Perform Brand Design


Rebranding is simply the re-branding of an existing brand, i.e. the re-development of the entire brand identity. It usually refers to the development of a graphic design or a complete redesign of the structure (including brand strategy, renaming and brand architecture). The process is carried out when, for certain reasons, a brand can no longer function in its current form.

Most often, it is about improving the image in the eyes of the audience, changing the positioning or target group. It used to be a process reserved only for crisis situations (Olins 1995), but for some time now, it has been a tool used to generate growth or reduce marketing costs.

Rebranding is a multidimensional and multidisciplinary process involving several aspects of branding. To people not involved in marketing, rebranding is associated with the metamorphosis of a brand’s logo. And this is partly true. However, this change is usually the result of previous analyses that comprehensively cover the full spectrum of an organisation’s communication activities. The brand revamp is usually accompanied by the need to simplify marketing and improve the perception of the brand in the eyes of current and future potential audiences, which follows directly from the brand strategy. Rebranding also initiates the targeting of the product offering to a new target group, preferably without churning out existing customers, which can be challenging. The scope and purpose of rebranding is slightly different each time, however, it almost always hooks into making improvements at the level of brand strategy and communication.

Rebranding is a delicate process that requires a great deal of experience, as in many cases great stakes are at stake. From Elsten and Hill’s (2017) analysis, it emerged that the brand is responsible for more than a quarter of a company’s intangible assets. Unfortunately, few companies have an awareness of brand value. The Global Intangible Finance Tracker 2019 shows that the total contribution of intangible assets, including brands, to the value of a company is 48%. However, only 6% and 8% relate to disclosed intangible assets and disclosed goodwill, respectively. The remaining 34% is undisclosed value. This means that in many cases, the modification of brands, touches one of the organisation’s most valuable assets!

Rebranding objectives

This is why rebranding is a serious undertaking that requires a delicate approach. Typically, a brand identity is redefined, i.e. the answer to the question “Who are we really today?”. And an image is also reviewed – “Do brand audiences see us as we would like to be seen?”.

What can such a change achieve?

Cleaning up the image

As a result of dynamic growth, many companies are starting to suffer from a lack of strategy and are no longer in control of the number of offers in their product portfolio. Promotional campaigns lack consistency and are difficult to coordinate. Rebranding in such cases helps to simplify visual activities, take a lot of unnecessary work off the shoulders of marketers, make the design of further materials or brands cost neither a lot of time nor money, and all together create a distinctive look and feel.

Mergers and acquisitions

The merger of two or more organisations requires a strategic approach. Sometimes the aim is to signal that the merging companies are equals. Or, on the contrary, when one dominant player absorbs others, an idea is needed of how to integrate them into the architecture of the parent brand. Sometimes a new name is needed to encompass all the new possibilities of the merging companies under its umbrella. Here, formal decisions within the organisation are the basis for developing a new corporate identity system. It is also a good time to take stock of each brand’s achievements and define a clear vision of where the new quality is heading. Rebranding then sends a strong signal to the outside world that here is the birth of a new leader in a specific field.

Dealing with the crisis

A brand gets into trouble either quickly, overnight, or it continues slowly, for years, until at some point its gestors realise that the need to respond has become acute. The aim of such a rebranding is to dissociate from the crisis situation. Sometimes a brand has to change its name because of a trademark conflict. Or it no longer does what it did in the beginning of the business and no longer wants to mislead the audience. What is needed is a complete change – a new positioning, a new strategy and a new identity system, and the idea of introducing a new image so as to fix what is not working and actually solve the problem.

Our clients turn to us most often with the following challenges:

Image rebranding

The most important reason for change is the desire to improve the perception of the brand by the wider stakeholder community (including moving away from an awkward situation or association). A need has arisen to reign in the graphic image of the company, product or service. When, over the years, customers move away from the brand and start choosing other, more attractive, foreign, younger brands (although at the product level there is actually no difference or there is, but we are the better ones) it is worth improving the sales situation precisely by strengthening the brand position.

The most common motivations indicating the need for rebranding:

  • We would like to position the brand differently.
  • Our name does not fit at all with what we do today.
  • We wish to turn towards the young.
  • Our logo, our packaging does not stand out at all.
  • Nobody knows who we are! After 20 years of hard work only our products are still associated! Not the brand!
  • Our value is underestimated.
  • Sometimes I am embarrassed to say who I work for.
  • We offer an unprecedented service and give the impression of a backward company.
  • Realistically, we can do a lot more than our clients think.

Financial rebranding

The primary objective becomes getting the business to a point where the perception of the brand by the industry environment, including lending financial institutions and customers, becomes at least correct. Perhaps, after years of presence in the market and having amassed a wealth of experience, the brand wants to join the major market players or is just entering into a partnership with a large entity whose image intimidates and which it would be useful to grow into. Sometimes salespeople are no longer able to explain on their own what the current positioning of the company entails and it is rebranding that helps to signal that we are dealing with a much broader offer than is commonly attributed to the company in question. Rebranding here is the first step in communicating the positioning and strengthening the strength of the brand. Financial rebranding is also the one that tidies up the brand architecture and immediately simplifies any subsequent image action and relieves the company of the financial burden.

What we usually hear in this case:

  • We need to raise financial support, capital for development and investment.
  • It turns out that our logos may come into conflict with trademarks. We have to change them for purely legal reasons.
  • Marketing is becoming unbearably difficult and expensive. We need to keep hiring new people to handle individual brands, create new names and order new packaging designs.
  • Our products look like they were created by different companies.
  • Everyone in marketing works independently, doing the job in their own way. We keep reinventing the wheel, which becomes inconsistent and graphically distracts the brand. Not to mention the cost.
  • Our symbol is known and loved by millions of Poles. The problem is that the outlined, multi-coloured logo is not at all legible. It needs to be refreshed. It needs to be improved without losing the character of the brand.
  • Our visual identity worked well online. However, transferring it to wards and physical materials is very expensive.
  • Our portfolio is over 100 products with inconsistent nomenclature. How do we manage all this?

Strategic rebranding

The task of rebranding is to increase the perceived value of the brand. Sometimes it is about the product itself, so that customers’ price sensitivity is quickly reduced and they start selling at a higher price. The desire may be to reverse the sales-brand relationship so that the energy to buy finally starts to come from the brand’s audience (without sales activation). Another strategic objective of our clients is sometimes to improve the brand image as an employer (employer branding). The idea, of course, is to increase the interest of potential employees and stop the outflow of current ones. Rebranding shows the brand as a trustworthy partner, both for customers, employees and the industry environment. The changes we make can also be an important part of combating commonly held false beliefs about a brand or its category. After rebranding, the barriers, fears and reasons why people do not buy disappear or are significantly reduced.

Examples of situations that lead to rebranding:

  • We are just merging with another company.
  • Our target group is not the right one.
  • We are launching a new product, and we need an idea of how to integrate it into the current portfolio of the company, which, however, deals with a slightly different subject matter and for which it is already known.
  • The competitor’s image campaigns bring it more ROMI than our sales department is able to sell in the best season! We want to have that too.
  • We have developed a new product that is likely to be a game changer. This is an unprecedented project. We need to show up under a new brand, but one that harmonises with the company’s current graphics.
  • We need help to enter a new geographical market.
  • Our name cannot work in the new market where we are starting to sell – it connotes negatively and is misleading.
  • We want to finally get in line with the biggest competition!

How to carry out rebranding?

Rebranding is a unique event. It is an extensive process that is worth preparing well for, especially when leading larger organisations through change. Both strategic and creative forces are needed. Knowledge and practice become key, and as we know – rebranding is not done often, hence it is difficult to find a partner experienced in this area. Let’s go through its key stages together. Typically, the activities proceed in the following order:

STAGE 0 Awareness of need

There comes a point in the life of a company when, one day, the need for change is identified. The reason for this may lie elsewhere each time, because, as we all know, every brand is different. The analysis provides information, arguments as to why rebranding is necessary and a clear objective is defined. A plan for carrying out the process is created.

STAGE 1 Brand strategy

Identifying a brand’s current situation is crucial to the whole endeavour. The first step to a new one is always a step back – gathering, as much as possible, knowledge about the organisation, its customers and the market in which it operates. Rebranding starts with looking again at the brand strategy and planning a new one. This is accompanied by audits, a brief is produced and the company usually decides to work with a specific creative partner to look after the process.

STAGE 2 Rebranding design

This is where the solution designs are created, realising the specific objectives of the brand gestor. Hence, it is most beneficial if the design stage takes place simultaneously to the previous, strategic one. If possible, designers attend brand needs formulation meetings and co-create solutions on an ongoing basis. This increases the chances that the strategy guidelines will be seamlessly translated into an image strategy. The result of this stage of work is one, maximum three, but good and refined directions for the brand. These take into account all the nuances mentioned in the previous phases of work.

STAGE 3 Implementation of the rebranding

This is an equally important stage, which is unfortunately often underestimated. If it is handled well, tools are created that will serve the brand for years to come. This is where we will see, first-hand, the possible mistakes made at the strategic stage and the possible ignorance of the designers.

Good design defends itself and does not require extensive explanations. The brand gestor can see clearly where we are going and how the idea performs in tests – how the system translates into specific media, formats and marketing materials. A concept for launching the new image in the market and communicating the change within the organisation is created.

This is also a technical stage and usually results in standardisation and descriptions of system elements. A communication manual is produced, which also presents the strategy and practical examples from the brand world (brand manual).

STAGE 4 Communication inwards

Parallel to the implementation stage, thinking begins about how to communicate the rebranding to employees. This is not an easy topic because change can initially create resistance in people. And if the change is not presented as strategic and we do not explain how we will earn more (and work less) on the brand, the new rules may be deliberately ignored by existing and new employees. The larger the organisation, the greater the difficulty communication to the inside raises.

STEP 5 External communication

This is the final stage of the rebranding, but also the first day of the brand’s life after the change. This is where the great adventure of brand management begins. It’s the right time to harness the energy of the moment and point out that the rebranding and all that the team has achieved together can be a source of pride.

The new image, once made public and communicated, introduces a number of changes to the daily duties of employees. These may be quite different from the way they used to work. This is the time to form new habits. The new communications will continue, and it is the task of the rebranding team to ensure consistency in the subsequent stages after the so-called ‘day zero’. So that the objective behind the rebranding is successfully implemented.

What is the desired effect?

The most extensive study of brand rebranding on the Polish market was conducted by Natalia Wojciechowska, PhD. Her analysis, published in Does It Pay to Rebrand, showed in what situations and after what time we can expect effects from rebranding.

The most extensive study of brand rebranding on the Polish market was conducted by Natalia Wojciechowska, PhD. Her analysis, published in Does It Pay to Rebrand, showed in what situations and after what time we can expect effects from rebranding.

Going into detail, brands that carried out a strategic rebranding or merger, extending the brand name into new categories, achieved better profitability indicators (ROA) one year after the corporate rebranding, indicators such as ROI also increased, while ROE also increased two years after the rebranding, as well as net profit, already one year after the rebranding. In contrast, companies that opted for rebranding with a name change achieved better ROI results two years after the change, and net profit also increased two years after the name change.

Are you planning a brand rebranding?

Rebranding is neither an easy nor a quick undertaking, it concerns one of the most valuable and delicate assets of most organisations,. For more than 10 years I have been accompanying clients of the PBD agency precisely in extensive rebranding processes, hence I realise that the better prepared we are for the process, the greater the chance that we will not make unnecessary mistakes and will avoid certain pitfalls that always appear on this path.

If you would like to talk about your brand, analyse the situation together with me or a team of designers with many years of experience and who specialise in rebranding, I invite you to get in touch. Perhaps the presence of outsiders, the experience gained from many rnebrandings and their fresh perspective on the business will bring hard-won knowledge to the process and even make you look at rebranding in a completely different way.