How to know when it is time to rebrand

Although every organisation is distinct and the motivations for rebranding can vary widely, there are several common factors that might lead a company to contemplate a rebrand.

Branding, Design, Digital Media, Marketing, Purple

Dan Wilkie 30 May 2024
3 mins
Two graphic designers working on colour palletes for a rebrand in a modern office environment

For companies looking to modernise their image, reposition themselves in the market, or signal an organisational shift, rebranding can be a powerful strategy.

But initiating a full rebrand is no small undertaking. Purple recently underwent its own rebranding strategy, an initiative spearheaded by Director of Digital, Glenn Langridge.

Glenn says the decision to return the company to its roots as Purple, rather than Cannings Purple as it was previously known, was a more accurate reflection of the diverse range of services now offered by the 40-strong agency.

Established as Purple Communications in 2004, the moniker Cannings was added to the company name in 2010 with the introduction of WPP (precursor, STW Group) as a significant shareholder.

While every organisation is unique and the impetus around a rebrand will be vastly different, there are a few common triggers that may prompt a company to consider rebranding.

One of the first triggers is an outdated feel, where a company’s logo, name or brand colour is no longer aligned with its purpose, especially if it doesn’t translate well to digital and social platforms.

Another key rebrand driver is major strategic change or new direction for the business that the current brand doesn’t capture, while leadership may want a relaunch to reintroduce the company and potentially convey a more modern, mature, or bold image.

“We see this a lot with companies that have gone through periods of growth and evolution,” Glenn explains.

“The rebrand allows them to hit reset in a way and declare ‘this is who we are now’ to consumers, investors and the workforce.”

The rebranding process

Purple’s comprehensive approach to rebranding, whether for itself or its clients, starts with upfront strategic work before any visual ideation.

“It can’t be just a tactical redoing of the logo,” Glenn says.

“We take a holistic look at defining the brand strategy – the name, brand architecture, value propositions, personality archetype, and other core elements.

“That strategic blueprint is what guides the visual identity.”

From there, the visuals take shape, starting with exploratory logo directions.

Typically, three distinct options are developed – perhaps one traditional/safe direction, one that is more cutting-edge or unexpected, and a third that takes a completely different visual approach.

“Presenting multiple creative directions allows clients to see the range of possibilities,” he says.

“Then we iterate on the selected direction, finalising the logo and expanding it into a full brand identity system with defined colour palettes, typography, graphics, and other unified visual assets.”

The visual components make up the brand identity system, but Glenn emphasises that the brand itself encompasses much more.

“The logo is just the figurehead,” he says.

“The brand is every single touchpoint a customer has with your company – your products, services, people, website, social presence, office environments, and more. A strong brand leverages that unified identity consistently across all of those touchpoints.”

Managing risks

For legacy companies considering a rebrand, there are inherent risks in potentially losing brand equity and recognition built up over many years. Even a total revamp of the logo and visuals represents a major change.

To address this significant upheaval, phasing in rebrands through a transitional period significantly helps to migrate audiences to the new identity.

More importantly, the messaging should emphasise how the updated brand will translate to a superior experience.

“Most customers don’t really care about logo updates themselves,” Glenn says.

“They want to know what’s in it for them. Does this rebrand mean you’ll be more innovative, more competitive, provide better products and service? You need to lead with how it will enhance their experience, not just featuring the new visuals.”

Measuring impact

Gauging the impact and success of a rebrand can take several different forms.

“You have to establish benchmarks upfront for quantifiable metrics like website traffic, social media followings, brand sentiment analysis, and so on,” Glenn says.

“Then you measure any fluctuations against that baseline after the new brand rolls out.”

More qualitatively, rebrands are often intended to reposition the company in the market or achieve goals like increasing brand perception.

Tailored brand awareness studies can measure audience recall and shifts in opinion over time.

“At the end of the day, you want the new brand to better resonate and connect with customers,” he says.

“If all the touchpoints are well-executed, the brand should be recognisable without even seeing the name.”

For companies willing to take a comprehensive and strategically grounded approach, a successful rebrand can pay major dividends in rewiring how the market views and engages with their business.

But a brand’s identity is much more than just skin deep – it’s the total customer experience brought to life.

If your company is considering rebranding or if you would like to take a deep dive into how your brand is faring in your market, we’d love to have a conversation.

Dan Wilkie More from author

Dan is an accomplished journalist, editor and content creator with more than 12 years of experience in financial media.

In addition to holding several senior roles in the Business News editorial team, Dan was responsible for launching Australia China Business Review and was most recently editor-in-chief at Australian Property Investor.

Dan has a strong eye for detail and an exceptional ability to succinctly and accurately craft high-quality content tailored for a client’s needs across a wide range of industries.

Outside of work, Dan is an island enthusiast with a penchant for the South Pacific, and in the cooler months can often be found roaming the forests of Jarrahdale with his young family.

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