Published on October 14, 2016, at 10:37 a.m.
By Brittany Ray
When organizations undergo a rebrand, their publics take notice. But why do organizations engage a process that can change their appearance completely?
Rebranding can occur within an organization for an array of reasons. This can include the desire to appear visually different or the need to change the mission. Some organizations simply outgrow their identity as a whole.
“[Organizations] try to draw a line between the past and the future,” said Julia Hood, chief content officer of Haymarket U.S. and global brand director for PRWeek. The need to differentiate what was and what will be is common within a rebrand. The need to stay relevant with the times is crucial.
Rebranding is necessary in the aspect that organizations can be left behind when new trends develop. In an Entrepreneur article, Andre Bourque explained that “sometimes a rebrand is necessary just to keep your company competitive in an ever-changing and evolving market.” With new social media platforms and different forms of communication constantly updating and changing, organizations must stay ahead of (or with) the curve.
For example, Snapchat or Snap Inc. is undergoing a rebrand in order to be viewed as “a camera company — as opposed to a social media company.” Snap Inc.’s decision to transition into more than just a social media platform demonstrates the point that rebranding is necessary when you outgrow your original identity. Originally, just an app to send pictures for no more than 10 seconds, Snap Inc. has developed into a business that hosts ads on its Discover page, and now will sell video-recording sunglasses. Snap Inc. is no longer just a social media platform, nor will it be just a business. Snap Inc. will create an experience through social media.
However, rebranding will come with a lot of worry or doubt from your key publics.
“[It] felt like a real departure,” Hood said in reference to PRWeek’s logo change. Hood’s opinion on the visual identity of PRWeek is a feeling many consumers can relate to when it comes to a visual rebranding within an organization. Few are advocates for change. Therefore, when familiarity is stripped from the consumer, skepticism can occur.
Rebranding should also entice excitement within your internal community.
Taylor Shelnutt, former firm director of Capstone Agency, a student-run communication firm, led a rebrand for the agency in fall of 2015.
“Internally, it made our members more creative and more interested in performing at a higher level,” Shelnutt said. She noted that delegation is important while undergoing a rebrand. Dividing up tasks and meeting deadlines make the process run smoothly.
One consensus on rebranding is that it should only occur if you are committed. Rebranding is a challenging process that takes time and creativity to pull off. Hood said that the hardest part is deciding how to do the rebrand. Time and resources will be spent brainstorming ideas and looking at the new brand from every angle in order to anticipate skepticism.
Whether it’s time to rebrand or not, a momentous amount of preparation and commitment is necessary in order to create a successful, new look for a company. Rebranding is more than just the chance to change the visual identity of an organization.
It “gives you the chance to tell your story without a lot of filter from media,” Hood said.