Successful Rebranding: Campaign Examples & PR Tips
Brand identity is one of the most important aspects of a business. A good brand is easily recognizable and stands out in the marketplace. However, there comes a time when your current branding no longer works for your business…
And here comes rebranding, a marketing strategy that creates a new identity for an existing entity in the eyes of its stakeholders, such as its customers, investors, competitors, employees, and everyone else who cares about it.
There are countless reasons why you might consider partial or total rebranding. Your company might want to expand its business internationally or into another industry that looks promising. It might also be a part of a merger, acquisition, or demerger.
Alternatively, after years of working in one industry, your experience and data might have shown you that to succeed, you have to switch up your branding and communication styles. As a result, you decide to start from scratch by choosing a new brand name, logo, slogan, and concept for your company.
Whatever the reason, reinventing a business’ identity might appear like an intimidating journey, but it does not have to be. Here are six PR tips to help you communicate a rebrand, with a few examples of successful rebranding campaigns.
How to communicate a rebrand
Treat rebranding as a process, not an event
People’s perceptions of a business do not change overnight. Rebranding does not simply happen by redesigning your website and updating your social media accounts with your new visual brand identifiers.
It is not a one-time event, but a process that involves detailed research, meticulous planning, and deliberate introduction of your business’ new vision, mission, values, logos, brand colors, and messages.
The rebranding of Airbnb back in 2013 is a great example of this. Airbnb’s initial brand identity was established in a hurry, and the company was not distinguishable from its competitors despite having a unique brand story. Airbnb’s rebrand was preceded by thorough research conducted together with a London-based agency, which resulted in new brand colors, an easily recognizable logo, and inclusive messaging.
The point of Airbnb’s rebranding was not to completely change the identity of its business. The entire process slowly introduced guests, hosts, and other stakeholders to the updated brand visuals and business values and built familiarity through relatable rhetoric that sought to solve travelers’ issues with the accommodation.
A good tactic to ensure such a smooth rebranding process is using a detailed PR plan in place. The template can help you keep track of your rebranding marketing activities and help you formulate SMART goals that will keep you focused on your desired outcomes.
Monitor mentions and personalize your messages
You should always stay on top of conversations about your business on all channels, including traditional, broadcast, online, and social media. Effective media monitoring is necessary during the rebranding process because it can show you how people are reacting to your rebranding efforts and can help you quickly identify mentions that might need addressing. Once you identify the target audience, it will be easier for you to formulate responses and create new brand messages that speak directly to them.
This is exactly how video production house Foszer Sawicki utilized Brand24 during its rebranding. They monitored all publicly available mentions of their old name, Mumin’s Interactive, and their new name, Foszer Sawicki. By doing so, the company was able to learn how people felt towards its new identity, and whether they understood why the company had decided to rebrand.
Besides just tracking how your target audiences’ attitudes change over time, you should also have a good customer relationship management (CRM) system in place that can further help you manage your relationships with leads and existing customers. Combining good media monitoring and CRM practices can help you personalize the communication with your stakeholders and ensure that people welcome your rebranded identity.
Make sure your employees feel involved
During a rebranding process, businesses can make the mistake of focusing too much on the opinions of their external stakeholders that they neglect their internal stakeholders. Brand loyalty should start from within the company. Part of your branding strategy should focus on getting your employees on board with the rebrand.
1. Send out exclusive updates – if you do not have an internal digital bulletin board, you can always send out emails in the form of newsletters. The main idea is to make employees feel that they are up-to-date with the changes happening in their company.
2. Organize a meeting or a call – involve your C-Suite or managerial staff and have them directly explain to the employees how the rebranding will help the company and, consequently, benefit them. Online meetings are a great way to inform employees of ongoing changes and explain the creative process and logic behind the rebranding.
3. Create feedback points – your employees should also feel heard. You can create surveys and polls to get their feedback on the rebranding. One way to show them that you value their opinion is to implement some of their ideas and openly credit them.
However, be mindful of how much workload you are dumping on your employees during a rebrand. More often than not, employees who participate in the rebranding also work on their ongoing projects. You do not want them to burn out.
Take care of all your touchpoints
Touchpoints are any points of contact or interaction between your business and the public. That includes your company website, press page, emails, social media accounts, media kits, newsletters, business cards, promotional materials, offices, etc.
✓ Distribute your brand style guide – start by sharing your updated brand style guide with your employees and partners or collaborators. The guide should contain all information about your new business name (if it changes), logo, colors, fonts, etc.
What is brand identity?
Brand identity is the brand’s visible elements, including color, design, and a brand’s logo. It’s how a corporation, company, or business presents itself to the public and distinguishes the business in consumers’ minds. It’s what you, customers, and prospective customers can see.
Rebranding can be complicated and does introduce some risks and costs. Although rebranding doesn’t need to involve a complete brand overhaul (you don’t have to change your company name to rebrand, for example), you will need to make meaningful changes to build a new brand identity when you rebrand.
So assess carefully whether a rebrand is right for you and whether this is the right time to rebrand your business. The right rebranding strategy can put new energy into your business, but it needs to complement your overall business strategy and marketing strategy.
Companies should rebrand to differentiate themselves from competitors better
Generic branding is a problem because it leaves businesses competing against many others with similar sounding names and nearly identical logo designs. Brand recognition is difficult when many brands look the same.
It’s impossible to build brand loyalty if your customers and prospective customers can’t differentiate your brand from your competitors, especially if your product offerings are identical or similar.
Rebranding, following a smart rebranding strategy, can provide your business an opportunity to stand out from your competition by showcasing to your target audience the things that make your company different and better. Rebranding lets you tell a stronger brand story.
When should you rename your business?
While we strongly advise against changing your business name just because you’re in the mood for something new, there are times when it’s in your business’s best interest to take the plunge. Here are four reasons to consider renaming your business and 7 tips to help you pull it off successfully.
Companies should rebrand to give new life to outdated branding
Maybe your business has been around for a long time. If so, your 90s color palette may be dragging your brand down and making your business look outdated. And, maybe your branding isn’t a good fit with your modern company culture.
Modernizing your brand image is an important step to turning your business around and accelerating growth. Every day that you continue to operate with an outdated brand identity sets you further behind your competitors.
When your branding no longer fits your brand, you need to develop a new strategy to evolve your brand. In fact, if this is the reason you’re rebranding, you’ll want to consider a complete brand overhaul and create a new, modern brand identity.
Companies should rebrand when they outgrow their original mission
Maybe your business started off selling personalized t-shirts, but now you want to expand your market share and product offerings to add customized coffee mugs and other product offerings. If your branding and brand strategy revolves around t-shirts, your target audience probably won’t know that they can look to you for mugs, too. That creates an identity crisis that you can easily solve.
Companies should rebrand to outgrow their poor reputation
We recently wrote about Uber’s successful rebranding efforts. Uber faced widespread backlash from their target audience about their toxic company culture and how they treated their drivers. It started conceding market share to Lyft, its main competitor.
Uber’s complete brand overhaul was necessary to break ties with its bad reputation, overcome an identity crisis, and visibly demonstrate a commitment to a new, improved culture. Uber’s new brand story focused on how its culture changed and its renewed focus on drivers and passengers.
If your business struggles to overcome a negative reputation, a rebrand can help consumers see you in a fresh new light and regrow brand loyalty. In this case, brand recognition might not be decreasing, but the rebrand would turn negative brand recognition into neutral or positive brand recognition.
But don’t assume that you can simply change your company name, and your brand strategy will be complete. Rebranding involves much more than just changing the name of a company. Rebranding requires you to take a fresh look at your overall business strategy.
Companies should rebrand when their business evolves
Other reasons companies should consider rebranding
- Mergers and acquisitions. When two companies merge, they must decide whether to operate the brands separately or join them. If they want to combine the brands, they can decide to operate under an existing brand identity or create a combined new brand identity to build trust, develop new brand recognition, and prevent confusion. Sometimes, a partial rebrand is good enough.
- Market repositioning. If you reposition your business to go after a different market segment because you’ve changed pricing, the quality of your products, your product offerings, or your target audience, you will need to consider a rebrand to gain market share. Market repositioning is a common reason to rebrand because your old marketing materials and visual design will be useless or much less effective if you reposition your brand.
- New markets or locations. If you’re expanding to new geographic markets, and especially international markets, you will need to consider whether your brand is a good fit for those new markets. Sometimes, you’ll need to create a new business name and a new logo to sell products or services in new markets.
- New mission or vision for your business. If your mission, vision, or values have changed, you’ll need to reevaluate your branding and modify it accordingly.
- Overcome a public relations crisis. Although this is rarely a good idea, a rebrand can help you overcome a public relations identity crisis that tarnished your existing brand and diminished your market share. Comcast did this when they created the Xfinity brand to overcome an identity crisis with its original brand. Uber recently did this to overcome a ton of bad publicity relating to its management operated the business. When rebranding to overcome a public relations crisis, a partial rebrand is rarely enough.
How to rebrand a company
1. Start by understanding your mission, vision, and values
2. Have a complete rebranding strategy that works with your existing branding
If you’re doing a partial rebrand, make sure to take the existing brand assets into account as you build your brand strategy. You want a rebrand that lives holistically with what already exists.
A consistent brand helps increase the overall value of your company by reinforcing your position in the marketplace, attracting better quality customers with higher retention rates and raising the perceived value of your products or services….In contrast, erratic, inconsistent behavior quickly leads to confusion and mistrust.
3. Consider your brand’s audience, the market, and your competition
It’s too easy to make a mistake during the rebranding process and lose market share when you make mistakes in your rebranding strategy. Rebranding and brand recognition are part art and part science.
Want to avoid a rebranding failure?
4. Collaborate with your team
It’s easier to rally your company behind a rebrand that was a true “team effort.” Give your employees a say. They will be the faces and voices that represent your brand to your customers.
5. Rename your business during a rebrand
- Trademark issues. Occasionally more than one company has the same name. Or, the names are so similar that they may as well be the same. When this occurs, there’s a good chance that one of those companies will get a cease-and-desist letter requesting that they stop using that name. And, it’s no wonder why – your business stands to lose a lot of money if someone else operates under the same name as yours. You are at a big disadvantage if another business with your name is caught up in a scandal. The resulting reputation blow will affect your business as well! In such cases, a name change will solve the problem.
- Your Business name no longer reflects your business. Businesses grow and change over time. Some business names are adaptable enough to survive this growth. Others are not. If your business has outgrown its name, it may be time to think about a name change.
- Your business name is not unique. Your business name needs to stand out. Generic names like “Publishing Services” or “Professional Tax Accountants” don’t help differentiate you from the competition. And they certainly aren’t memorable. So, even if you deliver fantastic service, well-meaning customers may get your name wrong when asked for referrals. Or they may not remember it at all. Your word-of-mouth marketing will suffer. And so will your web marketing.
- Your business name is confusing or hard to spell. If your business name is confusing or hard to spell, customers may not find you. It’s that simple. A business name that doesn’t make sense and confuses consumers won’t be remembered.
How to rename your business
A name change requires a lot of thought and work. Not just on your part, but for your customers, too. They’ve gotten to know your old brand, and now they’re being asked to unlearn all of that and start over.
Start with your brand
Your business name should be an extension and representation of your brand essence. It should embody the public identity you want your business to present. So, start by thinking about your brand.
Make sure the new business name is easy to pronounce and spell
Don’t make it harder to find you with an unpronounceable name or a name even Rhodes Scholars can’t spell. As in all aspects of your business, make your name easy for your customers. Otherwise, brand recognition will suffer.
Avoid business names that are too narrow and too wide
Don’t forget to differentiate with your business name
Get your logistical ducks in a row
Here’s a quick list of logistical chores you’ll need to complete to ensure that you can legally operate under your new business name and protect that business name from competitors.
A tagline is supposed to communicate to your customers and potential customers what sets you apart from your competition and your brand’s focus. A business tagline is an important part of your company’s brand identity and helps you leverage marketing psychology to help people fall in love with your unique brand.
How to create a great business tagline
Need help crafting the perfect business tagline? Here’s a look at the most influential and popular taglines from the past 50 years, plus 10 tips to help you craft a great tagline for your business or organization.
6. Rebuild your brand identity
Sometimes, this is appropriate. But a good brand strategy needs to fully assess the brand and decide whether those brand elements should be kept, tweaked, or discarded for stronger brand elements.
What are the main objectives of a rebranding project?
FP: Your objectives will be specific to your business and your approach, but in most cases, rebranding serves to bring the brand back in line with your target audience and market. The purpose of a rebrand is usually to evolve and align a company’s branding with its business and recruitment objectives.
In most cases, the key elements of a rebranding project are a new visual identity and messaging. The slogan or baseline will officially support your new positioning. It should be short and international in scope.
Your visual identity should get the DNA of your company across in just a few seconds. Your logo should be memorable and match your style guide which covers typography, color palettes, illustrations, icons, and visuals.
How can you monitor the performance of a rebrand?
FP: It’s essential to combine qualitative and quantitative metrics. You can monitor quantitative metrics through the new traffic and interactions on your site, your social networks, and your analytics tools. I’d also suggest AB testing some versions in order to launch the best-performing one.
FP: Depending on the age of your brand, your employees and customers might be very attached to it. It’s up to you to explain the purpose of the rebrand to make sure it’s well-received. It’s not always easy to get everyone to agree, but remember that an internal point of view is always biased and that external opinions provide an objective reflection of your brand.
On the technical side, don’t define your strategy without involving your design and technical teams. They’ll have to ensure the end-to-end execution of your design, campaign elements, and your site, and they need sufficient time to work on it. Trust them in the planning and enlist a project manager to make sure deadlines are met at each step so your delivery isn’t jeopardized.
What is rebranding?
Rebranding is a market strategy that involves updating or completely changing the image of a company; the corporate image, messaging, name, logo, positioning, and/or design of an already-established brand.
Why is rebranding important?
Proactive vs reactive rebranding
Proactive rebranding is a strategic decision, usually taking place when a company realizes there’s a good opportunity to grow or connect with new audiences. Reactive rebranding is usually in response to a big event such as mergers and acquisitions, legal issues, and so on.