Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Is it time to rebrand? Four economic reasons

Four economic reasons it’s time to rebrand or repackage

The economy is moving again. Marketing continues to transform. We’re hearing “I need to update my marketing” or “It’s time to rebrand.” People—your buyers and consumers—want new, fresh, up-to-date. It could be time to rebrand to grab more attention.

When we talk about a rebrand, it’s usually for a company. This article, adapted from one written for Candy & Snack Today, also addresses package design. For a consumer food product, the package represents the brand even more than a logo or name.

Here we explore the concept of branding and its value to the success of a consumer product.

The goal of a great brand and package is for consumers to recognize what you offer at a glance; quickly understand how your candy or snack is different; see what the flavor profile is; and want to choose your tasty treat instead of someone else’s, right?

That’s the power of a brand. At a glance your consumers will respond“that looks good!” and “I want it!”

What is your brand, really?

packaging for frozen pies

The new brand and package for Willamette Valley Fruit’s frozen pies launched a new level of sales.

The brand is more than a logo or product name. In the consumer packaged goods (especially food products) industry, your package is the foundation of your product’s brand—the color, shape, style, story and name.

Your brand is also built from impressions received through advertising, PR and other marketing tactics … as well as the experience of those who have bought, tasted, savored, shared and bought again.

A brand starts with the logo or wordmark, but it’s also a complete visual and verbal system—online and offline. According to 3M Corporation, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Therefore, how you present your company and your product must start with what people see.

Most people have visual memories. We remember if we’ve seen a package form, shape or color before. Have you noticed how toddlers recognize shapes and colors long before they learn to read? The McDonald’s arches or a stop sign?

Yup. A great branded package generates that “at a glance” recognition.

And, over the long term, a brand is built on the perceptions of your organization and products. It starts with a visual system, but is built through experiences and interaction.

When is it time for a rebrand?

Many companies will consider a rebrand …

  • When there have been changes in the category
  • New competition has arrived
  • A company or product line has new ownership
  • There are new markets and audiences to pursue
  • Consumer tastes and perceptions have changed
  • There are new packaging formats or structures available
  • A product is reformulated or re-introduced

CC_Manifesto_Memes-11How can your company or product benefit from rebranding?

Remember a rebrand doesn’t focus on the wants and needs of the company. Its purpose is to focus first on the wants, needs and expectations of both current and prospective customers—buyers and consumers alike.

A rebrand can be small updates, or an extensive transformation. Think makeover and new outfit vs. plastic surgery. Sometimes it’s appropriate for a complete change.

Many times an update or refresh is what’s needed to maintain brand equity and consumer recognition but keep up with style and market changes.

To determine how extensive your rebrand could be, first explore why you might want to make a change—whether to go big and transform or update with a brand refresh.

Here are four great reasons to rebrand:

1. Stay competitive in your market

As the economy and your market changes, your brand and package must stay current. Your brand is the public face of your business and product line. Update your visual system to stay ahead of the rest and stand out on the shelf. Consumers also look for what’s new and different.

Just as fashions change, so do design styles. Your product in its old package with old colors, fonts and style, may look retro now (that could be cool) or it could just look tired and out of date, (not cool). If sales have gone down, take a look at your brand and package against the competition. How do you measure up?

a rebrand for Cookie packaging - 3 flavors

The rebrand for McTavish Shortbread kept the logo but redesigned the packaging and message to focus on flavors and the handmade cookies.

2. Stimulate growth and reach new audiences

Rebranding will streamline marketing around a central idea and look. Choosing how and where you connect with your audiences—beyond your packaging–will impact your brand system. How strong is your website? What about social presence? How and where do you connect with those who love your products? A strong brand will help you reach the right people more efficiently.

If you’re repositioning your product line for a new emphasis—organic, healthy, low-fat, natural, handmade, new flavors—to reach new audiences, a rebrand is a path to determine how best to stand out in the new category.

3. Move from emerging company to growing business

When a small business prospers and expands, a rebrand is often needed to reflect the change in audiences, geographic reach or scope. The packaging system and design that was fine when you started out is likely not a good fit when production ramps up.

You may also have learned more about who likes your products and why when you have wider distribution. Go beyond the visual and consider your message and story. That can add life to your brand and packaging. Update perceptions, focus on what people like most about your product, and prepare for further growth when it’s time to rebrand.

4. Match current technology and communications

Just as a company’s brand must reflect changes in size and market position, it must also reflect changes in expectations. Technology has shifted how your audiences find and choose you. How your brand is presented in new channels makes a big difference in response.

For a food product, think about how people buy. People today want more information about where their food comes from, how it’s made, who created it, how it’s packaged, etc. They want authenticity and transparency. If you have a story—about the founder, about the flavors, about how the product was created—they want to know.

Then look at how you can create an online community who shares the story, loves your products and offers fresh ideas for new flavors or different packaging. Use technology to create a stronger presence and greater recognition, online and offline. Today’s marketing is two-way, not just one-way.

Is it time to rebrand to bring fresh attention to what you offer? A rebrand is also an opportunity to re-evaluate where you fit in your market and to update for today’s younger audiences.

Create new visibility and bigger sales with packaging redesign:

Read more about branding, rebranding and brand refresh on our website.

You can download our free guidelines to a rebrand here:

Is it time to rebrand to boost attention and sales? Let’s talk. Drop me an email and we can schedule a conference call.

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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  1. Hi Jennifer,

    At what size would you consider a business to stick with its current brand?

    • Hi Joe, it depends on the company, current recognition and perceptions, and the competitive landscape. Company size isn’t a decision factor. The bigger question is “is it working to communicate what we want to be known for?”


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