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Need a new coat of paint? Let’s “talk” rebranding

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The metaphor of "spring cleaning" sums up quite well what rebranding can be. But it's not necessarily due in the spring.

Who doesn't know it? The birds are chirping, the first buds are sprouting from the ground, the days are getting a little longer again, the sun is gaining strength. Every year we can experience anew how beautiful it is when spring comes. But with spring also comes - of course - spring cleaning. For many a horror, but usually urgently necessary.Now, of course, the question arises, what exactly does spring cleaning have to do with marketing or an agency? The answer can be found in rebranding, and let's take a look at what exactly that is. 

What is rebranding? 

Before we answer the question of what rebranding actually is, we would like to explain what "brand" means. 

"Brand", the English word for brand, refers to the sum of all characteristics, ideas and features associated with a product or service presented under a managed brand name. This sounds very abstract - but when we talk about the brand "Coca Cola", everyone immediately has the white, curved lettering on a red background in mind. If you want to build a brand, you need a brand name - what the brand should be called for customers, characteristics that people should associate with the brand and its products, and features (including what differentiates it from the competition). 

Let's stay with our Coca Cola example: the brand name is fixed and many people associate it with, for example, a black soft drink (characteristic) that has been drunk by many people for many years. Of course, these are not all the characteristics of Coca Cola, there are many more. Traits: One visual distinction from competitor Pepsi is probably the color scheme - While Coca Cola is known for a red and white logo, people know Pepsi for the round, multi-colored logo (red, white, blue). These are examples of how a name is associated with a product. 

Of course, there is much more to explain what exactly a brand is in detail, but since everyone has come into contact with several brands at one time or another and we encounter them in multiple forms every day, that should suffice for now. 

So, let's get down to business: what is rebranding? 

The term "rebranding" comes from marketing and, roughly speaking, it refers to the "revitalization" of a corporate image or brand. Rebranding is a method that can't be applied quickly, because on the one hand it's a long-term process that needs to be well thought out, and there also needs to be a good reason for it. After all, if a brand is well received, why change it? But more on the reasons later. 

For many, rebranding is mainly about changing the logo or other graphic elements. In fact, that's only part of it, because rebranding aims to improve a brand's position through tweaks and changes. 

Rebranding can include the following changes: 

  • Colors and graphic elements of a brand 

  • Advertising slogan 

  • Products 

  • Packaging

  • Offers

  • Brand name 

  • Target group

  • Distribution channels 

  • Addressing the target group 

Rebranding is therefore a change in marketing within a company, but not just the graphic adaptation of a logo. Rebranding means that a company completely repositions itself with its brand. The aim is to reach consumers who are already familiar with the brand, but who now need to experience a new side and positioning. 

The metaphor of "spring cleaning" actually sums up quite well what rebranding can be. But it's not necessarily due in the spring. Let's take a look at when it might be time for rebranding. 

Reasons for rebranding 

You can probably compare a brand somewhat to a person: they change and they grow. This is something positive, because change always offers the chance to optimize and adapt - for example, to a new target group. But when is it time for rebranding? 

Outdated appearance 
⁠Brands get on in years too, and the appearance is probably the first to show it. It's not the case that you have to think about it every year, but the design should be re-evaluated and looked at again and again. Here's our tip: Don't immediately throw the entire design overboard, but rather adapt it step by step. If there are facets of the design that have always existed, these can be retained in a modified form.

Maintain competitiveness 
⁠The competition never sleeps - most companies know this. For example, if the biggest competitor is threatening to get even bigger, it may be time for a rebrand. This is all about positioning and brand personality. If you want to learn more about this, feel free to check out our blog post on it.

Changing the business model 
⁠New innovations come to the market, the focus shifts, the product portfolio is supplemented or revised. This can also have an impact on the business model. If these are large and the positioning also changes, it is definitely time for a change in branding. After all, what a brand stands for must also be clearly communicated when there are new products or services. 

Negative brand image
⁠This reason probably speaks for itself, and unfortunately, sometimes it happens faster than you'd like. In the age of social media, brands can quickly suffer from a "shitstorm." If you want to recover from this and emerge stronger, you should think about a new positioning. 

Company takeover or merger 
⁠This change is very similar to that of the changing business model and the reasons for rebranding are pretty much identical. If there is a new focus or even new partners in a company, the positioning needs to be rethought. 

Changing the name 
⁠Consumers are experiencing this more and more often, too. "Wait a minute, didn't JYSK used to be called Danish Bettenlager?" Absolutely correct! And with the new name, the opportunity of the new brand personality, new positioning and new communication should be thought of right away.

⁠This affects start-ups and founders very often. In the beginning, it's first about getting the store up and running. Corporate design, image and personality usually come later - therefore: as soon as the start-up grows and flourishes, you should think about how the existing (automatically) created branding can be changed and adapted. 

Besides these 7 reasons, there are of course many more. The target group has changed? Yes, this is another reason to think about rebranding. But soft factors, such as the perception of one's brand (especially in family businesses) can also play an important role. Sometimes it also helps to go back to the core, the reason why you started a business. And if this reason is no longer communicated in the same way over time, rebranding can also take place in the form of "thinking back". 

What needs to be considered? 

Why rebranding has already been a topic for one or the other, or will be soon, is now probably clear. The only question that remains is: What do I need to consider? 

  1. A good objective: The objective should be as specific as possible, because the objective determines the scope of the rebranding. 

  2. Set a budget: Yes, a new coat of paint is also always a question of budget. And that should be clarified before the "painting" can start. 

  3. Explore the market: After all, you want to continue to differentiate yourself from the competition and that also changes over time. Therefore: Keep an eye on the market and be aware of your competitors (not only the competition, but also other market forces). 

  4. Toss or Take? It is important to clarify which brand elements should be retained and which should be changed. You also don't want to overwhelm or alienate your existing target audience. Most importantly, what gets "dumped" should be dumped for a reason.

  5. Professional should it be: Brands should bring any form of support in-house to help them pull off the change as professionally as possible. It doesn't help anyone if the new positioning embodies great values, but the design results in a loss of quality. 

  6. Talk about it: Once the rebranding is complete, it should be decided whether there will be an announced relaunch or a soft transition. Once that has been decided, it also determines the form in which it will be communicated to the world that a brand has a new "face."  

Of course, rebranding should not violate current law, discriminate against people or obviously put one's foot in one's mouth. Our tip at this point: You should always be clear about why this change is desired, what goal is being pursued with it and whether the values and identity of the brand remain unharmed. 


Twix - or Raider? 

The popular chocolate-cookie-caramel bar has been produced since 1967, but in Germany it became known as Raider about 10 years later. While the candy is known around the world as Twox, in Germany it continued to be called Raider until 1991. And then in 1991, the official renaming to Twix took place. This form of "rebranding" does not involve a complete change in the aspects described above. But the change of name and the temporary return to "Raider" is still used by the company to draw attention to itself. 

Google becomes Alphabet

The "G" still stands for Google, but since 2015 the company has officially been called Alphabet Inc. The company wanted to send a signal with the renaming that it is much more than just a search engine. Consumers won't have noticed too much, but there have been some changes internally: Alphabet wants to provide more information about the ventures it invests in (health-related technologies, self-driving cars, etc.) in addition to its core business. The executive team also had a change - the former CEO of Google is now the CEO of Alphabet, while his deputy has now become the CEO of Google Inc. If you want to know more, feel free to take a look at this article.

Capri Sonne becomes Capri Sun

The background for the name change was the desire to tap into a new, larger target group and to make the fruit juice drink internationally known. The German manufacturer thus launched in 2017 with the name Capri-Sun, but it did not earn any goodwill at all from the German target group. The indignation of consumers is well summarized in an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. So if you want to smile a little, you should take a look there later.

In addition to these three examples, there are of course more recent examples, such as the logo change including rebranding of Burger King or the social network Xing, which has now become part of New Work SE.  


There are many reasons for a rebranding and certainly at least as many companies that are thinking about a change at this moment. 

But this change should be well considered and just as well prepared. Because nothing can be more damaging than confusing an existing customer group and losing them as a result. A new coat of paint? Sure, but then please with the right color palette and planning. 

Not enough reading material for today? Well, thank goodness, there's plenty more here

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