Many times over the years I’ve heard business owners say they’re “rebranding their business” when they were, in fact, in the process of updating their visual identity. Here’s an example:
- A family-owned business has grown to the point that they need to buy a building;
- they’ve just purchased a couple of new delivery vans
- and they’re hiring more staff.
Since they’re making all those major changes, the owners have decided to
- update the logo they’ve had for 15 years, which is looking outdated and cluttered.
- Their salespeople have persuaded them to (finally!) update the website.
- Their niece has just joined the company as their social media manager, so their Facebook page and Instagram accounts will finally get updated.
The example above is referred to as a “rebrand” by a lot of people. But it’s not.
This is a brand image refresh, or a brand image update. “Brand image” because it’s the visual identity part of the business that’s changing–nothing else.
“Rebrand” on the other hand, is a totally different scenario.
A rebrand often occurs when businesses are bought out or merge. A rebrand signals that major changes are about to happen. These changes go far beyond a logo revamp or new corporate colours. It can often mean that the company is going in a new direction. It can also signal that they will be pursuing a different market, or offering different products and services altogether. In some cases, it’s a sign that the entire company culture is changing.
I think it’s important to note the difference because it is a big difference. When you’re upgrading a business image that was designed in 1986 it doesn’t mean that your core purpose and mission has changed; you’re simply keeping up with the times and making sure your “storefront” looks nice and neat. Just as we get new haircuts and buy new clothes, every few years our business image needs a bit of polish and refreshing.
If you’re thinking of rebranding, you will be asked about your target audience, your goals for the business 5, 10 years from now, and the problem that you fix, and what you do that your competitors don’t. You will not be discussing Pantone colours and the latest font trends.
So if you think you’re rebranding your business, think again. Because a brand refresh will not bring the drastic changes that a rebrand will.