Rebranding is a brand strategy decision that aims to upgrade, reinforce, emphasize, or re-establish a brand’s positioning or perception among their audiences. Rebranding generally involves the creative rework such as changing the brand’s digital assets including its logo and visual branding, and redefining its core messaging, vision, mission, and its goals.
If you see a few rebranding stories of Mailchimp, Airbnb, or Oatly, rebranding meant that the organization wanted to say something different, or differently. In that sense, rebranding is a communication project. This also shows that rebranding does not start with creatives or planning a new logo.
Many creatives design agencies who specialize in rebranding focus on redoing the creative part. They have designers to get into the worksheets or workshops for the why to rebrand kind of conversations. The bigger agencies start with the repositioning exercises, for the messaging. But even they tend to map the new positioning directly with the artwork because they have an expertise in marketing and creatives. Some of them work on the messaging part but their core focus is on marketing and positioning, which is a limited-dimensional approach to the rebranding goals.
Rebranding is reprioritizing, restructuring, and rearticulating the why and how or an organization. It shows in the orgnaization’s digital presence for the external audience as well as to the internal audience—the employees. Rebranding means a change in the brand experience for everyone which means at least some change in the product experience too.
Imagine when the customers talk to the marketing and sales teams in the rebranded customer touch points but the product onboarding is a picture of original brand. It might dent their confidence, and it gives them a fragmented user experience when they are in the product. If you take the branding project as a communication project, you are likely to include the product rebranding because communication is not confined to specific teams or functions or people—a communication project is an organization-wide project.
Some organizations involve their external audience in the rebranding activities such as by inviting them to open community events or in rebranding workshops. The elements and the synthesis of all this communication forms the basis of rebranding—it brings some collective clarity in the new why and how of the organization.
It gives the words, architecture, shape, the message, and the wholeness to the their core vision and mission, for the brand narrative.
So, in every sense, rebranding is not a design project, it is a communication project. The creatives are derived from this communication. Every organization has some technology intersection these days. Even if they do not have a website, their audience might be talking about them on social media, physical events, in press, or anywhere. This means that every organization’s communication project starts with their content strategy project—for the early steps in their strategic brand narrative.
PS: Whenever I get into the haircut seat, I always think of rebranding.