• Shefali Mathur

Why & When Should You Consider Rebranding


Branding can be defined as the efforts taken to influence the perception of people. With that said, rebranding comes into the picture when an enterprise has a dire need to revamp its ‘image’, literally and figuratively.


What may seem exciting on the surface, rebranding can often be a complicated undertaking. If not executed with astute professionalism, wit, and experience, the rebranding process can backfire, diluting the brand image further.

The intricacies of rebranding beg to be studied in-depth, so the following writeup will classify the nuances of this wonderful exercise into bite-size pieces of information, for everyone’s understanding.



Establishing Brand Identity


Be it a small business or a well-funded startup that has the potential to be a unicorn company, brand identity must be built from the ground up, intentionally.


Business owners cannot afford to leave branding or brand identity to chance as crafting a persona for your dream enterprise is imperative. More imperative than just naming your business or designing a logo.


It is practically manifesting an identity that will potentially(in the best case scenario) live on forever.


For instance, there was a very slim chance that an odd-tasting drink named Karting Daeng would have any chance of mass adoption. But when packaged as RedBull, an energy drink that gives you wings(which interestingly limits its consumption to not more than 2 cans a day), was able to surprise everyone & compete with giants like Coca-Cola.



There are many brand identity tales to learn from. Big and small companies often make headlines with these tales. However, to avoid blunders and sticking out like sore thumbs, the following brand identity rules must be adhered to:

  1. Determine/brainstorm how your brand must be perceived by the consumer.

  2. Uncover the brand's authentic story that is relevant as well as attracts your target audience.

  3. Cover all grounds while naming your brand like domain name availability, registration, and caveats concerning legalities.

  4. Scrutinize the logo as many times as required, until a strong & unique one emerges that works on a variety of scales and sizes.

  5. Ensure the brand identity is investor-friendly. Investors tend to back a venture that has a branding that looks more professional, resonating, and global. Simple knock-offs tell a bad brand story and as brand designers, we need to be mindful of the same.


Why & When Must You Rebrand


A rebrand is more than just a cosmetic renovation of a company.


There are times when a brand needs a simple image change and sometimes, inevitability catches up like bad karma. Regardless of the reason, the below pointers are sure to guide anyone on ‘why and when must you rebrand’.


Out with the old, in with the new

As times change and industry standards shift, the design for your brand could quickly look outdated. Three dimensional logos used to be huge two decades back, but most brands have shifted away from that to adopt a much more minimal 2 dimensional flat look in the current times. This is because the 2D logo is easy to scale, recall & be used consistently. A 3D logo, while giving a snazzy look, is inflexible, complicated, and produces inconsistencies on printed mediums (such as embossing & laser cutting) & smaller applications.


Brands like Google, Airbnb, Instagram, McDonald’s all have a simple 2D silhouette.

Inevitable brand expansion

As the famous saying goes “if you’re not growing, you’re dying”, and it is an open secret that the key to consistent growth is expansion. Trying not to plateau or evolve at a linear trajectory, brands often expand, offering new products, services, and others, venturing into uncharted waters.


As often as impending failure leads to expansion, success does the same, and the urge to expand remains a common denominator.


Regardless of the motivation to expand, rebranding is a great idea at this juncture and Dunkin’ Donuts’ masterstroke cannot be overstated.


Profitable in some parts of the world and running at a loss in others, Dunkin’ Donuts’ rebranded significantly as Dunkin’, not only changing its name but also the logo. Observing a marginal increase in revenue, Dunkin’ undertook this challenge to take on Starbucks like fast coffee brands and to steer away from being synonymous with selling doughnuts.




Realignment in values & vision

The brand ‘Uber’, under Dara Khosrowshahi decided to repair it's brand image, he promised to ‘Do the right thing’. However, as they started battling with negative press, their all-capital UBER logo, written in bold alphabets cueing a hyper-masculine outlook didn't help. They decided to rebrand (twice!) to create positive associations.



While working with the design studio ‘Wolff-Olins’, they created a brand new logo that stood for nothing but simplicity, global usage, and the fresh look translated well across all locales.


The aftermath of a bad PR

Remember the infamous YouTube ‘adpocalypse’ of 2017? Yes, the adpocalypse is a classic example of a PR nightmare when YouTube displayed advertisements from Pepsico, Nestle, Audi, AT&T, and other big brands before inappropriate videos. Calling them inappropriate is stating it mildly as some of these videos were racist, condoning terrorism or worse.


Losing over $750 million in a day, Google sprung into action to modulate ads to show before apt video content, enforced robust new algorithms, and of course, rebranded YouTube. Removing the red color that highlighted ‘tube’, separating it from ‘you’, and adding a red play button before ‘YouTube’, Google managed to salvage your favorite video hosting site from a certain disaster.



The logo rebranding was necessary not just to create a new impression in the user's mind. It was also to deny & disassociate itself from any rumored connection with an adult website that had a similar black & red logo, and the word ‘tube’ in it.


Needless to say, you don’t have a choice but to rebrand after a PR nightmare.


If you’ve merged or acquired with another brand

The brands that were performing relatively well, Vodafone and Idea, had to succumb to the mind-boggling tariffs and offerings launched by Jio.


The bold rebranding of Vodafone & Idea would set a lasting example in the branding industry.


Ogilvy group, the agency behind this genius, took the ‘V’ from Vodafone and ‘i’ from Idea and called it ‘Vi’, pronounced as ‘we’. The genius doesn’t end here as the inverted ‘i’ was retained which can also be seen as an explanation sign or, you guessed it, an “idea”.



This was a step towards establishing a magnanimous name in the industry by two mega stakeholders who, interestingly, had very different approaches to their customers. The big splash was also a strategic move towards building a formidable position, especially when the company was facing a financial crunch and planned on raising ₹25,000 crores to meet government dues, pay interest, and invest in operations.


The power of branding was again banked upon to create a positive and strong approach to address the challenge change brings in, in this case, a merger.


The Last Strand

The 1997 rebranding of Apple’s ad campaign and the ‘Think Different’ slogan is a classic case study in the branding world. A tumultuous time for Steve Jobs, Apple was witnessing a decline in market share, and the brand needed to convey a short and simple story to its customers.



Jobs invited ‘Lee Clow’ among other ad agency representatives to rebrand Apple to convey the best-suited message, and Lee Clow pitched the slogan ‘Think different. What is still known as one the most successful rebranding stories, ‘Think different’ not only changed the world view of Apple but also restructured the lackluster image that plagued the company.


Apple backed up the slogan by launching industry-defining products one after the other, and today is the pioneer in the product manufacturing market.



The Perks of Rebranding


Acquire a new audience

Brands must be on the lookout for new demographics, age groups, or audiences based on certain geography and rebranding works wonders in attracting a new audience if executed correctly.


Differentiating from the competition

Sooner or later, brands find themselves crowded in an industry niche that was earlier vacant for solid growth in business, and rebranding can be a strong differentiating factor from the competition.


Finding a fresh outlook & staying relevant

Smart businesses thrive with time as they constantly indulge in renovation and ideas to stay relevant. A good rebranding strategy can portray these efforts clearly to the audience, giving the brand a fresh outlook at the right time.


Strengthen & retain the core consumer

Consumer retention is a tricky business and when a loyal consumer looks elsewhere for a better product/service, you have potentially lost them. Rebranding can help reposition the perception of the said consumer by showcasing the offering transparently and attracting them with newer ones.


How to Rebrand Your Business?


Audit your brand

The first step to a rebrand is understanding what needs to be fixed. A deep dive into all the current touchpoints of the brand across the customer's path to purchase is a crucial step to determine the areas of improvement & scope of the rebrand itself.


This step will also allow you to brainstorm additional customer touchpoints that can be added to improve the experience someone has with your brand, increasing the brand's value.




Reiterate your business values, mission, and vision

Revisit the initial days of incepting your business and chart out what makes it special. The core values your business was built upon will be essential for rebranding.


Figure out what your consumers loved about you, and bringing some of that magic back can help build a stronger brand.

As much as the visual appearances coax the perception of your consumer, the tone, words, and voice you use in your messaging sets wonderful precedence for rebranding.


A strong vision is equally important as it is the foundation your business stands on and make sure to include necessary changes to your vision before rebranding.


Research the market, the competition, and your audience

It is imperative to grasp the changes that have taken place since the founding of your brand.


This study will immediately help you in catering to your older & newer audience alike whilst formulating a new robust rebranding strategy.


In the same process, thoroughly research your competition, and how to stand apart from them.