Google’s recent identity re-brand – it’s most significant in quite some time – is a further illustration of how brands need to constantly evolve and shape their identities to ensure they remain relevant and appealing.

But, before deciding to go through the process of a major rebrand, there is a set of questions that a business should ask itself. It might turn out that a rebrand is being pushed for subjective reasons (e.g. internally it decided to change the brand colours or logo simply for a change) rather than because it doesn’t work for the business any more. Key stakeholders should carefully consider a number of key questions to interrogate their thinking and evaluate whether or not a brand overhaul is the right way to go for their business.

Has there been a change in the competitive landscape that is impacting our growth potential?

Are there new kids on the block who are stealing all your business? Are they explaining their offering better then you? Is their brand more clearly defined? Is their website better optimised and easier to use? Does their brand make them appear slicker, more successful or more professional? Sometimes your direct competition may not have a better offering than you, they might just be communicating their offering more effectively.

Are we pigeonholed as something that we, and our customers, have outgrown?

Does our brand tell the wrong, or outdated, story? Is our brand associated with something that is no longer meaningful or has the business model evolved? If this is the case, it may be that a repositioning of your business is required to better reflect your offering and direction. Or it could simply be that when the business first started, for convenience, cost and ease, you had your branding and marketing designed for you by your best mate’s sister, but now it’s grown, evolved and developed has evolved, it’s time to move into more aggressive markets and you need a professional looking brand to reflect this.

What do we want to convey – and to whom?

How do you perceive your brand? The likelihood is it will be very different to how do you think others perceive it. Stripping out the emotional attachment that brand owners will have to their business, it’s key to establish what core values you want to convey – and that they are relevant and appealing to your audience. Stakeholders, customers and employees can help give valuable insight at this stage to help form an objective picture of the reality of your current brand and how you might be able to push forward to your new brand.

Is there scope for your new brand to evolve?

Does your new brand have longevity or the ability to develop with your business - are you anticipating change over the next 5-10 years that will need to be reflected in your brand? Are you going with something that is on-trend right now, but will date quickly and necessitate another rebrand in a couple of years? Whilst you can’t future-proof entirely, you can certainly create a brand that has flexibility for the future as your business evolves. The most classic brands have evolved over the years with subtle, rather than wholesale changes in order that there is a continuity and evolution as opposed to constant revolution.

Have we assigned some committee to manage the project versus someone (or at most, two people) who is/are focused, inspired and can lead?

Any agency or designer will tell you that facing a committee of people who all have an individual subjective opinion on what is being presented creatively is a nightmare. Forming a small team, who have decision-making power, and are able to view the creative objectively whilst focusing on the bigger picture makes for a much quicker, less diluted and ultimately, more pain-free process.

If we were starting our business today, would this be the brand solution we would come up with?

There is no point in hanging on to historical brand elements out of sentimentality. Lots of brands are able to evolve with a nod to the past whilst looking to the future. Be bold and move forwards, not sideways.

The reasons for a rebrand need to be clearly defined – ultimately, ensure it is for reasons of sanity, not vanity. This will help form a brief so that it is clear to your designer or agency what problem they are trying to help you solve. Has your business grown? Are you offering new services? Are you struggling to attract the right calibre of employee? Is your product great but this is not reflected in your existing brand and marketing communications?

At PROGRESS we can help with every step of the rebranding process - from facilitating branding workshops to defining exactly what your brand needs to be, through to conception, positioning and execution.

If you think it may be time for you to rebrand then please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.