If you read any branding blog or how-to guide they’ll tell you the first step in a rebrand is determining if it’s really the right move for your company. If business directions or objectives are changing or you’re expanding into new markets, it might be time to rebrand. If your target audience is changing, it might be time to rebrand. If your brand was last updated in 2005 and hasn’t changed since the days of cargo pants and velour tracksuits, it’s definitely time to rebrand.
For the sake of this blog, I’m going to assume you’ve done your due diligence researching your target audience, studying your competition, and reflecting on the vibe you want your new branding to communicate to the world. You’re positive a rebrand is the right move, all your stakeholders are on board, and you’re ready to hit the ground running.
So, where do you start?
In theory, branding sounds easy. In practice, it’s not. There’s a lot of work that goes into it behind the scenes. Every aspect needs to fit together and communicate a unique identity. For rebranding, there’s the added consideration for how the current imagery and style will transition to something new.
Giving structure to a creative endeavour like branding can be challenging, so we’ve done it for you. We’ve broken down the branding process into 3 general steps, grouping tasks based on the type of thinking you’ll use. With each step centered around one objective, your process will stay streamlined and focused.
STEP 1: GET THOSE CREATIVE JUICES FLOWING WITH DIVERGENT THINKING
The first step is to get divergent with your thinking and take note of every possible idea. If you find yourself prefacing with “Okay, this might be crazy, but…” then you’re doing it right. At this stage, you want to voice all options without holding anything back. You never know when inspiration will strike, and those “out there” ideas might just trigger something worth pursuing.
Get your team together, book in a good chunk of time, and start spitballing. There should be no judgment, limited explanation, and few expectations. Things might get weird but trust the process. Get every idea out in a way where everyone can see the big picture, whether it’s a whiteboard, shared spreadsheet, etc. In our office, our ideas live on the glass boardroom table. By the time we’re done brainstorming, it’s covered in words, phrases, and a healthy dose of doodling. To most people, it probably looks like mayhem, but in this case, it’s the beginning of a new brand.
STEP 2: FILTER FOR THE ANSWER WITH CONVERGENT THINKING
Now that you’ve proposed every idea, it’s time to put your analytical hat on. The convergent stage is where you organize and evaluate your giant list into something more manageable. You’ll quickly cross off options because they’re too outside the box or they fail to communicate the right image. Turns out some of those ideas that sounded crazy were crazy, but that’s okay. It’s also okay if you run through the list without finding a clear winner. The next step will help you hone in on the best fit if you’re torn between multiple concepts.
STEP 3: PUT ALL THE PIECES OF THE PUZZLE TOGETHER
A successful branding project will consider more than just the brand name and logo. It needs to saturate every customer touchpoint. Take some time to think about the following:
- Brand hierarchy – If there are multiple brands within your company, how do they all relate to one another?
- Online presence – Is the domain name available? How does the new brand change your website structure or experience?
- Physical signage and marketing materials – How well will your brand translate across different formats and marketing channels?
Want to go deeper? With branding, there’s always more to consider. Use these three considerations as starting points then continue asking questions until you find your winner.
While these three stages will help streamline and simplify the branding process, branding will never be simple. There’s too much to consider and it’s impossible to pack it all into a single post. For example, I didn’t even touch on bringing your concept to life through the design process, or ways to maintain your brand and keep it relevant. Consider saving yourself the trouble and invest in an agency to ensure your next rebrand is one that lasts.