Branding is something of an enigma to a lot of small business owners. They often confuse branding and marketing for synonymous entities in the beginning stages of crafting their business, but there’s a key difference in these concepts. Branding can be tangible in that it involves logos and designs, color schemes and layouts, but it also has to do with the personality of a business. Marketing doesn’t create this personality, it simply showcases it.


Branding is very much the heart of a business. If it was a real, breathing person, what would they say? How would they act? These are abstract questions to consider when you think of branding. More specific questions are “How do I type my copy in order to get across my brand voice?” or “How do I use visuals to get across the vibe of my business?”


But what if you already have an established brand and you want to change it? This question comes up at more roundtable meetings than you’d think. Businesses as a whole may want to change their image or become more modern — this involves rebranding, and here’s how you do it.



Why Rebrand?


First and foremost, it’s important to discuss why you want to rebrand. Like in the above example, some businesses like to toy with the idea of rebranding because it will move them into a more modern era. Some businesses go years without changing their brand and find it doesn’t help them to connect with current market groups.


Another reason might be that a business simply needs to reach a new market in general. Depending on the reason for rebranding, the questions asked about rebranding need to be different. How do you connect with a modern audience? How can you connect with a modern audience visually? How do you move from being generally focused to globalized? These questions may be asked in some branding situations but not others.

Consider the How


You now know why you need to rebrand and the correct questions to answer. Now you have to come up with those all-important answers. Entrepreneur came up with eight simple rules for rebranding, and we’d like to quickly go over some of them for inspiration.


  • Having a story never hurt. Like the example shows, Jared worked wonders for Subway’s bottom line, and rebranding Subway as a lifestyle changing brand saw their revenue shoot up.
  • Rename, restructure. You know what Federal Express is, right? It’s FedEx — but it wasn’t always so streamlined. With a new restructured and simpler service, FedEx chose a simpler name to match their new business model.
  • Consider your sales numbers. Old Spice did just that in 2010. Their “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like” campaign went viral and brought in big bucks for the company. Why did they do this? After looking at market research, they discovered that while their product was made for men, 60% of men’s body washes were purchased by women.
  • Consider that it’s not for you. Sometimes rebranding isn’t the best way to solve your problem. Gap changed their logo for six days in 2010. Do you remember? Probably not. Sometimes rebranding is the wrong thing to do. Make sure that rebranding is a sure-fire strategy before executing any plans.


Cover All Bases


It’s touched on above, but let us reiterate — branding is about both tangible and intangible aspects of a brand.


The visual identity of a brand is certainly important when it comes to rebranding. This can include a logo, business cards, PowerPoints, the site’s layout and other visual aspects of the brand. On the other hand, non-tangible aspects of a brand include the voice, personality, virtue and meaning behind a business.


When you change one aspect of visual branding, it’s likely you may need to change all of the surrounding visual aspects. When you change one aspect of the personality, the rest of the intangible branding should likely change with it. At the same time, it’s doesn’t come up often that one area of branding will change without the other. If you want to adjust a visual aspect of your business, consider whether or not you need to change the less tangible aspects as well. Vice versa also applies.


Finally, always double check your reasoning and your numbers. Rebranding can be risky — brands like RadioShack have suffered greatly from rebranding missteps. Always cut once and measure twice when it comes to branding and you’re more likely to be successful.


Looking for more ways to improve your marketing strategy? Once you’ve gone through the rebranding process, these 4 types of content will help you boost your brand’s credibility.