Concepts & Communication — September 13, 2023

The ultimate guide to rebranding

Kristina Ilić Head of Creative

Everything we know about the world, we learned through stories. 

We tell stories constantly, and if we do it with intention, if we choose our language carefully, and manage to describe and paint our concepts with beautiful adjectives and lively comparisons, there is a great chance that our stories will be remembered. Research has repeatedly shown that the human brain does not remember facts and data — we remember stories. That’s why branding is so important — branding is the story of a business, product, service, brand, celebrity, you name it (pun intended).

Degordian recently went through a repositioning process, and during that process, change emerged as the main topic of conversation — we didn’t just talk about the specific changes that prompted us to search for a new market position, but we also talked a lot about how much we’ve changed since we started doing business and wondered what kind of changes the future will again bring.

Why companies rebrand

Why would a business want to rebrand? The answer is perhaps a little obvious — every business is constantly changing and adapting to new circumstances, and when the business changes, so does its story. And that’s why it’s crucial to consider rebranding — because it offers an entirely new narrative, or adds fresh chapters to a story of a business.

Once you assess that too much has changed in your business and that it is time for different communication, you can resort to one of the three key concepts of rebranding.

A brand merger, which combines multiple identities into one, a brand refresh which updates and modernizes an existing identity, and a full rebranding which completely reinvents a brand’s identity and often its strategic direction.

Types of rebranding

Brand merger

A brand merger, also known as brand consolidation or brand integration, occurs when two or more separate brands or companies combine into a single entity under a new or existing brand identity. The goal is to leverage the strengths of each brand to create a stronger, more competitive entity.

Brand refresh

A brand refresh, also called a brand update or brand revitalization, involves making moderate changes to an existing brand’s visual identity, messaging, or positioning to modernize it, appeal to a new audience, or stay current with design trends. It’s less drastic than a full rebrand but still aims to breathe new life into the brand. 

Full rebranding

A full rebranding is a comprehensive overhaul of a brand’s identity, encompassing changes in logo, name, visual elements, messaging, and often even its core values and business strategy. This is typically done when a brand wants to make a dramatic change, enter new markets, or distance itself from a negative image.

When is the right time to rebrand

Whenever business objectives within a company change, we can say it’s the right time to rebrand, and the choice of a rebranding concept should be aligned with specific business goals. 

Brand mergers are typically pursued when two or more companies want to combine their strengths, resources, and customer bases to create a more competitive and efficient entity. This strategy is often used to expand market reach, diversify product offerings, or enter new geographic regions. When Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, they merged the two brands into a single entity, Disney, to consolidate their entertainment assets and create a global media powerhouse. Another rebranding example with a slightly different branding result is merger of Degordian development production unit and Shopycode company. Together they defined a new market position and rebranded into Builtt (powered by Degordian) accordingly.  

A brand refresh is ideal for modernizing an existing brand while keeping its essence. It’s a great choice for when a company wants to refresh its image, stay relevant in a rapidly changing market, and attract a new generation of customers without undergoing a complete identity change. It’s often used to signal a commitment to ongoing improvement and innovation. Companies like Apple and Coca-Cola have employed brand refreshes to update their logos, packaging, and marketing campaigns to appeal to evolving consumer preferences while maintaining their core brand essence. Another example is Soko Štark — a long-lasting and well known brand on our regional market. Last year, they slightly changed their logo in order to stay connected with future generations.  

Full rebranding is a comprehensive transformation used when a company wants to completely reinvent itself, reposition itself in the market, or distance itself from a negative image or crisis. It’s a strategic move to fundamentally change how the company is perceived.

This is what Elon Musk decided to do a year after he acquired Twitter — social media network beloved by many is a rebranding example now called X and its tweets should further on be referred to as posts. While nothing is particularly bad when it comes to different brand elements which came out of this process, we can definitely argue if this was a good business idea because its target audience (Twitter users) didn’t welcome it in the best possible manner. But that’s a whole another story.

Full rebranding is also what Stethoscope, an employee satisfaction and engagement tool we created last year, recently went through. When we came up with the name – Stethoscope, we didn’t take into much consideration the fact that there is already a medical tool stethoscope which thousands of doctors are searching for every day on the internet. This created many difficulties with SEO, which is crucial for every digital solution, so we decided to rebrand.

Mistakes to avoid

Every business is different and each requires a different rebranding approach. All of us working through this can get stuck in different parts of the process. You don’t have to worry about it, though. Rebranding a business is not a one-day job but quite contrary — it sometimes takes weeks to finish. It’s messy work which requires a lot of patience and many hard, honest conversations. Even though this can be a serious pain in your ass, it also allows you to make mistakes and deal with them while you work. 

It’s difficult (and completely unnecessary) to predict all possible mistakes that may occur during the process of rebranding, but one thing is crucial: you have to keep your target audience on your mind. Users of the former Twitter platform resent its new name and identity (X) which gives us a valid reason to question Musk’s business decision to go through a rebrand in the first place. 

Get to know your own business, define your mission and vision, familiarize yourself with your future audience. By becoming aware of these things, you’ll leave no room for big and irreparable mistakes.

Tell everybody the good news!

It doesn’t matter how good of a job you did, nobody will know about it unless you announce it properly. That’s why you’ll need a good PR strategy/rebranding campaign for the time your renewed brand goes live. Keep in mind that the new story of your business starts with the rebranding process and announcement, but, if you want it to live long and prosper, you should always keep your brand building activities going.