Five steps to a successful rebrand

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Every ambitious business reaches a point when it seriously considers rebranding to progress. The cause could be changing customer trends, loss of market share, an acquisition, poor PR to overcome, or simply outgrowing an existing identity.

But before rushing headlong into a full-scale rebrand, ask yourself a critical question. How far does the rebrand need to go to help you achieve your new goals?

Essentially, you have three choices:

Refine - If you're comfortable with your existing brand positioning this is the best option. It could just mean retouching the look and feel of your logo and other brand assets to make them more modern and appealing.

Refresh - A better choice if you need to realign your brand with shifts in customer perceptions. Review and reconsider your mission, values and brand identity to reconnect with all of your target audiences.

Reboot - A complete rebrand is sometimes required. For instance, your reputation may have been harmed by a PR disaster; or it could be a more positive move, such as reflecting the expertise of different component businesses following a merger.

So, whether the choice is to "evolve or revolve", how do you set about rebranding?

A roadmap for rebranding


We believe there are five stages to achieving a successful rebrand:

Stage 1: Discover

All great discoveries begin with adventurous exploration. Workshops, stakeholder interviews and desk research can help you to find your three Ps. Purpose, promise, and personality. This work is key to understanding your sector's challenges and how your brand compares to your rivals. The insights gleaned here allow you to set goals for business success.

Stage 2: Define

Using the discovery phase learnings, you can now let your values define your brand and its mission. This stage is crucial to lay down some truths about your brand purpose, personality, and the proposition for each distinct component of your unique offer.

Stage 3: Distil

Now brand positioning and visual identity take centre stage. With the discovery and define steps done and dusted, you'll have enough information to develop a strategic framework of creative themes, visual direction and voice for your brand. Tie it all together and present back to your team for feedback and input that can help refine the creative development.

Stage 4: Develop

With a preferred rebrand route selected, polish the work so it’s flawless. All aspects that make up your brand's new visual identity and personality are created at this stage. They'll be applied to a wide range of assets to ensure consistency and flexibility of approach, from the tone of voice and tagline, to creative theme and typography.

Stage 5: Deliver

Your brand has finally come to life. To release it into the world, you'll need a brand toolkit and a suite of brand assets for all settings. Typically, a toolkit includes on- and offline brand guidelines, image style guides, campaign and email themes, sales literature - and more.

Getting a measure of success


When you've poured substantial resource into your rebrand, it's only natural to consider how it performs. Measuring effectiveness isn't easy, but it can be done.

Success is calculated on a case-by-case basis, guided by metrics set at the start of the project. These usually include brand awareness and sales KPIs - all of which you'll hope to improve post-rebrand.

We regularly see several positive outcomes resulting from the process:

Customer understanding - Brand tracking research is part of rebrand strategy. It helps to identify the values of customers your business appeals to most. This is critical to secure new customers from previously unexplored targets. It's a win for your business, and a win for your satisfied customers.

Brand awareness - Strongly linked to customer perception, and represents how consumers remember your business. A rebranding initiative will give your company a new, powerful image; strengthening your purpose, voice, communications and market presence. All of this can be tested with customer research to assess how your rebrand has landed.

Rebranding in action


UK energy supplier Tili - now part of OVO - commissioned us to create a virtual assistant for the lettings market. Tili wanted to provide tenants with a one-stop shop to set up their utility suppliers.

Standout was key in a crowded sector. It was also important for the brand identity not to overpower the user experience, or partner identities.

Following extensive energy market research we established a “friendly home move assistant” brand personality and tone of voice. We made this part of the wider brand positioning: “Life organised.”

These elements showcased the sense of organisation and support customers could enjoy through Tili. The brand strategy contributed to huge engagement figures.

Once rolled out, an effective rebrand gives your business a competitive advantage. In turn, this may lead to enhanced customer loyalty, greater profits and increased market share. All in all, a rebrand could be the most profitable decision you will ever make.

By Katie Gaughan, Managing Director at 999 Design


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