Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Rename and Rebrand : Are you ready to embrace the change?

You’ve realized you need a rename and rebrand. Your name says nothing about what you do. People struggle to pronounce it. The only person who thinks she knows what you do is your mom … And your logo is, well, old.

Sound familiar? Well, just because you know you need a rename and rebrand doesn’t mean you’re actually ready for the time and effort required for success.

We’ve seen it. Organizations emphatically ask us about a rename and a rebrand … We agree, they definitely need it and we’re thrilled they’ve come to us!

Yet as we begin discussing options, exploring the link between positioning and naming, then dive into ideation to uncover the “far out” ideas or the logical ones, we hear more “ummm, maybe not” than “yes, let’s explore that further!” There’s push back and hesitation as we work to move forward.

You can’t just “need” a rename and rebrand … You must embrace the change.

To rename and rebrand, one must be willing to embrace change first.Our minds are tricky things. They’ll do anything they can to bring us comfort in uncomfortable or uncertain situations. If you and your team aren’t ready to embrace the change of a rename and rebrand, your minds will convince you it’s unnecessary. It’s a bad idea. You’re putting the cart before the horse. You’re already so well-recognized, why change?

Or … It’s too expensive. (Yes, it is an investment, not a minor expense.)

A new name and brand means EVERYTHING has to change — all new letterhead, uniforms, website, vehicle graphics, ads, email signatures, video branding, brochures, signing, etc.

Trust me, we’ve heard it all.

And if you’re not ready, what is an enlightening and energizing exploration becomes a hot mess that ends in disappointment.

But if you are ready … The process isn’t just fun … It’s eye opening and unifying.

During a rename and rebrand — when it’s done the way we do it — you’ll rediscover what your business stands for, what sets you apart. Your people will recognize the value they bring to the organization and your customers. They’ll be energized and enthusiastic. They’ll celebrate the new brand they helped create.

A rename and rebrand truly brings new life to your brand and your organization … when you’re ready for it.

How do you know you’re ready?

This purpose of this post isn’t to send you running from a rename and rebrand … And it’s not to convince you to rename and rebrand right now. This post is a way to help you be certain. It’s information to help you get everything out of your rename and rebrand that’s truly possible!

You’re ready if:

You can give up what you know

It’s human nature. Familiarity breeds comfort. What’s familiar is a known entity, there’s no mystery. It makes us happy. Change means something is unfamiliar. We don’t know what to expect, what others will say. It can be scary!

When it comes to branding, we associate certain industries with certain images, colors, fonts, and even names. For example, think of the branding for a mountain town. What imagery do you automatically see? Do you see fir trees? Mountains? Maybe a river? And possibly even a sun? Now think about branding for a dog shelter, what do you see? Definitely a dog or a paw. Maybe the outline of a house? And a friendly, child-like font?

As human beings we naturally categorize everything around us. It’s the only way to process all the information we  constantly take in. So we develop assumptions about certain things. For example, we assume a mountain town will look a certain way. When we see an image of a dog and a little home we automatically think dog shelter. By making these assumptions we’re able to focus. I’m not looking for a dog shelter so when I see that image, I can just assume it’s not what I’m looking for.

But branding is about standing out, not fitting in. 

As business owners, it’s an easy concept to understand, but it may be hard to embrace. Why? Because we like what we know. And we worry that everyone around us likes what they know, too.

What if you rename and rebrand to stand out and it scares everyone away? What if it’s so unfamiliar, they don’t recognize you? Trust us … They won’t panic. With early buy-in (ask your audiences about what your brand stands for and what keeps them coming back) and the right introduction to the new name, you won’t scare your audiences away. In fact, you’ll have a new reason to reconnect and remind them why they prefer you!

You know transformation must happen

It’s hard to let go. Ask any parent. The day I left my parents’ house for college was the first time I saw my mother cry … Since then, every time we part ways again she tears up.

Letting go and accepting that it’s time for your baby brand to grow up can be painful. You might get hung up on how things have been and the good and bad times your brand has helped you through. Nostalgia leads to associating all of your success with your current brand. And suddenly you decide you don’t need a rebrand. You’re fine where you are. (But are you, really?)

Stick with your gut. 

You decided rebranding was the right decision. And the right branding firm won’t handle your rebrand if they aren’t convinced it will help you and your business. Don’t let nostalgia or fear of change cloud your judgement.

Yes, your brand may have worked well in the past … But as time passes and the world of marketing changes (and boy does it change rapidly!) your brand program must grow with it.

You trust the process

Renaming and rebranding is like birthing a baby ... Lots of work with very little to show for it for the first nine months.In our office we like to joke that renaming and rebranding is much like birthing a baby … For the first 3-9 months (unless it’s an expedited rebrand, which we’ve done), you aren’t going to see the fruits of your labor. Your brand will be gestating.

You’ll see design concepts and messaging. You’ll see drafts for various directions and ideas. And you’ll answer a lot of questions about who your organization is, what makes you unique, what customers have to say, what you envision, what your purpose is.

But those tangible deliverables you want to show off … there won’t be any right away. A well-thought out rename and rebrand takes months. And that’s just for the foundational pieces — name development, identity design, positioning and messaging.

Once those foundational pieces are in place, it takes time to design, build and produce business cards, letterhead, signs, brochures, website, vehicle graphics, etc. You’ll reach a point in the process where you may question what you’ve done. You might question what your branding team is even doing. You might even question if it’s worth it.

Be patient. It really is worth it.

Trust the process. Know from the beginning you chose the right team. Understand the most important part of the rebranding process is invisible. It’s researching and exploring. It’s understanding who your competition is and what they offer. It’s sitting with the creative team and coming up with concepts from the wildly unexpected to the obviously mundane. It’s culling through ideas and messages to reach the essence. It’s pondering what words fit and how to express those words visually.

It’s revising over and over again until the visual and verbal brand reflect what’s unique about what you offer your audiences. What they can expect. Something memorable. Something that helps you rise above the rest.

You must go into the renaming and rebranding process expecting the unexpected. It’s an excavation and discovery. It’s thinking about who you are and what you offer in a new light. And expect that for a while, you’ll have very little tangible evidence that something incredible and powerful is being accomplished.

Finally, you trust you.

When rebranding, always trust yourself. Sometimes that means fighting committee rule.As Jennifer says, a camel is a horse designed by committee. Sometimes, a committee can’t be avoided. Especially in larger organizations, even rebranding and renaming requires a committee.

That means you must stand your ground with that committee … Especially when you consider the advice from your creative and marketing team vs. the advice of your committee whose members are likely nervous about change, or haven’t been trained to have the creative vision to see what’s possible.

Trust you chose your marketing team wisely. Trust you knew what you were doing when you decided to rename and rebrand in the first place. Trust the reasons to change that you identified up front.

I’m not just suggesting this because I’m on that creative team asking the tough questions and challenging the status quo. And I’m not offering this advice because I’m a life coach who wants you to learn to trust yourself (I’m not upbeat enough for that job). I’m saying this because …

  • More people = higher likelihood you’ll end up with the “safe” option, the lowest common denominator.
  • Committees tend to be about pleasing everyone, so outstanding design is sacrificed for “compromise.”
  • Everyone on your committee likely works for your company. Branding and marketing aren’t targeting them … A great brand reaches and motivates your target audiences … who may have a different outlook.
  • And a camel is a horse designed by committee.

Committees can be helpful. They can offer multiple perspectives and insight into what has worked in the past. But in the end, a committee needs a leader who’s willing and able to stand up and say, “This is the direction we’re going.” A leader who trusts his or her own vision and the marketing team he or she chose to make that vision a reality. Before rebranding and renaming, make sure you’re that leader.

Ready for a rename and rebrand?

Here are more resources to help you on your journey.

Ready to transform your brand and business? Talk to us.

We’re happy to discuss the process and scope as well as the amazing results we can create for you. You can also download more information on positioning, the place to start your rename and rebrand, below.


About the author

Alexandra Riecke-Gonzales

As a millennial who has also worked in social media marketing and management for the last 2 years, Alex really has the best of both worlds: As a millennial she knows what they want and how they communicate and as a social media marketer she is able to take that knowledge and put it to use for businesses. Of course, finishing up a Master's Degree in Communication doesn't hurt either, helping her understand the significance of context, channel, and messaging. She writes to encourage conversations that help others develop actionable branding strategies but more importantly, encourage conversations about the social media landscape today and how to best navigate it.

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