4 Rebranding Challenges: What to Prepare for When Rebranding Your Business

In my last post, I talked about why you should pause and check if your brand is still aligned with your vision and business goals. Otherwise, it might be time to prepare for the process of rebranding your business.

Whether you’re attempting to introduce your business to a new audience or you simply want to bring your visuals and messaging up to date, it’s important that you approach the rebrand carefully and ask yourself if the changes are based on proper research and reasoning.

While rebranding is exciting, it’s also a task you shouldn’t take lightly.

Here are a few things you need to think about when rebranding to make sure you’re truly ready for the ride.

1. Rebranding means change, and change is often hard

The idea of rebranding your business can be scary, and the truth is there is a very compelling reason why you feel that way. 

It can be difficult to give up something you have put your sweat and tears into, no matter how much you know it’s not working. And trust me here, I know this from first-hand experience. 

As the business owner, this often means admitting that something isn’t turning out the way you thought it would.

The changes can also be hard for your employees, as they may not understand at first why you’re willing to throw all of their hard work away and start from scratch.

How to prepare for this challenge:

It’s all about communication.

Be transparent and tell them your reasoning behind such a major decision. You also want to involve them in the rebranding process so you can bridge the gap and gain their support for the endeavor. Because you will need it.

Consider what a rebrand says about your business.

A rebrand says, “Something does not work, and we’re aware of it.” And while there are many good reasons to decide a rebrand is needed, your audience may not be aware of any problems or challenges you deal with. In fact, they may really like the brand you currently have.

Including them in the process and sharing the behind the scenes can help you introduce the change step by step and make them excited about it along the way.

2. Not everyone will be a fan of the new direction

It’s important to remember that no matter how hard you try, you can’t please everybody. Just as there are people who are unhappy with the way your business currently presents itself, there will be many others offering unsolicited opinions when you unveil the brand’s new direction.

This is why it’s so important for you to be engaged in the rebranding process, and to help your audience understand the reasoning behind the important decisions and outcomes.

How to prepare for this challenge:

First things first, filter out the noise. You will receive a lot of comments from many people, but you don’t have to accept all of them. Otherwise, you’ll just go crazy. 

Look for feedback that is helpful and specific. A comment saying they don’t like the new logo is vague, unhelpful, and doesn’t tell you anything about what you need to change.

It also helps to solicit opinions from your core audience. There’s nothing more valuable than input from your most loyal clients; they will tell you what works and what doesn’t.

Since 1996, Animal Planet had been represented by the blue globe and the elephant silhouette. Everyone knew what it stood for: the planet Earth and wildlife preservation. Its loyal audience loved the logo, and when the television network dumped it for the horizontal M in 2018, the reaction was universally negative. The M logo was then replaced with an updated version of the iconic elephant.

Source: Merca2.0

3. A rebrand takes time, and rushing it may not end well

If you want to ensure a successful rebrand, you need to give the process the time it needs to properly develop. This way, you’ll have more space to conceptualize a new vision, ensure the direction aligns with the concept, and plan your brand’s transition into its new identity.

But we all know how challenging it is to find the time for such a heavy task when you’re already busy running a business.

I’ve come to realize that there’s a big disconnect between the client’s timetable (they usually want things done ASAP, of course) and the time and energy they can actually invest into the project. 

I like to think that I’m a go-getter, but there are some things that I can’t do alone. I need the client to provide data and participate in meetings and brainstorming sessions so they can make informed decisions. This is honestly why many projects get postponed.

It’s important to carefully consider how a single change can reverberate throughout the entire business.

If you’re rebranding a company that sells physical products, you would need to give manufacturing and shipping enough time to adjust (boxes and labels don’t print themselves) before you can be ready for the launch. The same goes for rebranding a small coaching business: you need to account for the digital materials you deliver to your clients, emails, social media accounts, and the list goes on. 

You also need to give people time to adjust to the new identity. Trust me, people can always tell if the process was rushed.

Just look at Facebook’s rebranding into Meta, an announcement that caught everyone off-guard. The tech giant said that the word “meta” highlighted its transition from a social media company into a metaverse company.

However, the rebrand comes amid a tumultuous period for Facebook. Many people, including Facebook’s own investors, have claimed that the rebrand was a rushed attempt to deflect press from reports that the company disregarded user safety in the pursuit of profit. Many in the tech industry have also blasted Facebook’s rebranding as an attempt to hijack a concept the company had no hand in creating.

Needless to say, the rebrand was a failure.

How to prepare for this challenge:

Give yourself time to prepare. Set aside time in your schedule to ensure you can give each task the attention it deserves. 

The rebranding process takes months of planning and execution. In my experience, the usual timeframe for a full rebrand (this includes formulating strategy, designing new logo and visuals, updating the website and socials) takes at least 3 months, depending on the size of the company.

4. A rebrand can be emotionally challenging

Rebranding is a process that requires you to step outside of your comfort zone, embrace the unknown, and get ready to confront any challenge that comes your way. It can be exciting at the beginning, challenging and frustrating in the middle, and truly rewarding at the end.

Unfortunately, the middle part is where many people get stuck, or straight up give up.

The process may often feel like going to therapy, especially when you’re rebranding something that’s near and dear to your heart.

Consider what goes on in therapy: you are trying to solve a problem. You’re bound to uncover the culprits and you may not like what you hear. You may also find it difficult to get yourself to commit to the solutions.

It takes emotional energy to sit down and think about your goals, what makes you happy, and what the overall vision for your business is. It is definitely a path of ups and downs and, while it should feel rewarding at the end, sometimes it may feel more like a burden. 

I’d say that half of my clients struggle with this to some extent.
Some of my past clients admitted that they had to force themselves into answering my intro questionnaire. But once they set aside time for the task and dove deep into my questions, they started uncovering deeper motivations to follow through.

The thing is your motivation to rebrand ebbs and flows. 
First, the initial rush that happens after your first few successes. Then comes the period when you need to push yourself to dive into the project because that’s the only way you get excited about working on it. Finally, the stars begin to align and you experience a resurgence of energy that helps you bring the process to the finish line.

But life happens, and you get overwhelmed again and you need to remind yourself of the whys and what once in a while.

How to prepare for this challenge:

I know I said a rebrand can take months, but that doesn’t mean you have to drag the process out. 

Demotivation often stems from procrastination, and it helps to finish the project without wasting too much time. Stick to your schedule and try to avoid long lulls of inactivity.

And try to be more flexible, especially if you’re a perfectionist (I might know something about this!) Doing something is almost always better than doing nothing. Always make it a point to finish something, even if it’s not 100% perfect (in your eyes). Brands are meant to evolve, and you’re still going to have to change a few things once you take the feedback into account.

Throughout my career, I’ve found that very few people expect a flawless launch. And even if they find a mistake or two, they won’t care if you make a few changes.

The bottom line

When it comes to rebranding, mindset is just as important as execution. You may have a brilliant team of artists and strategists at your disposal, but if your heart isn’t in it, the process is going to become a lot more painful and tedious.

Accept that change is difficult, and make sure that everyone understands your reasons for the rebrand. And give yourself enough time to dive into every aspect of the project. I’m sure you know that rushing only causes more problems than it solves.

Find your people and listen to what they have to say. No one expects you to do everything yourself, and who knows, you might discover something useful from other people’s comments.

Do you need help with rebranding your business?
Hop on a
discovery call with me to get started!

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4 Rebranding Challenges: What to Prepare for When Rebranding Your Business

Zuzana Zapletal

Brand Strategist, Creative Designer & Recovering Perfectionist on a mission to help you become more confident about your brand.

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