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10 Signs That It’s Time for a Rebrand 

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Ryan Paul

Companies can struggle to achieve the success they know is possible. They have great products or services and turn a profit but can’t seem to bring their business to the next stage of growth. What’s holding them back? It could be their brand. 

How can you tell if it’s time to refresh your brand? Pay attention to these tell-tale symptoms. If your company is experiencing any of the following challenges, it might be time for an update. 

Signs that it’s time to rebrand your business 

You ask 10 employees to describe your company and get 10 inconsistent answers

This could be a sign your company needs to work on its brand story and messaging. Employees might communicate what they know but not the full breadth of your company’s capabilities. You need to deliver a strong, focused brand narrative so audiences recognize the value of your entire enterprise and everything it encompasses. 

You’ve outgrown your brand

Your current brand reflects where you were, not where you’re going. Over time, your business has evolvedyou’ve shifted focus and expanded your offering. Your existing brand identity, while beloved by your organization, no longer stands for who you are and your future direction. 

Your name is no longer relevant

Maybe you’ve merged with or acquired another company, and your name needs to reflect the combined organization. Perhaps your brand name is tied to a legacy offering or a founder who left the company. Or maybe your name is an acronym thats hard to remember. A new name can improve relevance and give you more room to grow.

There’s been a change to your business strategy

Perhaps leadership has established new business goals, or your company is looking to be acquired. A refresh can align the brand with its business strategy, signal change in the market, and build appeal among potential suitors. 

Your business isn’t unique

If customers can’t tell the difference between you and your competitors, why would they choose your brand over theirs? When a brand blends in, it risks being overlooked. Differentiation is the key to standing out. Show the market that you’re special. 

Diversification has created brand confusion

Growth and diversification have created a complicated jumble of names, products, services, and brand identities, confusing audiences. Simplifying your brand architecture and nomenclature can bring focus to your organization and enhance customers’ understanding of what you offer.

You don’t have the tools needed to support sales efforts

Your sales teams create their own materials rather than using existing messaging and assets. Using one-off sales tools might address immediate needs but not the company’s long-term goals. To support the vision and positioning of your brand, materials should follow a clear communications strategy.

You need to shed negative perceptions

A series of missteps has tarnished your brand image. Rebranding can signal a change in mission or values or that your company is forging a new path forward. This approach can be highly effective but be mindfulreal change must first come from within. A cosmetic “reskin” can’t change a bad reputation or save a brand from poor products, services, or experiences.

Your identity does not translate well to digital environments

Your identity looks good on a business card, but it doesn’t flex to meet modern digital needs. A visual identity must work everywhere, from mobile screens to high-definition video to Times Square billboards. Refresh your visual brand to address legibility challenges and ensure it’s easy to use in any environment.

It’s hard to attract and hire top talent

Employees increasingly want to work for organizations whose values are aligned with their own. It’s possible that candidates don’t have a clear sense of your brand’s values or purpose. If talented people can’t glean insights into the company culture or what a brand stands for, they might seek employment elsewhere. 

Next steps to begin a rebrand

If you think it’s time to rebrand, consider these steps: 

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Get buy-in from leadership

Branding is a strategic initiative that must come from the top down. Get your senior leaders on board first before you begin. They need to be fully aligned and willing to actively take part in the process. 

Assemble your internal team

Gather a focused team who owns the rebrand process and can dedicate thoughtful time to the project. Empower them with the authority to make brand decisions.

Define your goals, budget, and timeline

Have a clear and realistic understanding of what your company is trying to achieve. Are you repositioning your existing brand? Are you creating a new brand? Allocate a budget and think about how soon you need the rebrand completed. Deadlines are helpful, toois there a trade show in the next 69 months where you might launch your updated brand?

Find the right branding partner

Do your homework and find a firm that fits. When evaluating potential branding partners, consider the following: 

  • Does their portfolio show how they solve complex branding problems and achieve results? 
  • Is the firm’s experience relevant to your business needs? 
  • Do they have a clearly defined and proven branding process? Are they able to communicate it clearly? 
  • Are the firm’s priorities, values, and personality aligned with your own? Does the partnership feel right during the evaluation process? 

Preparation is the key to a successful rebranding effort. By following these steps and staying fully committed, you can build a brand that helps your company realize its fullest potential. 

By Ryan Paul
Principal - Sustena
New York Office
As Sustena’s Creative Director, Ryan designs brands that help companies reflect who they are — or who they are becoming — and prepare for what’s next. He is an expert in logo development, visual identity systems, and brand communication design.

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