How to Know When It’s Time to Rebrand

Emily Crymes

Prefer to Listen?

Deciding that it’s time to rebrand your business is not a decision that comes easily or is taken lightly. Especially if you paid a lot of money for a rebrand in the past, regardless of whether it was successful or not. It can be hard to let go of what was, and move into what you want to become.

However, the cost of not rebranding when you need to can cost you more money than you’d expect. What does not getting leads, or attracting red flag clients, or lack of marketing cost you?

I want to share with you some key points that you can use as a basis to gauge whether or not it’s time for a rebrand. We’ll be breaking down how to recognize the need for a rebrand, how to assess your alignment with your current brand identity, and the importance of a clear brand strategy.

Recognizing the need for a rebrand. 

There are definitely some more obvious things that come up in business that stir up this thought - like pivoting in your business, changing your offers entirely or revamping your business model/practice, or working with a different target audience than you have been. 

You’re fully aware that things have changed and things just feel different in your business. You know that something has to change in your business because of these shifts. Whether you see it as needing a rebrand or just know that something needs to change, you feel it. You’re aware of that necessary change to come. 

But it’s not always obvious that you need to rebrand, or that something needs to change. Sometimes it’s much more subtle shifts or actions that you’re taking. A big one is not showing up in your marketing. Are you hiding out? Are you waiting to post until things “feel right?” Are you avoiding your email list (whether that means building it or nurturing it) because your site just doesn't represent the current vision of your brand?

This lack of confidence, or feeling afraid to market your business, can be a really key indicator that things are out of alignment within your business and you’re in need of some deeper brand strategy work to reach some new clarity. 

If you’ve completely thrown out your previous offers, and pivoted into something entirely new, then it’s very likely that your current branding is just not going to reflect the new direction of your business, your new target audience, and your new why. Whether you’ve outlined them or not, they’re there. 

So whether you're aware of the changes that have occurred in your business or just know that things feel different, these are some important things to look out for and keep in mind when you’re assessing your goals and plans for your business.

Assessing your alignment with your current brand identity.

A brand identity, or a logo and color palette, is something that your business needs to attract and connect with your target audience. There are key subliminal messages and emotions that come through your branding and speak to your audience. Things like your color palette and the psychology of colors and what they represent or are associated with, and your photo style and personality injected into your brand, or the style of the fonts and typography that you use and what feelings those convey. 

All of these elements play a huge role in the success of your marketing. So if you’re not feeling aligned with what these elements represent or are doing, you’re not going to be attracting the right people, or you might just stop marketing altogether. 

And we definitely don’t want that. 

For larger businesses or corporations, there isn’t always this shift of alignment. Once the strategy work is done, things are pretty much set and good to go. Changes tend to only really happen based on data and consumer trends, filling a new gap in a market, or introducing a new product or solution. 

But for more personal brands, you’re going to see and feel the effects of not aligning with the identity of your branding in a much more dramatic way, since so much of yourself is fused into your brand. I mean even simple things like hating the fonts that you’re supposed to be using because your overall style preferences have changed, or changing what you want to be associated with - can cause you to feel this misalignment with your brand. 

And that’s why a brand based on 90% strategy, and only 10% based on personal preference, is the way to go. Even more so for personal brands. If we can establish the brand to have its own personality and identity that you are a part of, rather than solely relying on your personality to create the brand, we can prevent the need to rebrand every 2-3 years, or every time you go through a style or preference change. 

One caveat to this is photographer brands. If you are a one-person photography brand, we want to infuse a lot more of your personality and photography style into your branding. So if your old branding is very bright and airy, but you now shoot more grunge and moody photos, we’ll want to update your branding to reflect this new trajectory and style. So as a photographer with a distinct editing style, or a new editing style, it’s very easy to feel out of alignment with your branding if your clientele or editing style has changed. 

Another key area of alignment that we want to look at in regards to your brand identity is your target audience’s alignment with it. If you’re marketing, but no one is biting or taking interest in your content - it may be time for a rebrand. It’s possible that one of the elements of your brand that people used to love interacting with has fizzled out. While we don’t want to rely on trends and change our brand with every new trend, we do want to look at them and evaluate how we can potentially incorporate them into our brand, if it aligns with our brand values. 

Your target audience not “engaging” with your content could have absolutely nothing to do with your branding itself, and more to do with your content delivery and messaging. But we do want to look at the data and see where you can maybe highlight the values of your brand more within your current brand identity, or work with a designer to bring out your new brand values into a new brand instead. 

Evaluating your brand strategy to help you determine whether it’s time for a rebrand or not. 

Your brand values guide everything your business will do or not do, because these are the things that your business cares about on a fundamental level.

But brand strategy is more than just your brand values. It’s looking at your vision, and the direction you want your brand to go. What you want to achieve, and who you want to become. It’s looking at your mission, and how you’re going to reach the vision. It’s looking at your brand purpose, and why the brand exists beyond making money, and why people should care. 

Have you ever actually sat down and defined your brand's vision, mission, and purpose? Do you know what your brand is working to achieve or accomplish? Do you know why your brand exists, beyond financial freedom or additional income for you? 

These are all really important questions to ask yourself to get more clear on your brand strategy, and determine if your current branding is reflecting your answers.

Brand strategy is also all about setting goals, both long term and short term, that align with your vision, mission, and purpose, and help you work towards those key factors. Knowing where you are today, relative to these goals, gives you solid direction and guidance towards what you need to be working on in your business to live your brand’s vision, mission, and purpose. 

If your brand lacks direction, you may feel like you’re doing everything on a whim, and going with every trend. This doesn’t allow you to establish a solid reputation as the go-to brand for x service. Plus, you’re going to feel all over the place. Not feeling organized, with no clear direction, leads to doing everything under the sun within the industry that you’re in, just so you can work with a few clients because your marketing is all over the place and people have a hard time connecting with you. 

If you haven’t worked on your brand strategy, you may also not know what sets you apart from competitors. And not knowing what sets you apart from your competition means your brand identity isn’t going to be strategic to place you in a market gap, and you won’t know how to sell what you do and how it’s unique. 

If your brand strategy is all over the place, it’s really hard to have a brand identity that is clear and concise. I always recommend working on your brand strategy before you work on a brand identity, so that things can be created based on strategy and not just personal preference. 

Steps to Take When Considering a Rebrand

Now that we’ve covered how to recognize the need for a rebrand, the importance of alignment with your brand identity, and why your brand strategy matters, let’s get into the steps to take when considering a rebrand. 

So you’ve made the decision that it’s time to rebrand. You know that things in your business have changed, so your brand strategy no longer aligns with the direction of your business, and you need a new brand identity that you love and feel connected to. 

Before you start looking for someone to help you with all of this, let’s first establish some things in your business. 

  1. What are some goals that you have for your business in this new path?
  2. What are the definitive differences between your current business, and the new direction you want to go in?
  3. Does your current audience resonate with the new direction?
  4. When are you looking to have your rebrand complete?

Knowing these things will not only help you have a more successful overall experience with a brand designer, but it will also help you find the right one for your business.

Take the time to research different designers and strategists. Is there someone who works with brands in your industry specifically, if that’s something that you care about? Do you want an all-in-one studio/agency to handle things from brand strategy to web launch? What kind of style or vision do you have in mind for your business?

Once you’ve found a couple designers that check all of your boxes, schedule consultation calls with them. See if you vibe better with one or the other, or if one can start your project sooner than the other. Listen to your intuitive response when deciding who to work with. 

A successful rebrand example: Petco

On a larger scale, companies often rebrand when their business isn’t doing very well, or they need to expand their market, or they want to get away from something they’ve previously done.

For Example, let’s look at the Petco rebrand that took place in October of 2020. At this time, Petco announced that it was focusing on a new direction (vision) and path (mission) for their company. They would stop the sale of shock collars, and establish itself as the health and wellness company for pets. They even went as far to encourage consumers to join in on their movement via an online petition aimed at creating responsible regulation for the retail sale of shock collars. The CEO, Ron Coughlin, released a statement to encourage alternative methods of training your pets - Positive Reinforcement.

Petco then reimagined their website and app to focus on these new initiatives and deepen the connection to their customers with their core values. 

Many American pet owners see their pets as family. And Petco saw this and seized the opportunity. 

This is a great example of how your brand values reflect everything that you do, and how you can play into the trends without throwing out your whole business. Petco stood for their values, and made a decision to stop selling shock collars and reposition themselves as a health and wellness resource for pet parents. They also noticed the rise in pet parents, and the care and consideration that the average pet owner provides their pets, and knew that this would speak to those parents specifically - the ones who will do anything and everything for their pets’ well being. 

There was a little bit of backlash from consumers, as they removed the iconic mascots from their logo and went to a bit more modern of a look. But overall, I would say that it was a pretty successful rebranding. You can’t win them all. 

Let’s Recap

Let’s review the main points of consideration for rebranding your business and how to know that it’s time.

  1. Things have changed in your business, whether it’s your services or who you’re offering. Or, you’re no longer marketing confidently to bring in new clients/customers, and instead you’re hiding out and don’t want to share your branding cause it “just doesn’t work” anymore.
  2. Your brand identity no longer reflects the strategy and direction of your business, or your target audience just isn’t resonating with it. 
  3. You have a lack of clarity in your business. Maybe you never took the time to work on your brand strategy, or it’s changed a lot since you did. 

If you’re hearing any of those 3 things and thinking “oh man, that sounds like me” - then it’s time for a rebrand. 

If you would like support in your rebrand and want to work together on your new brand and website, click here to learn more about my Brand and Web packages, and book a free, zero obligation consultation call with me where we can chat all about your business and goals and see if we’re a good fit.

other posts you may like

Infusing Personality Into Your Brand Visuals, Messaging, and Website

Read it here >>

How to Know When It’s Time to Rebrand

Read it here >>

Tips and updates right in your inbox, every other week. Don’t worry, I hate getting too many pointless emails too. I’ll never spam ya.