Rebranding is often thought of as a sale-driving or marketing objective. But it’s so much more than that. Branding is communication, and communication is about people, as Gap discovered when it launched its new brand (before almost immediately returning to its old one).

Rebrand inside out

Creating a new logo and visual identity can attract attention and create interest but unless you have a clear reason why you’re rebranding, your brand won’t feel authentic or cohesive.

For example, when someone around you changes abruptly without telling you why – it feels jarring, and can build distrust: “I thought I knew this brand! Now I’m not sure”.

A new name alone is definitely not going to help Facebook fix its reputation issues, for example, but if your purpose hasn’t changed, then sticking with your same logo (with minor tweaks) and updating your surrounding collateral makes most sense. A fresh execution of your visual elements is like buying a new set of clothing.

Provided it fits within your brand archetype, it will help bring life into a tired brand without making it feel like your identity came out of a marketing meeting.

Don’t create a caricature of a brand – be authentic

Part of rebranding is revisiting key messages, tag lines, an elevator pitch and core brand messaging. There can be the temptation to use buzzwords in an attempt to emphasise your relevance or show off your knowledge. But to the audience, the real meaning is masked and hidden, making your brand feel like a fake and exaggerated caricature of a real brand.

‘Bleeding-edge innovation that shifts paradigms to a new level’ might sound impressive on paper – but it’s not how real people speak and it’s not authentic communication. Speaking it out loud is sometimes the best solution for this; how would you (or even better, your brand persona) communicate the important bits of what you do to your audience? When your messaging is concise and to the point, it makes a brand relatable and real.

Don’t imitate – know who you are

It’s perfectly fine to look to other brands for inspiration, but it’s crucial to stay true to your business’ audience and objectives. Rebranding is no different, and when done authentically, can help rather than hinder your business.

Originally posted on The 268.

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