who let the cat out of the bag?!

The rebranding complex: a self help guide

What questions to ask yourself and challenges can you alleviate 
for the most successful outcome?

Thought piece by Justine Lefebvre. Managing Partner

If you are in business for a number of years now, typically between 3-10 years, there are a handful of sneaky questions that might start to keeping you awake at night:

  • Is our brand actually a good fit to represent us as we are today?
  • Is our brand as it is today strong enough for our ambitions in the future?
  • Should we adjust it? Now, or later?
  • Is rebranding a huge gamble though?

If you have lost sleep to one/several of those, good news is (sort of) that you are not alone! Here are a few perspectives that will (hopefully) help you find your peace of mind back



What is rebranding? There might be more options than you think…
Rebranding is not just about changing a logo. It covers all the possible ways to go about enhancing a brand experience. Actually, you may not need to change your logo, at all.
We talk about Brand Overhaul (or Revamp) when the entire brand gets updated: logo, story, collaterals, maybe even the name! On the other side, Brand Consolidation and Brand Extension are taking the existing brand assets (for instance, the logo, the name, aspects of your internal personality, etc.) and turning it into an integral, consistent and immersive brand experience. Your brand becomes a strong asset for your business, now and in the future.


What should I consider?

No matter the format, to most, rebranding generally sounds like a lot of work.
Besides getting everyone aligned to pick ONE new direction, the even more overwhelming part would be… unrolling it! But does it really have to be this way?

Here is a step by step approach to help you structure your thoughts and set yourself up for success.

Go/not go?
The urge for rebranding can come from various places, from an intuition that the brand is giving out a vibe that’s quite different from how its stakeholders feel on the inside to the conviction that something has to change drastically to get where you want to go. Is it worth it though?
Before jumping to hard conclusions, let’s take a look at the big picture: what is driving the need for change and who is leading it:

  • Is it feedback from the market (consumers), some up and coming competitor’s performance is starting to worry you?
  • Is there internal discomfort around our personality not quite matching up with who we are? Or around having different versions between teams?
  • Or consumers not seeming to fully understand us?
  • Or simply, has the brand been growing organically with the rest of the business, and is leaving you wondering if you did enough to make it as impactful as it should be?
  • Do you have all the data you need to validate any assumption?

This should inform whether a rebranding is worth it: does it make business sense?


Go → Where to?
If you have decided for the “go”, you are now left with a whole new world of possibilities. Rebranding is an exhilarating time in a company’s life (or should be!) and as all the parties get involved, you want to make sure the teams won’t lose sight of the reasons you are doing this in the first place. To find out what objectives will guide you through the process, you may want to go back to what are you looking to do with the business for the 1-5 years to come:

  • Open more stores?
  • Add new products/Services to your offering?
  • Increase basket size
  • Enter a new market?
  • Target a new consumer group?
  • Franchise?
  • Sell?

Once this is clear, it will be easier to pinpoint how to assess the following step.


How much do you need to change (brandwise)?
With those goals in mind, and though there is courage and boldness in coming up with something totally new (and yes, sometimes a definite need), does it feel like everything has to change? Is that what will serve your objective best? Or can you identify some more problematic aspects to tackle first:

  • Looking at all the elements (“touch points”) that carry your brand: from your visual identity, your products and services, your stores, your online platforms, your staffs, etc. where are the the key areas of discomfort?
  • Can you put yourself in the shoes of your consumers and think of all the touch points they encounter in their overall experience? Then list up which are working/not working/not really making a difference]?
  • Talk to your marketing team, and see what is taking up much of their time, keeps coming back or is done wrong. Are they missing some brand tools? Templates? Skills?
  • Create an internal survey where you ask people to describe the brand, you might uncover the key areas that are consistent and to realign.

This will give you an idea of the concrete deliverables you may want/need out of this process but also, if you are opting for a brand consolidation, what pieces are immediately within your reach to change: what can you already clean up? Would that make it more tidy already? (sometimes it’s as simple as: “less is more?).


How much do you need, to change ($)?
Long story short: Will rebranding cost you something? You bet! Does it need to be expensive? Not necessarily. A few tips on how to make the most of it:
Having a clear idea of what you are looking to change and keep will help setting the sandbox for the team’s creativity, within measure.
Be pragmatic; set the budget you can afford to spend, and if needed, how you may spread it in time. Rebranding are usually phased processes, and therefore, can work alongside your cash flow.

Maybe here is where you would say… To carry on reading, more indepth information on how to maximize your return on investment, and how to structure the roll out, find out more on the full length version on our website.

There could be opportunities to kill two birds with one stone along the way, and maximize your return on investment:
For instance, if the rebranding process includes getting some more consumer feedback, can it also inform other departments like service and product development?
Or, if you are to build new branding tools, it is also an opportunity to systematize the process for new packaging creation, social media posting, etc. which typically take lots of time and human resources to operate.
Which ones of your team will you involve in the process? This might be an opportunity to train/engage them further in the business. And to create brand ambassadors that will in turn help you align everyone
Adding onto this that taking this opportunity to consolidate your Why (or brand purpose) would considerably decrease the amount of decisions you, as a brand owner, need to make on daily basis.
Finally, a number of investors will value the brand as an asset especially in F&B and consumer brands. Having the brand done right can multiply the sums invested, or your Earnout by quite a few times. A number of the people we worked with were overjoyed to have taken this calculated risk afterwards.


Going live: When?
Timing is everything. When pushing your rebanding out to the world, pick your timing wisely. You probably don’t want to be seen as just rebranding to be talked about – though it might work, it might not get you the type of press you were looking for. Letting it go quietly, depending on the extent of the rebranding, might confuse (or worse, alienate) some of your consumers, leaving them perplexed at best, disengaged at worst.
There are, on the other side, a few opportunities you don’t want to miss on: New Product Launch, Product/Service Considerable Enhancement Communication, Anniversary, Team Building or Celebration, etc. That’s one campaign concept all done already!


Possible solutions

A few final tips:

    • Make sure all the key stakeholders are onboard with the process and aligned on the objectives. Having that buy in early on will considerably fasten the overall process.
    • Communicate your objectives to all the partners supporting you in the process, it will make it that much easier for them to deliver solutions in alignment with what you need for the business which will again get you faster to where you want to be, and avoid you many detours.
    • Be realistic yet creative around your resources. Allocate a budget, and which team members will champion the project.
    • Assess the value of what you are receiving, as formal deliverable and additional value in the process to reach it. What effect will the process have on the team involved? Will it be useful to them in the long run in terms of growth, training, buy in, adjustment to your vision?
    • Make sure the deliverables are tools that your team can use, and your champions can teach other members how to use.
    • Think of how consumers will become aware of the rebrand, and make sure there is a positive outlook for them in things changing, too.


Next steps

Still having a hard time sorting you through those?
We are happy to help you structure your thoughts.
We offer a 1h consultation to help you process through those questions and clarify your next steps. It’s free, and comes with no strings attached.

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