Why begin and what to consider?

Rebranding, or a brand makeover, is more common than you might think. It ranges from minor adjustments in color or font usage to the development of an entirely new brand identity, including a new name. Our Senior Communications Advisor Marlous explains the why and how of brand development in this article.

Marlous van de Wiel
Marlous van de Wiel | Senior Communications Advisor | E-mail Marlous

Not every brand makeover is equally successful. Take the case of clothing brand GAP, which decided to introduce a new corporate identity featuring a logo consisting solely of the brand name. The iconic blue box was only incorporated in a small way atop the last letter. Within six days, the rebranding was reversed. The reason: existing customers were ‘not amused.’ They found the new logo unattractive and ordinary. Customers were also not involved in the development of the new logo. What we can learn from this is that you should take the history into account, especially when it is long and positive, as in the case of GAP. An emotional bond has been established between the logo and the customers. Moreover, nothing changed in GAP’s proposition, which also played a role in customers’ opinions.

Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice-versa.

Jay Baer
Solid reasons

When do you choose rebranding?

While it is wise to carefully assess your current brand and image, there are certainly good reasons to opt for a rebranding/brand makeover. Here are the most important reasons, listed randomly:

  1. A New Positioning: The organization has a new strategy and identity, and the current positioning no longer aligns well with it. You want to clearly communicate the new policy and everything related to it.
  2. Changing Market: The customers of 5-10-25 years ago may not be the same as today’s customers. The same goes for the competition. Are you still distinctive enough? Does the current positioning provide enough guidance in this changing world?
  3. Mergers and Acquisitions: When two (or more) companies come together, there is a need for a clear message. This is who we are now, and this is what we stand for. The change becomes immediately apparent when repositioning is chosen.
  4. Reputation Damage: It doesn’t happen very often, but if your brand has suffered significant damage to its reputation, choosing repositioning can be a smart move. A fresh start.
  5. Outdated Image: Your services and products may be up-to-date, but if you are seen as an old-fashioned and dusty company, you have a problem. Image is everything. Did you know that Shell has changed its logo more than 8 times since 1909? And what about Pepsi? This video nicely illustrates the logo changes.
  6. New Management: A new CEO often means a breath of fresh air, a new direction. And, therefore, an excellent opportunity to breathe new life into the brand. Steve Jobs, for example, replaced the iconic rainbow apple with a modern, metallic version at Apple.
  7. Internationalization: As soon as you expand your business across borders, you need to consider different languages, cultures, and ways of doing business. A good time to scrutinize your current branding and see if it fits in an international setting. Because the world is becoming more accessible, this is often already taken into account. But brands like Croky, which became Lays, and Raider, which became Twix, have made this change during their international expansion.
  8. Necessity: If a brand you launch looks too much like an existing brand, you will need to adjust the branding. Also, if you use recognizable elements from third parties but no longer have permission to use them, you will have to go through repositioning.
  9. Brand Portfolio: Over the years, companies can manage a variety of different brands, leading to a proliferation of the brand portfolio. It’s likely that even internally it’s no longer clear what belongs to what, and this is certainly the case for the public. This is a good time to reassess your brand architecture. Brand architecture is fascinating subject matter that we’ll surely revisit in a future article.
brand makeover examples
Take a step back

Opted for rebranding... and then what?

Choosing a rebranding process is one thing, but that’s just the beginning. Before immediately looking to a creative agency that can develop a beautiful brand, it’s essential to take a step back.

  • Costs vs. Benefits

Ask yourself, “What will this rebranding cost, and what will it deliver?” And while you’re at it with the business case, remember that realization also requires implementation! From the website to brochures and from trucks to buildings, actual implementation can cost up to 20 times the investment in realization. Start with an inventory: is it just a logo or a complete new (visual) identity? Where will the corporate identity be used, and what is needed to adapt it to the new corporate identity? This way, you can make a good estimate of the required investment, both in terms of time and money.

  • Resources

Rebranding is time-consuming and complex. It’s not something you do on the side. A team from within the organization, supplemented with external agencies, forms the project team. It should be a mix of experience and knowledge from the organization and expertise in the field of marketing communication, brand strategy, and design. Clearly define roles, tasks, and responsibilities for everyone and plan the alignment and decision-making moments.

  • Substance vs. Image

A successful rebranding begins with capturing the essence of your brand. Who are you, what do you stand for, what makes you unique and distinctive, who is your target audience, and who is your competition? By having a clear understanding of these aspects, you can translate them not only into the visual identity but into all aspects of your brand.

  • More than just a logo change

If you choose a complete brand makeover, it should be applied to all brand touchpoints, from offline to online, from audio to video. No matter how small the adjustment may be, ensure that you encompass everything. It’s preferable to implement these changes comprehensively from the start. Otherwise, you risk being confronted with old materials years later. Many organizations opt to use up the old branding materials before fully transitioning to the new branding. In this case, the rebrand is developed but implemented in phases, often due to financial reasons.

  • Getting everyone on board

Employees, customers, and other stakeholders have a particular perception of the branding that the organization currently uses. Therefore, it’s essential to involve them in the rebranding process. Allow them to provide input, participate in a testing panel, or become part of an evaluation committee. Keep them informed through storytelling, social media, newsletters, blogs, and vlogs. This way, you achieve a higher level of acceptance and create brand ambassadors for your (new) brand. It’s a win-win situation.

Let's go!

A big bang

After an intense period, everything is ready and prepared. Time to go ‘live’ with the new positioning! Be proud and show it! Roll out the repositioning all at once. Think about a launch party, an internal kick-off, and/or a strategic campaign. You have a great reason to make a big splash and get attention. Everything to energize and establish your new brand in the market. Both internally and externally because winning outside starts on the inside.

A brand makeover is hard work

The launch of your new brand is not the final destination. It is the beginning of a new phase in the brand’s life. A brand is hard work. Always measuring, monitoring, and optimizing. Putting in the effort for the right perception of your brand, conveying the values, and implementing the identity in all aspects. So that your brand continues to align with who you are, the market you serve, and the customers and consumers you want to connect with.


Last but not least

Planning is absolutely key. Make sure to create a clear and realistic schedule. Have you set the target date, the day when the brand makeover should be officially unveiled? Then work backward from there. Key milestones in the strategic phase (content), realization phase (development), and implementation phase (rollout) provide guidance for the schedule. This way, you can see whether you are still on track and make adjustments if necessary. Furthermore, a detailed schedule gives everyone involved a clear overview of when things will happen and what is expected of them.

Is your organization considering the idea of rebranding?

Schedule a meeting for an exploratory conversation with one of our effect makers. You can reach them via or call them 030 41 00 790 .