If you’re thinking about rebranding, you should ask yourself pointed questions. Chelsea Alventosa of Canva, a creator of a simplified graphic-design tool, has come up with ten good ones. Though the company’s focus is on logos, packaging, and imagery, these questions work even from a broader perspective.
Here are the five questions I liked, but all ten will make you stop and think. Check out the article. It’s lavishly illustrated with examples.
“Will a rebrand compromise your brand equity?”
If your brand name is well known and has a great reputation, you want to make sure you’re not confusing customers or negatively impacting hard-earned brand equity. Ms. Aventosa says, “Your goal when rebranding should be to give your brand a new twist that customers identify with and support, rather than going in a completely different direction.” In her view, IHOP did a great job of refreshing its logo while maintaining the colors that patrons associated with the restaurant.
“Can you identify a problem with your current brand?”
“Before rebranding your business,” says Ms. Aventosa, “it’s important to ask yourself what problems there are with your current logo, or brand kit.” If you can’t identify a real problem, you should probably hold off. Gap revamped its logo in 2010 and got such bad feedback that it reverted to the design we’re all familiar with. I point to Agilent Technologies—a Hewlett-Packard spin-off—and Accenture—formerly Andersen Consulting—as examples of branding that, in my opinion, didn’t need to be fixed with silly suggestive names.
“Is your brand story still relevant?”
Does your brand reflect the values of your core audience? Have your customers’ values changed over the years? If so you need to change as well. American Eagle Aerie, for example, which now reflects a body-positive ethos—think Lizzo—in its sleepwear and intimate apparel line for young women.
“Have your service offerings changed over time?”
As what you offer has evolved, has your brand kept up? Does it convey how you’ve expanded or contracted your offering? Ms. Aventosa points to Uber, noting that its 2016 rebranding was intended to convey broadened services and a global identity. Ms. Aventosa counsels companies to be consistent in their use of colors and patterns throughout marketing materials so that their look will become “instantly recognizable.” Large companies, such as Cisco, typically create brand and style manuals to guide look, feel, and voice. And so should smaller enterprises. It’s never too early to start creating a consistent impression.
“Can people understand your message at first glance?”
“What information and feelings does your branding give at first sight? If people are confused about what you are trying to portray when they catch a glimpse of your website or product, they probably won’t stay long.” Ms. Aventosa points to Tesco, a UK-based grocer whose Everyday Value product line sold poorly until a packaging revamp conveyed a better quality-value message.
Clearly, rebranding should not be undertaken lightly. Branding touches on how a company feels about its customers and itself, its history, and where it’s going. And rebranding should prompt the same kind of self-examination.