Five Signs it’s Time to Rebrand Your Firm

January 4, 2021

Picture of a desk with a book about Brand Identity on it.
Understanding your company’s brand and how it’s created is a vital exercise for marketers.

What does it mean to rebrand?

A rebrand is a comprehensive project that examines your organization, its desired position in the marketplace, and creates the tools to get you there. It’s thoughtfully setting the tone and attitude that your firm will use to communicate, thereby changing how your organization is perceived. When done correctly, rebranding yields powerful, long-lasting results.

Why Rebrand?

Changing an organization’s identity can be a contentious proposition. There’s sure to be a debate about whether the exercise will provide a sufficient return – will the expense of rebranding translate into increased revenue? Additionally, there’s a risk involved in moving from the current identity to an unknown design system. What if the new design is worse than what you have?

But there are times when a rebrand is called for, as daunting as it might seem. And when conducted properly, a rebrand will yield lasting returns for your organization and its business objectives.

1. Change of Name

  • Our name doesn’t fit the company.
  • Our name doesn’t reflect the business.
  • Our name doesn’t suit the markets being served.
  • Our name misleads our customers.

If you’re changing your name, you’re going to be changing your logo. A name change will also see you reviewing all your assets to update them to the new name and update your logo to the new one. If your firm is named after the senior partners, if you’re adding a new name-level partner, your logo and all your materials will also need attention. Since the work is being done, it’s an excellent opportunity to ensure that your identity system and branding still support your business objectives.

2. Reposition Your Brand

  • We need to change how we’re viewed in the marketplace.
  • We have to communicate who we are more clearly.
  • No one knows who we are.
  • We want to appeal to a new market.

If your firm has been languishing in the marketplace, it can be a great idea to consider rebranding. A proper branding exercise will start with some tough questions, help you discover a vibrant offering, and finish off with some attention-getting design that will revitalize your brand.

3. Revitalize the Brand Identity

Old laptop with a late-90's style logo
Your firm’s aesthetic sets expectations for your stakeholders. What expectations would you have about the hypothetical firm GDQ Law based on this image?
  • We are a great company, but we look like we’re behind the times.
  • Our identity doesn’t work in new applications (e.g., online or small devices).
  • Our identity does not position us ahead of our competitors.
  • I am embarrassed when I give out my business card.
  • Our logo is illegible.

These are all symptoms of your brand identity falling flat. Even the best-designed identities need to evolve and grow. If your corporate design program isn’t current, potential customers wonder what else is out-of-date. It’s time to look at rebranding as a way to bring your brand identity back to a competitive level.

4. Rebrand to Create an Integrated System

  • We do not present a consistent face to customers.
  • We lack visual consistency.
  • All of our marketing looks like it comes from different companies.
  • Every division does it’s own thing when marketing; everyone is reinventing the wheel.

Over time, even well-designed branding systems can become scattered and disorganized as the organization grows, takes on new departments, and meets new challenges. A well-executed branding exercise will bring all of the disparate factions, efforts, products, and departments under a unified design system.

5. When Companies Merge

  • We want to send a clear message that this is a merger of equals.
  • We need to communicate that 1+1=4.
  • We want to build on the brand equity of the merging companies.
  • We need a new name.
  • How do we incorporate the brand equity of our acquisition into our brand?

Often, a merger necessitates a renaming (and along with it a rebranding). But even if there isn’t a renaming, rebranding is usually a good idea. It will allow you to thoughtfully join both companies, maintaining some of the built-up brand equity and goodwill. It can also be a great way to communicate the strength of the newly merged entity.

Rebranding: a powerful tool for complex problems

Rebranding exercises aren’t easy, they:

  • Ask you to answer challenging questions.
  • Require a significant investment of time and resources.
  • Can be surprising in the direction they take.

But rebranding is a powerful way of addressing your organization’s growth objectives. Is lead generation difficult? Is your firm viewed positively in its industry? Does the marketplace understand what you do? Adequately addressing these challenges can make rebranding a worthwhile endeavour.

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