If you feel it’s time to rebrand for your company or organization, you probably already have an idea of the problem you want to solve. Maybe the creation of your existing branding wasn’t driven by a clear strategy. Or maybe it has simply become less effective over time. So it’s time for a fresh start — but you may be wondering where to begin. Read on to learn how you can make visual decisions that will ensure your rebranding strategy is designed to achieve real results.
1. A Smart Rebranding Strategy Requires That You Do Your Homework
The first step of your rebranding strategy should always be an assessment of where your brand stands currently. Your research should help reveal your brand’s position: what sets it apart from competitors, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and what opportunities for growth exist.
Targeted market and ethnographic research will help you get varied external perspectives on how your brand is perceived. At this stage, consider partnering with a brand strategy agency with expertise in brand tracking. And don’t forget to gather perspectives internally, too. Ask key stakeholders for their vision of how your brand should be perceived.
Once you’ve completed your research, synthesize it and share it internally. Why? Firstly, this research is the launch pad for your rebranding strategy. Secondly, it will help you secure buy-in from your most important stakeholders.
2. Define the Goals & Target Audience for Your Rebrand
Your next step involves taking your research insights and shaping them into a new trajectory for your brand. A rebrand isn’t just about creating a new logo or a tagline. It should be an evaluation of your company’s long-term goals, and the starting point for ongoing brand development. As you define your goal, keep in mind the 3 fundamentals of a brand strategy:
- What your brand stands for
- Your promise to your customers
- Your brand personality
Next, ask yourself a few questions. What do we want our brand to stand for? What promise does our brand make? What personality does our brand currently represent to our audience? If current perceptions don’t line up, your goal for your rebrand might be to more accurately reflect who you are.
Your research might also reveal new insights about your audience. Or maybe your industry landscape has changed, and it’s time to redirect your efforts toward a new audience. What does your research say about the average age, location and interests of your audience? Once you know who they are, you may realize you need to change your brand to appeal to them more effectively.
The bottom line: a successful rebrand needs a clear goal and a defined audience.
3. Build a Visual Strategy
A brand strategy defines why and how you do what you do. Visual strategy is the part that your audiences can see. And delivery is everything. To launch a successful rebrand, you’ll need to build a visual strategy that defines how all your visual content will be designed.
Why is it important to express your brand visually? Well, simply put, 94% of a brand’s first impressions are based on design. The visual strategy for your rebrand will consist of 2 important elements:
- Visual identity
- Visual content strategy
A visual identity is a codified system of visual elements that translates your new brand’s identity into a style that is easy to identify. This style should include a color palette, typography, and a style for illustrations, photography, and more. Make sure your rebrand’s visual identity is fully available internally, in the form of a brand book or set of brand guidelines.
A visual content strategy is the part of your visual strategy that defines the actions you’ll take to achieve the goal of your rebrand. Here are some questions that will drive your content strategy:
- On which platforms/channels will your brand be active?
- Which types of visual content will you produce?
- What are your tone and messaging guidelines?
To develop both key elements of your visual strategy, you’ll need to refer back to your goal and what you’ve learned about your audience.
To learn more about developing a visual strategy, check out our latest ebook.
4. Define Unique Visual Languages as Needed
Many companies launch into a rebranding effort because they’ve outgrown their current branding. The next iteration of your brand may need to accommodate different or emerging market segments, new product groups, or a new sub-company.
If that’s the case, there’s good news! A visual strategy is much more than a tool to launch your rebrand. It can also be a resource that drives future expansion and ensures your campaigns harmonize with your brand identity and reinforce your brand architecture. That’s true for two reasons. Firstly, having a clearly defined visual language for each sub-brand and campaign will help each one to stand out. At the same time, the visual strategy will strengthen the sub-brand’s relationship with the master brand.
You might have an immediate need for multiple unique art directions. Or these expansions might be on the horizon. Either way, you can always refer to your new visual strategy as the handbook on how to express your brand.
Your rebranding strategy will be shaped by your brand’s unique position, your audience, and your goals. But if you want to see results, it’s essential to do your homework. With the help of a brand strategy agency, you can gain a clearer picture of your audience, your industry, and your goal, then build a visual strategy to share your vision.