8 Signs Your Business Needs Rebranding or Brand Refresh

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Everything Design is a branding agency based out of Bangalore. With our experience in helping multiple businesses build a brand and rebrand effectively, we understand the power of branding. Rebranding when done at the right time, with the right strategy can help your brand grow.

Branding goes way beyond your company logo and visual elements. A strong brand stems from brand strategy and storytelling. A clear and compelling brand story gives products context and narrative, which can help increase their desirability. When a brand sells products, it’s selling a story. When consumers buy products, they are buying into this story. 

When your brand is rooted in a strong purpose, it resonates with the right audience and every aspect associated with your brand just seems aligned. When you start seeing a lag or a gap between your brand and its association – when your brand fails to reflect its true essence, that’s when you need to consider shaking things up for a strategic rebranding.

Let’s start by understanding what rebranding means.

What is rebranding?

Rebranding is the act of changing a brand’s structural components to reiterate, reinvent and reimagine the current brand association and allow new brand perceptions to form.

Rebranding is often referred to as changing the corporate image of the brand. It is about changing the way your brand looks, feels, works and communicates out in the market.

Rebranding is not only limited to a change in your brand name, logo or other visual elements alone. It is of a greater magnitude where your brand undergoes a complete makeover, inside-out.

All the visual, written and audio elements associated with your brand form your brand identity. Redesigning your logo, packaging, typography, website or any such individual element is not rebranding. Whereas a fundamental change in the structural framework of the brand which links the brand identity together is called rebranding.

A change in brand vision, brand name or logo redesign is typically considered a rebranding because of the magnitude of the effect they hold. As such a change will call for the need to change everything associated with your brand; packaging, website, legal documents, etc.

Why to rebrand?

A rebrand can help your brand get a fresh look and feel. It enables to change the existing brand perception to a new, relevant one. It can realign your brand mission with the market dynamics and the target audience which are subject to changes over time.

Your brand may not be functioning with the same vision it had when starting out. Your competitors and market would have changed and so would your target audience’s likes and preferences.

Rebranding, at its core, is a ‘corrective exercise’. It aims to solve a problem. One of the main reasons for rebranding lies in its ability to change public perception. There are several examples of brands falling back to rebranding in response to the public relations crisis. A rebrand is a major undertaking, involving your marketing, web presence, client list, employees and mission. The rebranding process is more likely to succeed if you have compelling reasons for the change.

Don’t commit to a rebrand without clear, strategic, customer-centered reasons. And once you rebrand, make sure customers know exactly what those reasons are if you want to maintain customer loyalty.

Rebranding vs Brand refresh

One of the most commonly confused terms are rebrand and refresh.

Whether an exercise is a rebrand or a refresh comes down to the magnitude of change undertaken.

The magnitude of change depends on the equity that each brand element holds in the market. Getting a new logo, a new typeface, and a color palette does not count as rebranding if you haven’t changed anything beyond aesthetics. Rebranding is about getting to the core (the foundation) of your brand.

Getting a new logo and visual identity is just a brand refresh– which is great for companies for several reasons. Time and your customers are constantly moving and if you don’t move with them, you fall behind. Branding and design from just a few years ago is already starting to look outdated.

A brand refresh doesn’t always involve completely redesigning the logo altogether—although sometimes it does. Think of a brand refresh as more of a facelift, leveraging existing brand equity while expanding the look, feel and messaging with fresh treatments and positioning.  Sometimes a brand update doesn’t even involve changing the logo; it may just involve looking for ways to explore new type treatments, color palette expansion, photography styles, messaging and other brand elements.

Brand refresh examples

Pentagram has designed a new brand identity for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars —acknowledging the marque’s extraordinary heritage while effortlessly carrying its unique presence into the future.

India post also did a brand refresh to give it a modern tag. “Government offices in India are seen as old, rigid and lethargic. The perceptions about India Post were no different. The department needed to shed this tag and the initiative came from the Department of Posts itself. It was aimed at bringing the 154 year old organisation to a level where it can compete with companies that carry a modern tag.”

Make sure that any brand refresh you undertake is one that builds-on and consolidates your existing strengths. A refresh should project the image that the company is still very much the one it was beforehand, just better.

Compared to a brand refresh, a rebrand is a complete repositioning of your company. It is a fundamental reboot for companies struggling with the systemic issues that accompany substantial growth, a business model shift, or an unmitigable PR disaster. With a rebrand, you are abandoning what your brand was for the sake of what it can be.

Although subtle to differentiate, the bottom line is –

📢 When you are rebranding, you are building on the brand you already have from ground zero. You might be selling the same product or service but you make evident changes to your business to align and reflect your goals with the market dynamics. It is a holistic and purpose-driven exercise. It is about gradually and continually making a shift to your values and promises and committing to honour them.

On the other hand, when you carry out a brand refresh, it’s often to rejuvenate your brand identity relative to your competitors.

How to know when to rebrand?

Companies rebrand themselves for different reasons:

  • when companies merge
  • when the mission or vision changes
  • when they need to communicate better who they our
  • when they need to appeal to new markets
  • when they find out that they lack visual consistency
  • when the identity does not position them shoulder to shoulder with competitores
  • when they grow and expand they realize the need for change to welcome new opportunities

or there might be many other different reasons to start rebranding process.

Rebrands are complicated and carry big risks.

Rebranding is about change and when your company is undergoing any kind of change, rebranding becomes a plausible consideration.

Although rebranding is a time-consuming and expensive affair, it’s crucial for brands to reiterate, re-align, and reinvent the brand message and promises to the customers. In today’s dynamic world, rebranding can help establish new thoughts, values and boundaries clearly, change and identify a new target audience who resonates with you.

However, rebranding is a complex exercise and should be strategically planned. It should not be rushed or even initiated if not necessary. An unnecessary rebranding attempt can be disastrous.

To understand what’s at stake when it comes to rebranding, you need to understand what your brand has evolved into. You need to play the right cards with your branding. You can read everything about branding here.

Well, how do we know if it’s time to rebrand?

There are several cues you can pick up on to consider rebranding your company. Some of them are as plainly visible as black and white but some are blurry.

Let’s look at 8 signs which indicate the need for rebranding.

1. You’ve changed your business model or strategy

When Calendly was founded eight years ago, the brand was laser focused on solving a familiar pain point: the back-and-forth emails, missed phone calls and overall headaches that come with scheduling a meeting. That singular mission meant its visual identity was left largely untouched. Now, however, the cloud-based scheduling platform has finally gotten a makeover. 

Pentagram has developed a new brand identity framework for Calendly that reflects its intelligent design, improved workflows and incredible ease of use. The update encompasses brand strategy and messaging, as well as a comprehensive visual language, including a new brand mark, typography and iconography. The rebrand coincides with a period of growth and innovation at the company, which wanted to modernize its visuals to reflect its current and future capabilities and ambition.

The market is ever-changing and brands need to keep up with the momentum to be relevant and sustain. Change in the market will call for a need to change the way your brand operates, your messaging, offering and even flip your brand strategy.

It is not a question of ‘if’ but a question of ‘when’.

When you adopt a rebranding exercise, it is important to start from the foundation; branding. Clearly establishing and communicating your branding is vital especially when undergoing a rebranding influenced by a change in business strategy.

Take KIA for example. The brand which used to make bargain-bin cars has grown into a prominent market player today. The Korean automaker’s brand strategy has changed over the years and recently, in 2020, they revamped their logo and revealed a new, global tagline ‘Movement that inspires’. KIA revealed their new brand identity in a grandiose manner using fireworks.

KIA Rebrand

“KIA’s new logo represents the company’s commitment to becoming an icon for change and innovation,” said Ho Sung Song, Kia’s President and CEO

The rebranding was a part of KIA’s new, long-term brand strategy called ‘Plan S’. With that KIA aims to become a global market leader and create sustainable mobility services, popularize electric vehicles and meet the needs and tastes of individuals and local markets.

2. Your target audience has changed

When your target audience has changed over the course of time, your brand needs to specifically cater to appeal to their desires and resonate with this new set of audience.

Likes, preferences, interests and trends keep changing and something that sparked the interests of the teenagers say, a decade ago wouldn’t do the same today. A rebranding becomes necessary if you find that your target audience are teenagers but your brand resonates with the adults.

Think of MTV, a popular television channel largely successful among teens from the ’80s and ’90s. In 2018, the brand underwent a massive rebranding with a theme of ‘Mood Swings’ under focus.

The objective was to capture the interests of the new target audience- teenagers and youngsters. The brand changed its perception and image to better suit and connect with the new target audience and succeed in the market amidst competitors such as Vevo.

MTV: Mood Swings

3. Your brand fails to differentiate itself in the market

A successful brand is memorable in terms of its visual identity as well as customer experience. When your brand looks and feels like your competitors, a ‘rebranding’ can help you differentiate.

Let’s look at history: With the growth in marketing and advertising, Companies began to differentiate. Brands of the company and its brand equity grew higher and higher. With the growth of Brand equity, expectations grew for the brand. And so, a brand basically helped the organisations differentiate themselves from the competition.

Has your brand been hit with ‘sameness’?

Sameness is the combined effect of companies being too similar in their offers, poorly differentiated in their branding, and indistinct in their communication.

The language they use is vanilla, the product/service they offer like any other, and the marketing message is identical to that of their competition.

If you visit websites of competing companies, you’ll find that most offer no meaningful differentiation. They say pretty much the same things.

So, if you feel like your brand has ‘sameness’, it’s time for a rebrand!

4. Your company’s look and feel has become outdated

This is one of the most common reasons why brands want to rebrand. If the quality of your brand outgrows the quality of your business, you’ll have to rebrand in order to compete on a higher tier.

Everyone wants to associate themselves with a fun, new-age brand and the concept of social proof has become integral.

Like clothes in a closet, sometimes a brand does not age well and the organization simply outgrows their brand. The brand may no longer fit what the organization is. That means they may have refined their values, offerings or audience and now the experience no longer matches the essence. So, a revamped visual identity is needed to better align with what the organization has evolved into.

Example- Old Spice

Old Spice: The Man Your Man could Smell like

Why it was successful- Old Spice was able to answer the problems faced by the brand by listening to its customers. And responding to the need to update their brand and followed up with an entire social media strategy with a series of videos featuring Isaiah Mustafa. The campaign called “The man your man could smell like”

5. Your company has outgrown its original vision

And Nothing Else‘ D2C FMCG brand rebranded and became The Whole Truth. They needed to do something to drive adoption for its new-look products. Talking about its first-ever ad campaign — called ‘Our Food Is Screwed —  the company said that the idea was about getting the message out there so that everyone gets it without taking any leaps. ‘And Nothing Else’ was just addressing one part of the problem, but they wanted to re-brand themselves to solve the entire spectrum of problems.” 

The vision you had as a company 10 years ago might not remain the same and relevant today. As the market evolves, so does the brand and its vision.

If what you say and what you do doesn’t match, no one will be willing to listen to you. If you find that your brand’s vision is no more relevant, you need to rebrand and communicate the things that matter.

This is what Dropbox did in 2017. Dropbox launched itself as web-based file storage and sharing service. However, in 2017, Dropbox wanted to portray itself beyond a file-sharing platform and as a creative suite with APIs, tools and integrations.

Dropbox Rebrand

Source- Dropbox

Along with the shift in vision, Dropbox refreshed its logo to introduce its new line of products.

“Our old logo was a blue box that implied, ‘Dropbox is a great place to store stuff.’ The new one is cleaner and simpler. And we’ve evolved it from a literal box to a collection of surfaces to show that Dropbox is an open platform and a place for creation.”- said the design team of Dropbox.

Although the new logo received quite a few criticisms from the designer community, the rebranding has been working well for the brand.

You can read more about the rebranding here.

6. Your growth has become stagnant

Time and again, research has proven the ROI of branding. Strong brands are more profitable, build more equity, and sell at higher multiples.

That’s because strong brands are more than just sleek logos and clever taglines. They have significantly more pricing power than weaker competitors.

But if your business growth is stagnant, so is it time for you to make a fresh start? Despite all the downsides, the silver lining might be an opportunity to take your company into its next season of life. That’s what Dunkin Donuts did it 2017.

As stagnant sales growth continued, Dunkin’ announced a long-term plan in 2017. The re-branding initiative in 2018 complemented new store designs and menu simplification.

Dunkin Donut Rebrand

A new beverage-focused strategy was announced by the management in September 2018, changing the brand previously known as ‘Dunkin’ Donuts’ to simply ‘Dunkin’. The new mission identified as ‘serving great coffee fast’ officially launched in January 2019, pitting the company against well-established players in the industry such as Starbucks and McDonald’s Corporation.

Though Dunkin’ is largely unchanged in value since its rebranding announced last year. The flexible brand complements a beverage-led focus catering to fast-changing consumer tastes. The menu simplification and new store designs speed up the service, a core theme in the strategy.

7. Your brand is not resonating with your audience

Despite all your efforts, customers are not eagerly lining up to get your product or service. So, what to do about it? Knowing the value you bring to the table is extremely important and has been the cornerstone of successful marketing and branding for decades.

Think of your brand as a multitude of assets made up of your name, terms, designs, symbols and other features that identify your business. Your brand is not just your logo, and it cannot stop there when you’re building your brand. For example, when you hear the name Apple, you think of their innovation, commitment to service, sleek products, connection to their consumers.

Take the example of Burberry and how it underwent a revamp to appeal to its audience.

In 2016, despite its ongoing efforts in regaining a larger market share, Burberry was crashing down in the luxury fashion segment. Burberry was at a crossroads. It catered to young and mature customers, yet its marketing targeted the younger demographics. However, after gaining mainstream appeal and attracting their target market, older consumers were becoming less inclined to be associated with the brand, as demonstrated by a 2015 study.

So what did Burberry do?


Having acquired a younger demographic, Burberry (and other luxury brands) took notice of the changing consumer demographics, as well as their changing desires. The brand started releasing products continuously throughout the year, also working on a series of collaborations. To appeal to the younger demographic, the brand also introduced a new logo and brand motif, the aim of which was to complement the trademark check and to become a staple of the new era of Burberry. And surely, they delivered!

8. Your brand has expanded

Changes in business ownership is a great financial step but it often has the customers wondering whether the brand offering and values have changed too. At such times, rebranding should be carried out to showcase the joining forces qualities while also complying to legal requirements.

When it comes to mergers and acquisition the magnitude of power that one brand holds relative to the other influences and even determines the structure of rebranding.

M&As are transformational. They can actually change “who” the acquiring company “is” and what it provides. In other words, it can change the company’s identity, as well as its value proposition. For example, the ConocoPhillips Company.

ConocoPhillips Rebrand

In 2002, merged with Phillips 66. The merger of Conoco and Phillips 66 created the sixth-largest publicly traded oil company in the world and the third-largest in the United States. The merged company was named ConocoPhillips. In 2005, the corporation began rebranding its (Union) 76 gas stations.

More example of Rebranding

Rebranding London’s most exciting neighbourhood physically & digitally.

How Re-Branding An Industrial Company Impacted Their Sales, Workforce Recruiting & Direction

ClearTax, a fintech company, has rebranded itself as “Clear” to represent the whole gamut of services it is offering right now.

Looking for Rebrand?

At Everything Design, we build brands. If you want to re-face, uplift or humanise your business – Connect with us!

Brand is a relationship between customers and the business.

Brand identity is what we can see, it’s the design of a brand.

Branding is a process of building awareness and extent loyalty.

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