Everything you need to know; nothing you don’t.

Coming to a branding agency when you’re considering a rebrand is a bold move. So first of all, “Bravo.” It’s like going grocery shopping when you’re hungry, or opening your Amazon app after your second glass of wine.

If you’re coming here to be convinced that rebranding is the best decision for your business, you’ve maybe come to the wrong place. I don’t want to convince you of anything other than how to know you’re ready to start this process.

Each year a small number of our projects go sideways or stall-out in the rebranding process, and it’s almost always for the same reason: The client isn’t ready. They think they’re ready—they’re experiencing the precipitating problems, they’ve decided to rebrand, they’ve got the money set aside, they’ve got buy-in from the decision makers… But they’re not ready to actually change.

Here’s our first big-boy lesson: Change requires change.


If you’re not ready to change, you’re not ready to rebrand.

At the start of our discovery sessions, we put three prerequisites on the table as our general “ethos”—The necessary culture for these meetings:

  1. Honesty – Truth is important to this process. We need accuracy, and transparency.
  2. Hope – We all believe that the future is worth fighting for; that’s why we’re here.
  3. Courage – Change requires bravery. Turning the cruise ship isn’t for the faint of heart.

If leaders aren’t ready to be honest, hopeful and brave, they’re not ready to rebrand.

Disruption occurs in every industry, and it’s only becoming more prevalent with the increasing pace of innovation and inter-connectedness across the globe. There are legitimate reasons to rebrand your business, and I want to share a few of those here.

Your company has a new dream for the future. Quite often our clients come to us for a rebrand when new leadership has stepped in. Sometimes leaders feel called to maintain and preserve what their predecessors created, but often new leaders recognize the opportunity to breathe new life into something that has grown stale. They capitalize on the chance to cast new vision, inspire their teams and chase after new ideas. This is a perfect reason to rebrand.

Your customer’s needs have changed. Remember when AOL used to send CD-roms in the mail? That was enormously helpful in 1995 (and a genius marketing strategy). But it quickly became unhelpful, and AOL needed to re-evaluate their approach. There’s a very good change that the products and services your customers needed when you launched is drastically different today, and when your offerings change, it can create a disconnect with the former name and look. To continue serving your customers with these new offerings, a rebrand will create continuity and clarity for everyone engaged with your business.

You no longer stand out from your competitors. When you launched, perhaps you were cutting-edge. Maybe you were pioneers and innovators and you took the industry by storm. But now, the field has grown full. People’s options are endless. Not to mention how saturated the world of pay-per-click advertising and social media is. Perhaps “what got you here won’t get you there,” and it’s time to make a bold move to stand out again. This is another good reason to rebrand.

Enough with the litmus tests, let’s assume you’re ready. Ready to change and with good reason. What should the process look like if it’s streamlined, time-sensitive, and cost-effective?

Here are the essentials:

  1. Naming.
  2. Vision & Values.
  3. Visual Identity.
  4. Website Design.

And a brief note on each.

Naming.

Naming is perhaps the most effective tool in successful rebrands, but also the most disruptive. A company’s name can be a “sacred cow” for some leaders, for good or ill. If you need big change, changing your name is essential. We’ve named dozens of startups and successfully re-named enormous organizations. Our criteria: Names must be distinctive, memorable, easy to spell, and successfully employ prosody.

Vision & Values.

Your company’s “why” is what will ensure that your company is around long term. It’s what will recruit the best talent, retain them, empower them, and develop a healthy internal culture. Mission statements are fine, but vision and values reign supreme. Most company’s know what the do, some know how they do it, but very few understand why they do it. Want to learn more? Buy any book by Simon Sinek.

Visual Identity.

This is the piece of the rebrand that includes all visual elements of your company. The logo, the color palette, the typography choices, how images and videos are treated. These are your brand assets. The goal here isn’t uniformity—the goal is harmony. Most inexperienced designers will slap the same logo, same colors and same fonts on everything and call it a “brand!” But experienced designers at a branding firm will create strategic variations to the logo and visual elements to broaden the brand identity.

Website Design.

The only insight here may be obvious to you: Your website is your front-door. This is where people meet you for the first time. No matter how clever your marketing efforts, how personal your customer service, or how excellent your product—your website needs to tell a compelling story, and it needs to place your customer in the center of it. This philosophy is so effective that entire companies have been built around it.

In closing…

If you’re up against a changing industry and know you need to “innovate or die,” as Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, puts it, be encouraged. This is an exciting step to take that will breathe new life into whatever important work you’re doing. This is what we’ve given our lives to here at Emery: Ensuring that every good idea has a great reputation.

If you have questions, book a free call with someone on our team, no strings attached.

We’re here to help.