Small Business Guide to Rebranding Strategy

By Alexander Fakeri • November 3, 2020 •

Small Business Guide to Rebranding Strategy

By Alexander Fakeri • November 3, 2020 • News,

You might think that ‘rebranding’ is something only large corporations with big marketing budgets - and a significant amount of brand recognition already - can do. After all, if no one was familiar with your old look, website, and logo, how will changing them make a difference? 

Actually, that’s one of the biggest potential benefits of a solid rebranding strategy for a small business – creating something that makes you stand out from the competition, that shows you're moving with the times, and that reaches out to a new generation of potential customers. A good rebranding strategy reaches employees and starts your targeted change from within, so it has a greater impact when it reaches your customers.

Rebranding isn’t just something for big corporations. It can make sense, drive revenue, and even be essential for small businesses. And it doesn’t need to be costly either. Instead of a complete rebrand, small businesses can benefit from a less dramatic ‘brand refresh’ – especially if you're growing, or pivoting your offering to adapt to changing consumer needs.  

In this post, we’ll look at some of the advantages of a robust rebranding strategy, as well as some excellent rebranding examples to point you in the right direction.   

When Not to Rebrand

First, remember that rebranding always comes with a certain level of risk. Go too far, or in the wrong direction, and you can confuse and alienate your existing customers rather than appeal to new ones. 

You should never risk losing the brand recognition you already have just because rebranding seems like the ‘in’ thing to do. There should always be a solid and forward-looking strategy to why you're making changes.

Here are some of the cases where a rebrand is NOT the answer:

In the midst of a PR crisis

In the age of social media, brands large and small alike can find their mistakes or missteps amplified thousands of times over if they end up going viral. If you feel the perception of your brand has been tainted, starting over with a massive rebranding can be (understandably) tempting… but it’s a mistake. 

Those eyes that are all now firmly pointed in your direction will see this move for what it is – an attempt to distract from your mistakes and sweep them under the carpet. Rather, you need to show your target audience that you’ve heard them, that you acknowledge you were wrong, and that you're doing something about it. You’ll be surprised how forgiving the public can be when you do. Distracting them with a flashy new logo can do more harm than good. 

Because everyone else is doing it

In many ways, this is actually a good reason to stay the same – you’ll be the only brand not confusing their existing client base! A rebrand for its own sake rarely works and ends up being money wasted. Rather look into ways you can create better value for your customers, engage with them more, or associate your brand with good causes.

Consider a Rebrand Strategy If…

There’s been a significant change to the business 

If you’ve merged with another company, entered a whole new business category, or are releasing an entirely new type of product, a good rebranding strategy can rocket launch your efforts. In these instances, you’ve likely outgrown your existing branding and logo, and it’s time for something fresh.  

You're going after a whole new target market

If you designed your look to appeal to middle-aged homeowners, but you're now targeting younger adults who are still renting, it’s time to shake things up. Whether it’s a complete rebrand or a simple refresh, you need to make sure your styling is welcoming and appealing to your ideal customers.  

Your existing brand imagery is outdated or insensitive

If you're concerned about not being in touch with an evolving customer base, rebranding can help you demonstrate you're willing to move with the times and adapt to shifting cultural expectations. Recently, we’ve seen countless examples of this from environmental issues to diversity. Of course, you need to walk the talk too – rebranding extends to what your company stands for, not just what it looks like.  

Rebranding in action

How does this all play out in practice? One of the central components of a rebrand is changing up the existing company logo. Below we’ll look at a range of rebranding examples, from minor tweaks to bring the business up to date with the times, to major logo overhauls that show the business is going in a whole new direction.  Let's look at a few new logo designs as part of a complete rebrand strategy.

Rebranding Example 1: Fisher Price  - Simple logo refresh and modernization

Fisher-Price has been producing educational children’s toys since 1930 – meaning they’re well on their way to 100 years in business. Because they’re such a well-known brand and have such a long history, a major overhaul of their logo wouldn’t make sense. Remember, some of their newest customers would have played with their toys when they were kids. 

Trust and pedigree mean a lot for a business geared towards children, so their latest logo change was suitably subtle:   

This logo change was accompanied by a new company slogan: “Let’s be kids”, which echoes the less formal, more playful font of the new design. And by keeping the color palette similar to the original, they’re freshening their image while keeping it familiar and recognizable. 

Rebranding Example 2: BP – Complete brand overhaul

If there’s one industry struggling with public perception these days, it’s oil and gas. As public disapproval of the use of fossil fuels mounts, there’s growing pressure on these companies to make their business models more sustainable and environmentally friendly. 

One brand that’s done this pretty well is BP (formerly British Petroleum, now Beyond Petroleum). Their sunflower-inspired logo reflects their commitment to transforming from an old-school oil company into a clean green energy business based mainly on solar power. And they’re backing up this rebranding by putting their money where their mouth is, buying up solar farms worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  

Rebranding Example 3: Nike – keeping it simple

For fashion brands, staying fresh and on-trend is essential. Do this really well, and your customers don’t even need to see your company’s name to know who you are.

Nike has become so synonymous with their famous ‘swoosh’ that they’ve been able to simplify their logo down to nothing but this symbol. To their loyal fans, this comes with a certain amount of prestige and pride.

For smaller businesses, this is a good example of how carrying one simple element from your original logo and style guide through to newer versions helps modernize your look while keeping it recognizable.

Ready to Rebrand?

Here’s what you need to consider:

Why? What are you hoping to accomplish with the rebrand? 

What? Remember that your brand image isn’t limited just to your logo, fonts, and colors. You should also consider your tone (what kind of language your target audience will best respond to) and vocabulary – both to use and to avoid.

How? For a rebrand to be successful, you need to get every member of your staff and marketing team on board. Make sure to get a comprehensive style guide from your marketing agency partner to review with them, so everyone knows how to properly represent the brand.

Whether you're trying to change the way your brand is perceived, tap into new markets, or showcase your company’s values, MOJO can help you get there! Let's talk.

Reach out to us today for a tailormade rebranding strategy that will elevate YOUR brand.

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