The rebranding of a large and recognizable brand will always impact the market and provoke a wide range of emotional responses. People are eager to comment on the new logo or the cost of the process, and they often question the point of it all not knowing what brand transformation is.
The essence of rebranding
Let’s start from the beginning. Rebranding means simply refreshing a brand. The process keeps a brand valid and interesting to the recipients. However, the essence of brand transformation is often misunderstood. What then, is its role? What is the right time to initiate the process, and what must be done to achieve the desired result? Obviously, there is no single correct answer to this question.
People often think that a new logo is the same as rebranding. They could not be more wrong. Changing a logo or, broadly speaking, the corporate identity is just one aspect of rebranding, and may not always be the first priority. Furthermore, it must be emphasized that rebranding is a highly complex process capable of transforming all the components of a brand. This includes not just the visual aspect but also other issues, such as the type of products or services offered, the customer service quality, the customer experience, or a method of brand communication that will result in a better market or brand position. Changing the appearance of the logo is merely a facelift for one element of the corporate identity.
A basis for brand transformation
What are the most common reasons for changing the image of a brand? The logic behind the decision to rebrand can vary, but three factors contribute more than others.
1. Market changes
It is no secret that the world continues to change. The expectations and behaviors of consumers evolve, as do their attitudes to brands. Sociocultural transformations influence brands, and they must be able to keep up. The powerful eco-trend is a good example. In response to it, businesses from various industries increasingly choose to modify their brand communication strategies as well as their business strategies.
Our client, Shell, is leading the way forward by adopting a more sustainable strategy and an ambitious net-zero emissions target. Therefore, this influences the brand’s communication with its recipients, adding meaning, value, and relevance.
2. A change of perception
Our client, Shell, is leading the way forward by adopting a more sustainable strategy and an ambitious net-zero emissions target. This influences the brand’s communication with its recipients, adding meaning, value, and relevance. Just like people, brands often suffer the consequences of labels. Sometimes, businesses contribute to the critical opinions about themselves, despite offering excellent products and having the best intentions.
There may be plenty of reasons: improper communication, strategic mistakes, or a bad reputation. Labels often limit further growth. To remove them, a business may decide to refresh and implement strategic solutions supported by rebranding.
The actions of McDonald’s may serve as an example. When the critical documentary Super Size Me was released in 2004, the revenue of the restaurant chain dropped. In response, the company changed not only its menu but also its whole brand communication strategy.
3. M&A – combining of two entities
Another reason for rebranding may be a merger or acquisition – the combining of two entities. This requires the development of a new approach and a new image. A great example of such rebranding is Hitachi’s acquisition of Power Grids from ABB.
Admind supported both companies through that period. To find a compromise between the communication strategies of both brands, we created our own transition process – Smart Brand Migration.
Brand strategy is a must
Brand strategy is the foundation for the existence of any brand. We must note that rebranding is a very costly and risky process. It cannot be approached randomly and without a plan. First, it is vital to precisely identify where the need for the change comes from, and then how that change influences the current strategy. If you skip this stage and focus only on the characteristic graphic elements, your company may lose its brand recognition.
This is what happened to GAP – an example often brought up in this context. A few years ago, the brand presented a new logo, but it met substantial criticism on the part of consumers. Six days later, GAP decided to return to its original logo. The estimated cost of the failed rebranding was $100 million. What the company lacked was a well-planned rebranding process and answers to the questions behind the need for a change, which should have been prepared well in advance.
So, remember to always start rebranding by preparing the strategy. Consider investing in a professional trusted partner, such as a branding agency. Its role is not only to take care of the visual side of the process but also to develop the framework for the new communication and brand positioning strategy.