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When is a Rebrand a good idea?

In the fast-paced and innovation-driven world that we live in, clients are often faced with a dilemma – whether they should invest in a new corporate identity. A logo facelift or complete identity overhaul is a great way to breathe new life into your business and outshine the competition. But when is the rebrand recommended or inevitable, and when is it a bad idea that could harm your outreach? Here are a few points to help you weigh the pros and cons of introducing a new visual identity to your brand.

An identity redesign is a good idea when:

1. You are about to pivot to a new product or service. A rebrand, in this case, would be a great way to tell your clients & customers that you are branching into a different set of services. A good example would be this case study that I put together on a recent company rebrand for a marketing agency that wanted to move away from lead generation and focus on offering content strategy to their clients.
2. Your current logo is not up to today’s clever and engaging branding standards. Whether you started lean and couldn’t afford high-level design services, or you are an established firm with a 50-year history and an identity about the same age, the chances are that your current identity is a little stale and outdated. So now is a good time to do a rebrand and get one step ahead of your competition.
3. You want to appeal to a different target audience. Maybe you own a business that is about to branch into a new demographic. For example, you are looking to target clients from an entirely new continent – let’s say you are launching your products into the Asian market. Or you are struggling to appeal to more affluent customers because your current branding is currently positioned towards the lower end of the market. Either way, a fresh new logo and identity is the way to recalibrate your outreach to the new target group.
4. You have outgrown your identity. Even the most formidable companies often have humble beginnings – maybe your firm started out as a garage business and you have now scaled up to a large, international brand. Well done! But one thing is for sure – larger and more influential companies need different kinds of branding than smaller companies in the same industry. This is an excellent reason to consider a full or partial rebrand. 
5. Copyright reasons. Even if your brand is backed by a trademark patent, you could still face copyright claims from competitor brands. If you are just starting out and have not yet established your brand, investing in a new identity is wiser than going into expensive lawsuits.  The ways of the legal world are elusive and mysterious – be sure to hire a competent copyright legal consultant to help you navigate your trademark registration and protection. 
Rebranding is probably not necessary when:

1. You are tempted to catch up with the latest design trend. While the latest branding fad might look different and exciting, it is best to invest in a timeless logo and identity that will stand the test of time. Besides, by looking at what everyone else does, you no longer stand out from the crowd.

2. You are already too invested in your current identity. Maybe a logo redesign is on your mind, but you have already committed financially to your identity. If you have stocked up on packaging and merchandise with your current logo on, you are running ad campaigns, and have other things going on that tie you to your old identity – then it is not wise to do a rebrand. In this case, you should consider the sunk cost involved in getting a new logo done to see if it makes sense financially. This includes current copyright patents and other legal fees you will have to pay again.

3. You are already bored with the current look. You have to remember that your company’s voice and visual appearance are not about you, unless you are building a personal brand. Even then, you need to remember that the purpose of the visual identity is to bring in new customers and keep the old ones coming, and it has little to do with your personal preferences. It makes no sense to change an identity that is already doing well just because you are craving novelty – you might be bored with the logo, but your target audience could be loving it. 

My own rebranding story

A few years ago, I created a logo and brand identity for my personal brand as an independent designer – I loved the design and connected with the logo and brand elements on a personal level:

The trouble came when I decided that I no longer want my beard and felt better in my skin with a clean shave or just a little bit of stubble. I was worried that my bearded mascot logo would no longer be consistent with my appearance when I met new clients on Zoom or in person. And I didn’t want the logo of the company to be connected to my appearance – looks change and a symbol or animal mascot is more timeless and iconic. 
I had no other choice – I rolled up my sleeves and set about creating a new identity for myself – I felt it would be wise to stay away from personal mascots which show my features as my appearance could change again in the future. I wanted to convey the idea of every client being a unicorn to me and receiving a unique creative solution to their problem, and this is how the pencil-horn unicorn logo was born:

As you can see, I kept my corporate colors, fonts, and some of the design elements from my previous identity to keep some brand recognition and still be recognised by return clients. 

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