9

When I'm designing a website or a print publication, I find it is quite straightforward in asking a client what their objective is. It could be anything along the lines of:

  1. Increase awareness of company
  2. Encourage more members
  3. Allow existing members / customers to interact
  4. Encourage more business enquiries

...amongst many others.

However when I'm working on a logo design / rebrand, I always find this is a real grey area. I've read that it is important to establish what the client's goal is with the rebrand, but I'm reluctant to ask them in the event that they find it a confusing question, because I'm not even sure myself what they could say.

Is the only real possible answer something along the lines of the following?

To position our brand in the marketplace as a leading supplier of [* service name *], to reflect our professional and reliable service... etc

  • This seems like it may not be a fit for SE - the question is vague and seems like more of a discussion thread. – armadadrive May 8 '17 at 14:41
  • 1
    @armadadrive the same could be said for any questions on here that aren't asking how to achieve something in a particular bit of software... this quite easily fits into the Q&A format IMO – pealo86 May 8 '17 at 14:47
5

Is the only reason to rebrand: To position our brand in the marketplace as a leading supplier of [* service name *], to reflect our professional and reliable service... etc

Absolutely not. I'd go as far as saying this never the reason for a rebrand. If this is the only reason you're getting than you're not delving deep enough.

Just a few reasons for a rebrand of the literally countless:

  • Our company name was original at the time but now there's too many shops using a similar name. A woman I met with "The Boutique" as her store name for over 30 years was rebranding because now everyone was calling their store a boutique of some kind. She needed a new way to differentiate herself.

  • Our company has re-positioned itself to better represent X. We need a new identity to match our more focused market segment. A prime example of this would be Macintosh's transition to Mac and really just Apple. This came in 1998 with an entirely new computer, the iMac which targeted a specific market segmentation. Macintosh became Mac; simplicity for its users became their calling card, and individualism (however farfetched) became their identity (this is what the "i" stands for).

  • Our company has merged with another company. We want to rebrand so people can identify the new company while also representing the originals. United Airlines and Continental merged and it was decided to use the United Airlines name with the continental colors.


So to try and bring this to something more specifically useful to you. The questions you might want to ask your clients are:

  1. When you came up with your company what led you to this name and branding?
  2. What change has come about that makes you think a rebrand is in order?

Then depending on their responses you can make better suggestions and more focused questions. For example if they say, "We just needed a name at the time but now we're becoming well known and want to grow." Then you may not want to propose a radically different concept but just refine their existing brand.

However, if they say, originally we thought we'd be doing a lot of sales to the hospital market but after launching this new product our software has really taken off in the industrial manufacturing market. Then you may want to go with a more radical change -- though you may want to suggest the change be done to the product's identity rather than the entire company's.

7

The goal of a rebrand would (pretty much) always be to increase market share / turnover / profit. I've only encountered the opposite aim once, when a supermarket had a loss-leader product that was selling too well and costing them too much money so they rebranded to reduce sales, but I digress...

The two key questions when considering a rebrand are what they want to change and what they feel that they need to keep. For some brands, modernisation will be key while for others, keeping a sense of tradition or history will be vital. Some brands will want to change to appear more like a successful competitor while others will want to make themselves unique and distinct from similar products in the same market sector.

I would frame these questions in terms of what they do / don't like about their current brand, what they do / don't like about other brands and what they can (will) or can't (won't) change. This sort of information gathering can be nicely organised into tables and charts and should make it easier to agree a plan of action that is clear to everyone.

You also need to remember that there is a difference between a rebrand and designing a brand identity from scratch. The trick is to attract new customers without alienating the existing ones. This is why rebranded products often look very similar to the previous versions. Dramatic rebranding is either very brave or very silly, depending on the results.

  • is a goal like that not really hard to measure though? as there could be all kinds of factors that could affect sales / profits etc – pealo86 May 8 '17 at 14:50
  • That depends on how much historical data you've got and whether you are doing other things at the same time as rebranding (like a new advertising campaign). The bigger and older the company, the more data they will have and the better equipped they will be to isolate the net benefit of the rebranding. If measuring the effectiveness of the rebrand is important, then it should be possible to make sure that the spend on everything else is the same as at previous similar times in the companies history (i.e. the same season) so that the only thing that has changed is the visual brand identity. – Westside May 8 '17 at 14:56
  • @Westside or they could a/b test (assuming they have budget to track and measure that) – aaaaaa May 8 '17 at 19:41
1

When a business is working at full potential, in some fields the managers will not waste too much time with marketing work. There are a lot of large companies doing very well with dated logos/identities and/or websites, simply because they have a number of stable contracts and ongoing jobs to keep employees busy for years ahead.

Its these companies that sometimes need to refresh their identity, not necessarily because they want to 'look cool' again, but because of business events that might turn out more profitable with an updated identity. Like an exit, a merger, an aquisition, or chasing bigger contracts.

They could easily spend 10,000$ on a fresh image before selling the company as 'repositioned' and cashing in 500,000$ extra (just an example). I have been involved in rebranding work where this was essentially the 'unofficial' goal.

So, in some cases, its like cleaning up the house before a sale or a rental.

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