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When should you rebrand and redesign your logo?

Nobody cares when you go about rebranding your business. Remember when Coke redesigned their logo? No? That’s because they never did.

Business owners change their brand identity in one of three circumstances:

  1. They are tired of seeing their own logos and brand and want to change it up
  2. They assume others hate them and this will hide them for a while longer. Think Comcast/Xfinity. This is why people hate logo changes so much.
  3. Their ambition for a new service or product no longer matches their current brand story

For most organizations, the first circumstance is the most common. Owners see it all day every day and get tired of looking at the same logo. It’s on every business card and email they send, and they pass those around. That’s understandable, but consumers don’t see that very often. A successful rebrand requires people to recognize the old one and the new one. Short of gargantuan signs and ad budgets, small businesses and organizations are only trading what little past recognition they had for starting over for the sake of starting over.

If you’re in circumstance #2, something went horribly wrong and there’s nothing a logo design or all the social media posts in the world are going to do to fix it and you. Start somewhere else.

You’ll know it’s time to rebrand when you’ve been offering a new product or service for a long time, it’s well-liked, and growing that isn’t represented in your current name or company brand. Long-term, it now makes sense to adjust your logo and brand to reflect this new you.

But you would not undergo a company rebrand any more than you would start a new diet and immediately go buy new clothes. The “new you” has to come first and from within your soul. It’s not enough for the boss to plant a flag one day and say, “We’re going to be the region’s leading supplier of Widget X” when you’ve never made those widgets before. You wouldn’t run out and immediately change your logo to include an image of the widget.

Instead, you’d begin slowly creating the widget to meet specific customer’s needs. You’d see how they felt about it and what was working for them. You’d refine the widget for a generation and only after a year or so would you look up and say, “This was a success. This is who we are now.”

How do you do a small rebrand in the short term?

Communications people have a boss or client demanding their website and marketing materials reflect this new Widget X right away. They need to sell it and they need their sales staff to be well-equipped in a negotiation.

You treat your new product like any other new product:

  • You give it a landing page on your website. Maybe you change color here or there.
  • You give it good support and write-ups..
  • You talk to existing customers
  • Shop it around to the press and local media if applicable.
  • You send emails and make a few social media announcements.
  • Maybe make a video and a brochure.

Meanwhile, all these items use your existing brand story and logo and company photos and colors and fonts and everything else you’ve always used. Don’t confuse your excitement for jumping the gun and don’t forget your customers aren’t paying that much attention. Unless your brand is a real turd, and it probably isn’t, you’ll be fine. Your customers won’t notice unless your company name is specific and narrowly defined. If it demands people ask, “So why are you making Widget X?” Your brand story was likely off from the beginning.

A successful company rebrand requires patience. It requires discipline. Just like any other business endeavor. When should you rebrand a logo? When you know without a doubt you have become a new organization. A new you. Otherwise, stick to logo refinements and refreshes, like a new font or color variations.

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Photo of Justin Harter


Justin has been around the Internet long enough to remember when people started saying “content is king”.

He has worked for some of Indiana’s largest companies, state government, taught college-level courses, and about 1.1M people see his work every year.

You’ll probably see him around Indianapolis on a bicycle.

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