To Rebrand or Not to Rebrand?

Elke Farnworth
October 27, 2020

That is the question. Whether it is easier in the consumer’s mind to stay as is and suffer “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, or to take arms against staying safe.

Here's the truth. There is a time and a place for everything. A time to develop your brand, rebrand and refresh; and there's always a time to quote Hamlet. But who? What? When and where?

Before I break it down, it's come to my attention that many people don't quite understand what a brand is. Some people think it refers to apparel wear. Or a layer of communications for your product or service. Or merely just a logo and tag line.

The need for branding is a symbiotic matter of differentiation and consistency. As many objects of the same make emerge, the only way to distinguish between alternatives is by adding distinctions to your business identity.

We too are our own brands, and we are always evolving. With the clothes we wear, the tattoos we add, even the things we are known to say or do. It's the same with your brand. It is important to add that there is an exact association between how humans respond to brands because the brand is an extension of the way they perceive, judge and behave. Hint: knowing this is insight and could revolutionise your brand strategy. Brands are people too.

A brand is also what people say about you when you're not around. Your brand is what your mate Jeff thinks of when he hears your business name. It's everything the public knows about what your name brand offers. Right down to the feeling of your business card between your clients' fingers. It's who you are, what you do. Or perhaps it's how the world perceives who you are and what you do. True in life and in business, these brand attributes communicate a wealth of information in a single glance or touchpoint, helping humans navigate the paradox of choice. Evermore, perception is everything.

Advancements in technology have created increasingly high expectations in every aspect. There are more channels, more choice, more confusion, more noise - less signal. In these chaotic times it's fair to ask yourself: To Rebrand or not to rebrand?


Picture this, you're in conversation with a potential client, and they ask you what your website is or ask for a business card. If for one second you hesitate because you feel it doesn't represent you or your business, I'm sorry to break it to you; it's definitely time to rebrand.

Unless you're hard-selling, you should never have to over-explain your value to potential clients to try and get them to understand what you do.

Another reason could be that your reputation may hold your brand back so an overhaul is necessary to break ties with whatever may have happened, visibly demonstrating a commitment to a new, improved culture.

People can always tell when you're not confident in what you offer, and they're certainly not going to risk their investment on something that sounds uncertain. Rebranding your business will allow you to fall back in love with your brand and allow consumers to look at it through a new lens. You will feel good about sharing it.


Occasionally, we see an outfit we wouldn't be caught dead wearing just because it's out of style. Truth is that times are changing and ways of doing things keep on evolving; therefore if you keep doing the same thing you did ten years ago, you will only stifle your growth. Brands are designed to connect companies with consumers, so if you reposition your business to target a completely new customer profile, whether that’s with product, place, price or promotion - your brand will need to follow suit.

No, your website doesn't need to bring someone to tears, but we're living in an advanced digital era, maybe it's time to add colours and fill it with beautiful images and interactive, responsive features. After all, colour has a lot to do with mood and can even increase conversion.


Maybe your brand was suited to a time and for a particular audience but there's a chance you're no longer attracting the right people. With more young people working in B2B business, a rebrand allows you to stand out and realign with the direction you want your business to be heading.

You may have an agile brand strategy but to keep up with the evolving needs of your consumers, especially those who are new to, or unfamiliar with your business, rebranding might be the answer. The good news is you don't need to overhaul everything. Instead, focus on the individual areas where you can re-evaluate the offering and services, and shape your brand for the audience who you have yet to connect with. This may include altering your tone of voice, publishing new content, updating your image and hiring new people to expand in avenues that you know will benefit both you and the audience you'd like to attract.


Your business mission, vision and values should govern every decision you make - including brand decisions. Maybe when starting out, the business offered a particular type of goods or service and a brand was built around that - even the name might reflect this. But as the business has grown the product line/services have also grown. Your aspirations for the business may have grown too. This means the previous branding has been outgrown and needs to be revamped.


It's still hard to believe that this is a legitimate reason but cheers to 2020, right? I'm not saying that because of the pandemic you should rebrand but, the brave new world of the pandemic is evolving to deal with its impact. The way we think, do and buy is now different. Whether we like it or not, a fresh new era has begun.

It's about understanding the role of the pandemic as an accelerator and re-setter of consumption patterns. The most significant angle is the challenge of offering value(s) relevant to the new reality. Covid-19 has rewired consumption instincts built over the years, or conversely, depleted many of them back to ground zero. Don't hold your breath and hope that consumers will simply come walking back into your brand after lockdowns as surprising windows of opportunity are being opened as we adapt to a new consciousness. Necessity is the mother of invention. You need to be where your consumers are, whether that's online or not. You need to stand out. So, maybe a rebrand is what your brand needs to stay top of mind.


In the world of branding, a refresh is a tactical manoeuvre. Think of it like a personal makeover, a better haircut, an up-to-date outfit and new shoes. A refresh can maintain or update recognised visual elements. It could be a new look, tone and presentation of the overall style bringing fresh recognition. This may be required to stay top of mind.

It's important to remember with a brand refresh, it's pretty much skin deep. If you don't have a robust brand strategy already behind it, your new wheels will eventually start to squeak.


As well as all these, there are many more reasons to rebrand. As with everything, being aware of the risks can help you determine whether or not you're rebranding for the right reasons. If you're only considering rebranding because the last months’ reports are looking low and your brand awareness strategy doesn't seem to be paying off, you might want to reconsider - this could be dire for your underlying strategy. Another thing to be aware of is that any significant changes could in fact erode the brand’s existing brand equity in the process. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”


Rebranding is like a New Year’s resolution - it takes strong determination to make a change in something. April Ford can guide you through the design and positioning process, but only you can be ready to make the first step and committed to change.

As the marketplace evolves, so must brands evolve to satisfy ever-changing consumer needs and wants. As much as brands and companies may wish it to be otherwise, a brand is a reaction to consumer culture – not the reverse. The advertising industry is in the midst of a period of change that is on one hand, almost terrifying and on the other, an exciting universal shift.

We're here for it. And you.