First off, what is a brand? A brand is defined as a unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Usually, that image becomes synonymous with attributes like credibility and quality. That is, in the perceptions of consumers or the general public. So what is rebranding then? Rebranding is when a brand’s identity is deliberately changed to change the perception of consumers and the general public. Rebranding tends to be necessary at times and next year you might have to do it. Here are some important things to know about rebranding.

Why Rebranding?

There comes a time when a business or startup wants to shift people’s perception of their brand. This usually means you have to reconsider your marketing approaches. The shift you want to provoke can be so significant that you have to change your branding. It is important to bear in mind that you must carefully do your homework before rebranding. It is possible to rebrand when you did not have to rebrand. Then it is also possible to ignore rebranding when it is the actual answer that is needed. Thus it is pertinent that you know objective reasons you should or can rebrand. Let us explore some of them here.

Let us suppose that you are a business or startup based here in Zimbabwe. Then you experience good growth and have to enter regional and even international markets. In some cases, you can continue with your current branding. However, in some cases, you might have to rebrand to be well-suited to the new markets. This is one such scenario where rebranding can be justified.

Despite going regional or international, there can be local scenarios where you are shifting your target market. This might entail a whole new set of people who may not relate to your current branding. This is another scenario that can necessitate rebranding. In some cases, it can be mergers and acquisitions that can lead to rebranding which is of course justified.

There have been scenarios where damage control can necessitate rebranding. I remember back in the day when it was rumoured that Mhunga Buses has rebranded to quantum kombis. It was quite clear whether that was true but given the bad publicity, the brand was getting it could have been true.

Other concrete reasons can be the need to be more competitive or moving from a brand that is now far removed from your identity. At times it can be some inevitable legal consequence or you are looking to refine your message. In other cases, you might be introducing a new product or service line. So these are some of the core reasons why you should or can rebrand.

The Best Rebranding Approaches

Why? – Should Be The Starting Point

I just highlighted some of the objective reasons why you should rebrand. Well, it turns out every successful rebranding exercise must start with the ‘why’ question. This is question must be comprehensively explored before any decisions are taken. You first of all have to premise your decision to rebrand on a solid basis. Then you must understand why you have to rebrand i.e. what do you want to achieve? This is akin to understanding the need or problem so that you come up with a robust solution. Do not rush this ‘why’ stage – explore it far and wide. You have to look at what your brand mission and values are.

Comprehensively Research

The next step is to do thorough empirical research. When you look at the cases for rebranding you will notice one recurring thing. It is all meant to change how your brand is regarded or perceived. This means you must do research that involves the intended targets. This spans from customers to all the stakeholders and shareholders as well. The idea behind this is so that you draw accurate insights not assumed ones.

I am sure this will all be useful as you rebrand next year or any other time. Rebranding might seem alien to you but it is a common thing amongst businesses and startups. It is said that most enterprises rebrand after every 7 to 10 years. It can also be useful to study case studies of other enterprises that have rebranded before. Ever since the coming of the pandemic, a lot has changed. Rebranding might be inevitable for many businesses and startups.

Consider Core Brand Elements

There are so many things to look at here. Some of them are your logo, tagline, brand colours, and brand voice, amongst others. In the rebranding process, the logo tends to be the central focus. In some cases, the key change in rebranding can be the logo. However, changes to the logo are a delicate move that must be handled carefully. Bear in mind also that changing the logo can be quite costly at you would have to change its vehicles, buildings, and so on.

Taglines are all about communicating your unique selling point (or value proposition). It must not only be catchy but must communicate. I could go into so much if I start talking about brand colours. Colours are so central to brand recognition yet many people do not know that. There is a science and art behind the colours you choose. I once did an article some time back on colour psychology – it is an interesting subject. Colours play a huge role in how your brand is identified, do not take them casually.

A brand has a personality and your brand voice communicates that personality. You must assume a voice that appeals to your target market.

Rebranding is a lengthy subject; I have barely scratched the surface. What I have shared with you will of course provide enough information to rebrand. What is most important to do is to employ evidence-based approaches throughout the whole process. Do not assume but rather ascertain via empirical research.