What is Rebranding and What Are Its Principles?

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Suppose you own a house that was once one of the best in town, but it’s long gone and old enough to be rebuilt, otherwise, it will crash on your head! What about the beautiful towers around? All around the building are so beautiful! So beautiful that this house is no longer a luxury and no buyers want it anymore!

Now you have two options:

Break down the house and make it more modern, up-to-date with designs! Or if you love the old house, at least have a hand up and down to make it look beautiful.

These are precisely the situations that a brand sometimes faces and must change because of changing conditions, or staying in the market!

This article is about rebranding. Does that mean we have to figure out what the rebranding is? Why do companies rebrand? And how does rebranding work? In the end, let’s take a look at some examples of successful and unsuccessful rebranding worldwide!

Rebranding Simplified!

Before defining rebranding, let’s have a common definition of a brand – among ourselves – and then move on to the rebranding.

The brand includes all the emotions, characteristics and concepts that are tied to one name.

Logo, color, slogan, sound and design are some of the most common in appearance, but not the whole brand. Any kind of customer relationship beyond the transaction, buying and selling, the sense of being conveyed, the effort to take social responsibility in a particular area and so on are considered part of the brand.

So a successful brand has a good mental image in people’s minds that makes it different from competitors; now if a brand wants to improve that image, it does a rebranding. So:

Rebranding means rebuilding a brand image in the customer’s mind with the aim of improving or preventing worse.

So in a rebranding, we try to change the image that is created in people’s minds by changing the elements of visual identity (name, color, logo, design) and the messages we deliver (brand strategy, values, mission, vision, purpose, tagline). We want to rebuild.

How businesses get to this point is explained in the next section.

Why Businesses Rebrand?

In response to the question of why brands are rebranding, we could come up with a long list of reasons, but behind all these reasons, there are two main factors:

  • Not as good as we thought it was (internal changes and poor branding in the past)
  • The world is changing (external changes)

Let’s look at these two factors first.

1. Rebranding due to internal changes or poor initial branding

Most businesses or startups do not pay attention to branding as they should. The reason is also clear because no one wastes time designing and choosing a logo or have much precision in brand strategy, compared to more demanding tasks such as finding an investor and delivering a product or service to a primary customer.

Yes, we know that branding is very important and everything has to go great, but that doesn’t happen often.

In such a situation, the business may become bigger than they expected, change its direction, change the mindset of customers with what they originally wanted, and anything else they had not initially thought of.

Usually, any business that grows from small to medium to large will have to re-brand. Several other reasons can be listed that is some kind of internal business change. Like merging two companies, changing a product or changing a marketing and sales model.

2. Rebranding due to changing external conditions and competitors

The world around us is constantly changing and businesses that do not update themselves are doomed to failure. Here we have nothing to do with brands whose origins are authenticity and antiquity. Like the brands that insist on advertising they were founded; however, these brands will eventually have to change.

Many companies only apply partial rebranding (visual identity only) just to make them more attractive, to stay in touch with competitors and to keep up with the latest trends in design and advertising.
For example, it is possible that the situation will change and the competitive advantage that the business slogan was created on is no longer a competitive advantage. Or we need to make changes and raise our level as competitors come up with something new to say.

In today’s world, without rebranding at the right time, the brand weakens.

Brand testing and resistance to rebranding

A good example of resistance to rebranding is the old brand of testing. The experiment is a 5-year-old home appliance manufacturing complex whose brand has not changed much over the years.

As competitors entered the market, the brand became weaker and weaker, and in the recent economic downturn, news of a possible factory closure was released. Although management weaknesses and economic problems have contributed to the decline in sales of the test brand, at least one correct rebranding over the years could have helped to keep it going.

So sometimes it is not possible to escape rebranding and it is best for brand managers to rebuild their brand at the right time – rather than losing market share.

In the next section, we will give examples of rebranding with reasons. In the meantime, some rebranding fails, some succeed, and some rebranding is just a propaganda hoax.

Some interesting examples of right and wrong rebranding

Many of the wrong rebrandings are broken just because of the wrong reasons. That is, the reason for the rebranding was completely wrong and as a result, the rebranding does not achieve the intended purpose.


McDonald’s chain restaurants have experienced several general and partial rebrandings for many years now. The reasons for MacDonald’s continued rebranding over the years have been the opening of new branches in various countries, the change of strategy in the products offered, and the changing range of target customers.

During these rebrandings, McDonald’s was trying to expand its market and add a whole range of families and children to customers, as McDonald’s expanded to other countries, they were largely criticized for selling unhealthy and cheap foods. What did McDonald’s do against these criticisms?

McDonald’s was constantly changing its strategy with rebranding. Until recently, the children’s playground was built in some branches and added fruit, salads, fish and smoothies to its restaurant menu. McDonald’s was not fully successful in all of these rebrandings, but by responding quickly to feedbacks it prevented the situation from getting worse.

An interesting example of a mistake at McDonald’s rebranding was the introduction of a character named Happy to attract children. McDonald’s was quickly mocked by the public, and everyone said it was scarier for children than attractive. Although McDonald’s removed the doll from its brand’s visual identity, the introduction was enough to create online subjects.

Rebranding of the dairy brand

Chobani is an abstract yogurt factory started by Turkish-based. The company started a general rebranding as large investments were made to increase production.

Changing packaging, new slogans, starting social responsibility projects, focusing on health and living well are parts of pasture rebranding.

What did a Chobani do to save themselves?

In contrast to competitors, Chobani expanded its range of products. Add yogurt with fruit flavour and organic produce to the basket. They changed their packaging from full white to coloured fruit packs to appear on store shelves distinct from competing products that produced packages similar to the previous model.

False IHOP rebranding with the aim of getting attention

Many brands are rebranding just to give their ads a fresh look. There are some brands that are only interested in raising awareness of their brand or introducing new rebranding products.

A recent example of this is the rebranding of IHOP Breakfast Restaurants. IHOP has gone through successful rebranding several times. But lately, it suddenly announced that it wanted to change its brand name to IHOB. The same day the logo of their social network and website changed.

In the news of this rebranding, they said they would now focus on the hamburger and b is from the burger instead of p from the pancake. Fans quickly began to criticize this and urged IHOP not to do so.

What are the steps for a successful rebranding?

The risk of brand restructuring is reduced if a program is implemented. Because brand restructuring can be as small as a logo change or as large as changing the whole branding and marketing strategy!

For this reason, assuming a general rebranding, we consider the following steps.

1. Specify the purpose and indicators of the rebranding

If the current brand has no problem and the key revenue indicators show a good trend, there is no need for rebranding. Some businesses rebrand without a reason, and if you ask them why you do it, they have no compelling reason.

Causes such as changing the CEO and interfering with personal tastes, covering public relations crises, weaknesses in areas other than branding, etc. are common reasons that lead to a wrong decision to rebrand.
Only if the brand is rebuilt is there a solid reason behind it, if not worth the risk and cost. But if there are compelling reasons to rebuild the brand then set goals and set benchmarks for the goals.

For example – if you think your current brand is not in harmony with the products and cause confusion, you need rebranding; your goal is to increase your brand awareness.

If the goal of rebuilding is just a visual identity update, be sure to work on focus groups before unveiling them and monitor key indicators after unveiling to see how long-term reactions are.

What is a Focus Group?

A focus group is a group that can share their real-life experiences, including criticism, feedback, and generally answering the interviewer’s questions. Current and potential customers can be members of the focus group. The greater the diversity within the group, the closer the ideas become to the reality of society. The focus group is, in fact, a small sample of the larger statistical community of brand audiences and customers.

In the market research process, groups of customers are formed to use their ideas for new products, branding, and so on. Applications to be implemented will be prototyped in focus groups for discussion before public unveiling.

2. Start a market investigation

Doing market research helps to make sure that the problem identified is genuine; you may think this is due to false feedback, but there is no such thing in people’s minds.
In market research, find out who is buying from you and from competitors. Comparing these demographics and personas helps you identify the target market and find the needs of your customers.

3. Write a brand restructuring plan

When it comes to figuring out what the problem is or for what purpose the rebranding is going to take place, it’s time to plan. To do this, first determine whether your rebranding is complete or partial. So what’s the difference between the two?
If your vision, mission, values, and brand strategies change, your rebranding is total and otherwise minor.

Be aware that the wider the rebranding and the more the brand changes, the higher the cost and the higher the risk.

For example, when the brand’s visual identity changes to such an extent that it has nothing to do with the previous version, you have to remind customers for a long time that it is the same brand, but in the new look, this will cost you a whole lot.

At this point, write a plan for change.

  • When will the new brand be unveiled?
  • How long does it take to redesign each part of the visual identity, website, rebranding teaser, etc.?
  • What will be the cost be for all stages?

After researching and planning, prepare the brand document and make it available to anyone or anyone involved in the process; the logo designer, the web designer, the advertiser, and so on will work towards the goals.

4. Visual identity redesign

At this point, it is best to move forward with the help of experts. If you were in a hurry to redesign your previous brand to save money now it’s worth it to spend on a stronger brand.
Note the following tips for designing the visual identity.

Brand name

Choosing a brand name is one of the most sensitive steps in rebranding, and changing it can be very costly to your business, so renaming is not recommended at all. Change the name only if the current name causes customers to misunderstand it for something negative, sometimes minor changes to the name or use of the same name and rhyme is better than the overall name change.

Brand tag or Slogan

The tag line is a statement inspired by the mission and vision of the brand. In most brands, the primary tag line is product-centric so that people will hear or read about it to gain an understanding of the products or services, but in future rebrandings will move towards greater brand value and vision.

Consider some examples from the tagline:

  • Promise: Designed for driving pleasure (BMW)
  • Poetic Interpretation: Nobody Is Alone (First Cell)
  • Customer Praise: Because You’re Worth It (L’Oreal)
  • Motivational: Think Different (Apple)


As a founder or member of the business, you may love the current logo, but customers do not. Of course, sometimes a small update can make your logo look modern, so you don’t miss it and your customer will love it.

The most important indicators of a good logo are:

  • Simple: adding multiple symbols and putting everything in the logo only makes it worse. As businesses become more popular, they can choose simpler logos.
  • Adaptability: In most businesses that do not care about logo design, one of the disadvantages that may soon emerge is logo incompatibility. Now, what is this adaptability? For example, you may want to use a logo in an ad, but too many colors or details of the logo make it hard to appear in the design or look like an extra element. If you have to change colors, then your logo will shatter; these are signs of an incompatible logo.
  • Suitable for product, audience and market: Let us learn here with two examples:
    – Suppose a startup that starts with a truck service; after a while, it starts offering passenger services;
    – If a company was operating in one province and the logo was designed in accordance with the culture and environment of that region and now provides services nationwide, then the logo should change.

Note: Introducing personal tastes, fanaticism, and adding restrictive symbols (symbols that are already a part of their community) to the logo is not recommended at all.

New color palette

Some brands are so successful in defining colors that the color used alone can remind the brand to the audience; in fact, they know the color psychology well, and by analyzing the colors of other competitors, they have been able to choose a unique color that matches their overall brand identity.


The typography is not as sensitive as the logo, but it is best to use the help of experts. Sometimes it’s just a matter of choosing a good font from the available fonts. Sometimes having a custom font will keep your name in mind.

6. Focus Group Presentation and Limited Poll

Before publicizing the brand, show it privately to small groups that have a variety of opinions. Use feedback for final corrections and get ready for the unveiling phase after you get the best results.

7. Unveiling the new brand

While rebranding itself is a factor in raising awareness of the brand, the unveiling phase can coincide with news such as new product launches, social responsibility plans, fundraising, opening new branches, etc.

A brand unveiling ceremony, along with the following, can replace the new brand with the previous one:

  • Publishing news reports
  • Share on social networks with interesting videos or posts
  • Urban advertising
  • Notify changes by sending a message to the customers
  • Updating and launching a site or app
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