones will thrive. As a huge change is on the horizon, the best thing a brand can do is remain flexible. In the process of your next rebrand, consider what your brand ID will look like in a 3D virtual space.
If you are considering a rebrand and want some help, get in touch! We would love to chat with you to help you figure out the answers to all these questions and more.
And, here's a sampling of rebrands that we've had the great pleasure of working on over the years.
Buffalo Wind Wings OT
Topics: rebrand/refresh development