How To Successfully Rebrand Your Business in 2024

How To Successfully Rebrand Your Business in 2024

Branding provides consistency across the various touch points where someone may come in contact with a company’s products or services. This includes everything from tangible goods to websites and social media accounts. Many entrepreneurs have a name and logo when they start their businesses, but may not explore their brand identity further. Or, if they do develop a brand identity at launch, they sometimes find that it no longer represents their business a few years later. This is where rebranding comes in. There are multiple reasons why you may want to consider rebranding your business, including:

  • Your company’s brand identity was not fully developed at launch
  • You’re unhappy with your company’s original branding
  • The development of new product lines means the company’s brand needs to expand
  • Your company now has a new mission and focus
  • Two companies merge
  • One company becomes a subsidiary of another

When done right, a rebrand can boost revenue and build brand awareness. It's important to proceed with caution, however. When a rebrand goes wrong, it may have a lasting, negative impact on sales.

If you’re interested in rebranding your business, but aren’t sure where to start, this guide can help by explaining:

What is rebranding?

Rebranding changes the way a consumer perceives a company and its products. This process may involve debuting a new logo mark, color palette, typography, tagline, packaging, advertising copy, and other visual assets.

Rebranding is not the same as changing a company's name. While a complete name change and rebrand can happen simultaneously, selecting a new business name often requires an additional level of care. If customers are not prepared for the switch, they may be unclear as to what the company is called.

Major brands have undergone successful rebranding to modernize their image while retaining their name.

Partial vs. total rebranding

Companies may undergo a partial or total rebrand. In a partial rebrand, many of the brand's core concepts remain the same. Partial rebranding can work well when a company wants to modernize its brand assets or attract new audience members.

When partially rebranding, a company may:

  • Keep their existing logo and brand name
  • Add new logo submarks for use across apps, websites, and social media
  • Launch a redesigned website
  • Update business cards
  • Alter the tone of ads and other company messages

A full rebrand is more intense and may or may not include renaming the company. This type of complete brand overhaul may be necessary during a merger or acquisition.

During a full rebrand, a company could:

  • Change their logo design
  • Introduce new brand colors
  • Add or eliminate product lines
  • Introduce or absorb subsidiaries
  • Launch a new website URL
  • Revise an existing brand strategy
  • Announce a new company mission statement

Whether a business decides to undergo a full rebrand or a partial one, it's essential to carefully consider the reception and impact of such a change before making it permanent.

Reasons why a company would consider rebranding

Rebranding may be a smart move when a core aspect of a company's current brand is changing to support ongoing business growth. This change could be necessary due to similarities with competitors, a shift in focus, or a merger. Undergoing a rebrand is also important when older brand touchpoints involve inappropriate or racist images and words.

Full or partial rebranding is often due to one of these factors:

Product or offering change

When a company adds one or two new products similar to their existing offerings, it's usually not necessary to undergo a rebrand. If a company introduces an entirely new product line or service offering, then a partial rebrand may help communicate this change to the public.

For example, if a hair care company decides to switch to an all-natural, plant-based formula, a rebrand can communicate their new health and sustainability focus. This process could involve:

  • A new logo
  • Updated brand colors
  • New packaging materials and designs
  • An ad campaign promoting a new company mission

Brand positioning or audience change

If a company has narrowly targeted a specific audience segment for years before deciding to expand, rebranding efforts can help to reach this new audience. Messaging tailored to the updated demographic or new market segment can bolster brand loyalty and sales.

If a professional photographer's core business involves photographing weddings, but they'd like to rebrand as a product photographer for e-commerce, they may:

  • Update their logo to appeal to corporate clients
  • Revise their brand mission
  • Launch a new website for business clients
  • Select new brand imagery and typography

In this photography business example, the company is transitioning from a business-to-consumer (B2C) service into a business-to-business (B2B) model. Making this type of market switch may require a full rebrand.

Updating a company's mission statement or company values

Company values can have a significant impact on sales. Over two-thirds of consumers want to buy from brands they share similar values with, so clearly communicating any changes in a brand's mission may help to bring in new business.

If a clothing company decides to contribute a percentage of its total profits toward education initiatives, they'll want to announce it. Rather than just putting out one press release and calling it a day, a rebrand can entrench this decision as part of the company's mission and values. Such a process might entail:

  • All-new packaging and promotional signage
  • A new company mission statement conveyed through advertisements and online
  • The release of strong brand guidelines for a new brand identity that aligns with the mission
  • New imagery that reflects a civic-minded approach to business

Changes to a company’s mission and values don't have to line up with charitable causes; they can also involve a renewed focus on the customer.

Changing company name, logo or mascot

Maintaining a consistent brand identity can increase revenue by as much as 33%. When a company's name, logo or mascot changes, it's important that customers understand how the new brand name relates to their favorite products.

If a company's mascot features prominently in its name or logo and undergoes a change, their rebrand may include:

  • New brand colors
  • New or additional logo submarks
  • Updated typefaces
  • New web design and a redirected URL
  • Changes to social media usernames
  • A prominent advertising and public relations campaign
  • New in-store displays for retail products

Updating brand slogan

Brand slogans appear on websites, packaging and advertising. When a slogan changes, these existing deliverables become outdated—making it the ideal time for a rebrand.

Companies that change their slogans may also:

  • Update product packaging
  • Modernize logo elements
  • Launch a redesigned website
  • Create new ad copy reflecting the slogan change
  • Update their brand story
  • Refresh all marketing materials

It may also be necessary to update brand elements—including names, logos, mascots, and slogans—if they contain any socially unacceptable imagery or references.

How to rebrand a business


1. Justify the rebrand with data

2. Develop a short and long term plan

3. Craft a cohesive message and asset plan

4. Make the accepted changes to your brand

5. Deliver the message across multiple channels

6. Review impact of rebrand months and years out

The rebranding process takes time and typically isn't complete in a week or a month. The more time and attention you give your rebrand, the better the result is likely to be. By conducting research and following every step in the rebranding process listed below, you can set your company up for success as it launches its new look, name, or product.

1. Justify the rebrand with data

Successful rebrands begin with collecting and evaluating data. If you're not sure whether or not a rebrand is in order, consider the following:

  • Does your customer base get your brand mixed up with a competitor? If people are contacting your business and using a different name, or asking for products you don’t stock, they may be getting you confused with a similar brand.
  • Does your logo or slogan refer to products you no longer sell? If your company’s original brand relates directly to the tools, needs, or challenges of a specific industry that you no longer serve, it’s likely to generate less of an impact.
  • Has your company's vision changed since its founding? If you’ve adopted a new set of operating guidelines or launched beneficial initiatives, you may want to factor this into new brand guidelines.  

Once you've decided that a rebrand might be wise, it's time to:

  • Evaluate competitors—what are they doing, and how are customers responding?
  • Collect data and conduct market research about how the public currently perceives your brand.
  • Get insights from focus groups as to how your target audiences may receive possible brand changes.

Consistency in your brand is key, and you don't want to mitigate what you've built so far. Getting this data upfront can help you maintain and strengthen brand positioning.

2. Develop a short and long term plan

Once you’ve established that a rebrand is necessary, you’ll need to create both short- and long-term plans. For your short-term rebranding plan, decide:

  • What aspects of your brand will need to change?
  • How large of a budget do you have?
  • Can your current team support the rebranding, or will you need to bring in an independent logo designer and copywriters?
  • What will you tackle first? Is there an order of operations that makes the most sense?

When planning the long-term strategy and impact of a rebrand, consider:

  • How will you announce the rebrand internally?
  • Will staff need to be trained on how to use the new brand?
  • Are there other groups who should hear about the rebrand before the general public, such as a board of directors or a large customer account?
  • Will you launch the entire rebrand at once, or does it make more sense to do it in stages?
  • What are some significant events or holidays that might occur during the rebranding process and require special attention?
  • How will you announce a rebrand to the public? Will there be a press release or media engagement?
  • Is your customer support team ready to answer questions from clients and the public about the new brand?

A brand refresh, such as a logo change or website redesign, may be heavier on the short-term planning and lighter in the long term. In a situation like a merger or full rebrand, the long-term strategy will be critical to public acceptance of the rollout.

3. Craft a cohesive message and asset plan

Before proceeding with a rebranding plan, establish what (if any) changes you will make to your current messaging.

Hanover Research, a brain trust specializing in corporate decision making, recommends that companies consider the following questions when evaluating their messaging:

  1. Is there a customer need for the proposed rebrand?
  2. Is our message focused on the right things?
  3. Does our current product or brand name resonate with people?
  4. How will this message set us apart from competitors?
  5. Is the new messaging consistent with our company?

Changing your message may also require the creation of new assets. If your existing colors, typography, or images do not fit with the new directive, now's the time to decide what new assets you'll need. You can incorporate these needs into your overall rebranding plan.

4. Make the accepted changes to your brand

Once you've gathered data, analyzed what your target audience needs, and have finalized a plan for changing any assets, it's time to put your decisions into action. This step may include:

  • Reviewing and finalizing options prepared by your logo designer
  • Engaging the services of a graphic designer to create new marketing assets
  • Collaborating with copywriters on web, print, and social media content
  • Engaging the services of a PR consultant to help you time communications about the rollout to different stakeholders and outlets

Once this stage is complete, it’s important to make sure all internal teams are on the same page about when and how new brand assets are to be used. This will help you achieve consistency during the public rollout stage.

5. Deliver the message across multiple channels

It's essential to roll your rebrand out in an organized manner, whether that's a gradual drip or flipping the switch on all channels at once. You may need to update website pages, coordinate with your social media manager, and notify high-volume customers before announcing your rebrand to the general public.

Only roll out brand changes when you are ready to commit to it. If current or potential customers visit your site and accounts, you don't want them to see different versions of your brand each time they visit your website.

6. Review impact of rebrand months and years out

A rebrand doesn't end after updating messaging and assets. It's essential to monitor the results of your rebrand over the coming months and even years. This way, you can catch any downward trends in your rebrand and adjust before losing customer trust or market share.

Knowing if your rebrand was successful

There are two key things to do when monitoring the impact of your rebrand to determine its success:

Review your business performance & KPIs

An initial dip in site traffic or social media views after launching a rebrand isn't unusual. Changes in URL structures and an unfamiliarity with the new brand aesthetic can cause a temporary decline. It's important to keep an eye on key performance indicators (KPIs), though, to make sure that engagement picks back up.

It's also vital to consider:

  • Existing customer performance: are your current clients responding well to the rebrand, or has it created confusion?
  • Customer retention: If customers respond well to the rebrand, they should be sticking with your company. If current customers start to take their business elsewhere, it signals that the brand isn't performing as expected.
  • New customer performance: It's not enough to get more eyes on your rebranded content—it needs to convert new customers and bring in high-performing accounts.

While you can effectively evaluate many KPIs through analytics data, it often helps to hear directly from your customers.

Survey your customers

User input is valuable as it highlights aspects of your rebrand that may be falling flat—or performing exceptionally well. Using a mix of qualitative and quantitative surveys gives the most comprehensive view of how your customers view the rebrand.

A qualitative survey focuses on thoughts, feelings, and impressions. These surveys may involve short- and long-form answers and take some time to complete. You won't use qualitative survey results to draw statistically significant conclusions, so small sample sizes are okay. In addition to written questions and answers, a qualitative survey may also take the form of an interview or a case study.

Quantitative surveys gather hard data about the way current and potential customers interact with your brand. This process may involve collecting data on the behaviors of a sample group or asking questions. The key is to use a sample size that's large enough to become statistically significant.

Significance is the threshold at which you can reasonably infer that the preferences or actions of your sample group reflect your audience at large. The number of people you need to reach this point varies; this sample size calculator by Qualtrics can help to point you in the right direction.

Examples of recent company rebrands

The following companies are great examples of recent rebrands that worked well, even when that meant listening to customer feedback and making changes—or at the very least, taking criticisms in stride.

Dropbox

For its 10th anniversary in 2017, file sharing service Dropbox launched a new visual brand identity. The company intended the change to represent that Dropbox has become more than a way to share links—it now offers additional services like a password vault and document creator.

The company's logo didn't change too dramatically. Even with a color and font refresh, the box-and-text design is still easily recognizable as Dropbox.

Dropbox old logo
Dropbox New Logo

Unfortunately, the rest of the brand guide wasn't quite as streamlined initially. Dropbox introduced over 250 fonts and a wide array of color combinations that some designers found in poor taste.

Customers seemed to feel the same way, as conversions on the plan signups page went down. The company caught this drop and rectified it by launching a second new version of the page. The new version used fewer colors and altered spacing to make the page smaller. According to former Dropbox designer Arlen McCluskey, this additional update removed friction points and improved customer perception, leading to  a double-digit improvement in tracked metrics.

Dropbox Page Plans Old

Dropbox Page Plans New

GoDaddy

The web hosting company did a partial rebrand in 2018 when they removed the GoDaddy cartoon head in use since 1997. In 2020, they took this brand a step further by refining the existing wordmark and adding an abstract shape. If you look closely, you can see that it combines an interlocking "G" and "O." GoDaddy says that this symbol is part of its commitment to empowering entrepreneurs who use their services.

GoDaddy Logos

GoDaddy also unveiled new "Good Design for All" brand guidelines that influence their new messaging and advertising initiatives.

Some media outlets praised the logo mark's ambiguity as "getting out of the way" to focus on entrepreneurs, which is in line with the guidelines.

Google Workspace

With its search engine, Android operating system, Chromebooks, and workplace collaboration software, Google is a massive player across consumer and enterprise tech.

The company offers a collection of popular web-based apps—Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, and Meet—for business use. In 2020, Google changed the name of this service from GSuite to Google Workspace.

Some perceived the rebrand as a signal that Google is positioning itself as a stable competitor to Microsoft Office. While the core services available through Google Workspace did not change, the update included additional collaboration features, more pricing tiers, and slightly adjusted naming conventions ("Hangouts Meet" became simply "Meet," for example). The rebrand also introduced a new wordmark and refreshed icons.

Google Workspace Old

Google Workspace New

Airbnb

Airbnb released a new logo in 2014, to less-than-favorable reviews. The company intended their new mark, dubbed "Bélo" internally, to represent a "universal symbol of belonging." Unfortunately, users of the vacation rental platform didn't view it the same way. They compared the Bélo to pretzels, paper planes, and even body parts.

Airbnb didn't roll back its rebrand in the face of backlash. Instead, the company embraced criticisms in stride with a "Bélo report" that listed the various comparisons and parodies that popped up about the new logo.

The company did not suffer any negative impacts in the long run, enjoying continual growth up until the 2020 pandemic. Even then, Airbnb's annual revenue remained higher than before or directly after its rebrand.


Airbnb Old Logo
Airbnb New Logo

Dunkin'

When Dunkin' Donuts rebranded as simply "Dunkin'" in 2019, the change went well. This reception was largely due to the fact that the U.S. coffee chain's rebrand brought them in line with the way customers already talked about the company. Thanks in part to the brand's "America Runs on Dunkin'" slogan in use since 2006, many people referred to the brand simply as "Dunkin'" in conversation. The rebrand further solidified the chain's new focus on higher-end coffee drinks and savory menu items.

As part of the name change, Dunkin' dropped its coffee cup logo and shortened its wordmark. The brand retained the same color palette and font it has had in use since 1973. While older Dunkin' storefronts may still use the original "Dunkin' Donuts" signage, all new stores, remodeled stores, and packages feature the shortened version.


Dunkin Old Logo
Dunkin New Logo

Upwork

As the events of 2020 introduced new groups of people to the idea of remote work, Upwork took a new look at how it served both businesses and independent talent. Because our resulting vision—the work marketplace—is an entirely new industry category, a rebrand was in order.

We reimagined our entire brand, updated over 900 assets, and launched a new campaign to support our new vision and industry category. This involved changes to our public-facing website, user portal, mobile apps, and overall product suite.

This rebrand enabled us to launch new features and content in 2021 (including Virtual Talent Bench™ updates and the “Work Unlocked” podcast), all designed to help others rethink the way we work together. And it is, indeed, helping—79% of Upwork clients who increased their freelancer hiring in 2020 plan to make that increase permanent.

Independent talent was an essential part of Upwork’s rebrand. A total of 66 freelancers supported the process with writing, development, design, project management, illustration, and more.  

How to get expert rebranding help

While the most prominent rebranding examples above involved large enterprises, it's possible to rebrand small businesses as well. Developing a successful rebranding strategy doesn't have to require the help of an in-house team. Upwork's work marketplace has independent brand strategists and logo designers who can help you define and launch a successful new brand for your business. Start by posting a job on Upwork today.

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Author Spotlight

How To Successfully Rebrand Your Business in 2024
Emily Gertenbach
B2B SEO Content Writer & Consultant

Emily Gertenbach is a B2B writer who creates SEO content for humans, not just algorithms. As a former news correspondent, she loves digging into research and breaking down technical topics. She specializes in helping independent marketing professionals and martech SaaS companies connect with their ideal business clients through organic search.

How To Successfully Rebrand Your Business in 2024
B2B SEO Content Writer & Consultant

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