To rebrand or not to rebrand? Whether you have a relatively new brand or you’re dealing with a trusty old brand with plenty of history, the question has probably come up at some point in your journey. And for good reason: rebranding can be a powerful part of a totally fresh brand strategy and solid digital marketing. But a rebrand shouldn’t be taken lightly; it’s much more than a new logo or color scheme. It’s a whole new marketing strategy. How do you know if it’s actually time? There are a handful of indicators that a rebrand may be your best strategy.

1. Your brand is out of date.

This one takes awareness. Start with research on your competitive landscape. Take a close look at other brands’ logos, websites, and brand voices. How are others using branding strategy to convey their value propositions? How do brands’ typefaces, logos, and other visual elements give a clear feel for the brand identity? Don’t limit this analysis just to your industry, either—some of the most successful rebrands pull inspiration from way outside. Once you have an idea for what other brands are doing, get insights on current design trends [how?]

Then, take an honest look at your brand. What does your logo say to your customer? Does it seem outdated? If so, rebranding is likely smart strategy.

2. You’re looking for new customers/trying to attract a totally new audience.

Want to expand your brand’s target audience? If you’re looking to attract new customers outside of your current brand’s base, rebranding can be a valuable strategy. Say you’re a luxury legacy fragrance brand looking to break into Gen Z: perhaps a slightly less formal, less old-school vibe is in order? Can you freshen up the logo? Make the brand voice feel a little more laid back?

But hold your horses—this one can be difficult to execute while maintaining brand loyalty—you don’t want to alienate existing customers with your rebrand. It’s all about balance here; figuring out the brand elements that will attract new customers while still ringing true to existing customers for the sake of brand consistency.*

*How do you do this? With heat-testing, of course.

3. Your space feels crowded and your brand needs differentiation.

Perhaps when your brand started out, it was a big fish in a small pond. Has the pond gotten crowded since then? This is another instance when competitive landscape research can reveal a lot about your best brand strategy and indicate whether rebranding is the right move. Does your logo set you apart from the competition? How is your prospective customer supposed to remember your brand if it looks and feels just like all the others? Differentiation is key for brand awareness and solid strategy—make sure you’re not suffering from sameness. (And if you are, know that rebranding is your way out).

4. A new product, line, or service has changed your brand identity.

That wildly successful new product launch your brand recently executed? Yep, it could be an impetus for a rebrand. Time to check in. Is your existing brand’s primary value proposition and product offering the same as the last time you rebranded? Chances are, if you’ve had a revolutionary launch of a truly innovative product, your brand identity and strategy has shifted. Say you’re an appliance maintenance brand, and you’ve just expanded your offering: while you started out servicing just kitchen appliances, you now service washers, dryers, furnaces, and water heaters—and this extension has been hugely popular. Think about brand image—that logo with a fridge and faucet? The strategy and brand voice with a mission statement all about ‘the kitchen being the heart of your home’? Yep, they’re primed for rebranding.

A bit on strategy.

If you’ve decided it’s rebranding time, think first about strategy. What are your overall goals for the rebrand? How do these new brand goals differ from those of your existing brand? What is your strategy for maintaining brand recognition and brand equity? How will your brand refresh fit into your other initiatives? How will you time your rebranding? Will all branding be overhauled at once, or will you ease into it? How will you announce and explain your rebrand to existing customers? What parts of branding will be most time-consuming? Most resource-consuming? 

When developing a rebranding strategy, asking these questions ahead of time can save you a lot of time, money, and energy in making sure your new brand succeeds.

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