Rebranding: the “Should you / Shouldn’t you” guide

Rebranding can revitalize a company… But should you do it?


Have you ever thought about rebranding?

If you’re like many business owners, the answer is a resounding yes.

After all, in the face of stagnant sales, incessant competition and changing markets, the idea of becoming a new, “different” company can be alluring.

But rebranding isn’t a walk in the park—and if you do it wrong, the consequences to your business can be dire.

Should you consider rebranding?

Here are some scenarios where overhauling your brand might make sense.

  • New product. If you’ve recently launched a new product or service that has the potential to confuse your customers, you might think about rebranding that part of the business. We don’t often recommend this approach, though. At BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE, we feel it makes sense most of the time to create one Master Brand and then roll out sub-brands underneath it.
  • New mission. A shift in your most basic reason for being definitely merits a rebranding conversation. For example, if you’ve been providing services to clients and now want to focus exclusively on teaching them, a rebrand is probably in order.
  • New image. If you’ve had a PR disaster—or an actual one—and you’re trying to distance yourself from it, rebranding may help you achieve your goal. This is difficult to do though, especially in a world where the internet can help even the least savvy customers see through your efforts. Witness tobacco giant Philip Morris and their attempt to rebrand as Altria.
  • New customers. If you’ve managed to attract a new market—whether by choice or by accident—rebranding may make sense. In the early 2000s, for example, Andersen Consulting split from its parent because its best clients wanted only consulting services. It then rebranded to Accenture to further distance itself from the accounting giant. (Good thing, too, as Andersen collapsed over its ties to Enron.)
  • New needs from current customers. The Canadian arm of Radio Shack, after being bought out in a consumer electronics deal, initially rebranded as The Source by Circuit City. But when its new owner began to falter, it became simply The Source—a move whose timing couldn’t have been better. Circuits and radios are things of the past, and the new name suggests that no matter where electronics go in the future, The Source will be there to provide that tech to its customers. (And both Circuit City and Radio Shack are now distant memories.)
  • New competition. To say things were different in the 90s than they were in the 50s is an understatement. But through that whole time, Kentucky Fried Chicken had the word “fried” right there in its name. 1991 saw a move to KFC, however, in a move away from that F-word. Too many healthy restaurants were giving the chicken giant a run for its money—so the move made sense. (Unfortunately, they handled the rebranding poorly; rumors persist to this day that they switched to KFC because they were no longer legally allowed to claim their product was “chicken.”)

When shouldn’t you rebrand?

Occasionally, businesses undertake a rebranding for the wrong reasons. Here are three.

  • New management. If all you’ve changed about your company is the management group—and the same problems you’ve always had continue to exist—your rebranding will never work.
  • New whims. Department store Macy’s lost a staggering amount of brand equity when it moved to a “one-brand” policy and renamed iconic brands like Chicago’s Marshall Field’s and Memphis’ Goldsmith’s. At the time, the decision was seen as foolish; Macy’s seemed to have recovered by the beginning of this decade but is struggling again.
  • New internal issues. If you’ve identified that you’re having trouble connecting with your market, is that a branding problem? Or is it because your marketing is horrible, or your customer service is poor, or your services aren’t delivered well? Be careful—not every issue is one that rebranding can solve.


In a perfect world, your competition would never change their strategy, your customers would stay loyal forever, and you’d see exponential growth year after year. This is obviously not the case—and while you don’t want to be too hasty with a rebranding exercise, don’t discount the power of reinventing your brand, either.



“Hey, What Do You Think Of My Logo?”

Why A DIY Rebranding Isn’t Worth The Savings

We’ve talked before about signs it may be time to rebrandIf you’re feeling off-track, incohesive, if you’ve had PR problems, or if you’ve outgrown your original brand, you know you need to make some changes – but where to start?

If you’ve seen our founder, Re Perez, speak, you’ve probably heard him say that one of the most common questions he’s asked is “hey, what do you think of my logo?” (and not to ask that).

Knowing Just Enough To Be Dangerous

Maybe you’ve heard of the concept of “knowing just enough to be dangerous”. This 2015 op-ed from the New York Times describes an English-speaking critical care doctor working with a Spanish-speaking patient. The doctor knows just enough Spanish to communicate with the patient, but the conversation lacks nuance, context, cultural positioning – all things that we take for granted speaking in our native language.

“I do not know what I might have missed that night,” the doctor concludes. “And what scares me now, looking back at this and countless other similar stories, is that I will most likely never know.”

Here’s the connection to trying to DIY rebranding: Like the doctor diagnosing the patient with only very basic, decontextualized information, asking a branding agency or professional to ‘diagnose’ your logo with no other information may not kill your brand – but it’s tough to do without nuance, context, and any other information regarding your brand as a whole.

Not Knowing What You Don’t Know

These days, it’s not that difficult to find programs that will generate a logo for you – but as we know, audiences hate change. It can be hard enough to rebrand with a strategy, but downright disastrous without.

Here’s the thing: DIY rebranding may seem cost-effective in the short term, but could cost you big by alienating your target audience, not being clear, being strange, clunky, or incohesive.

Even larger brands can make this very basic mistake. Remember back in 2013, when Yahoo rebranded?

“We need to be really entrepreneurial and our attitude is to be really scrappy, and the way that we did the logo — we kept it in-house, we didn’t have someone, you know, as an external firm or consulting firm, we didn’t spend millions of dollars doing it. We did it in a way that came from a very authentic place,” Marissa Meyer said at the time.

But Mayer’s DIY rebranding approach didn’t quite land.  “Authenticity” isn’t a synonym for “amateur”. When you’re dealing with something as critical as your brand’s identity, there are so many ways you can go wrong if you’re not quite sure what you’re doing – even if you are a CEO.

In Conclusion

Your brand much more than your logo, and trying to rebrand yourself might seem like a good, “authentic” way to go, but it can cost you dearly in the long run. If you’re pretty sure it’s time to rebrand, do it right from the beginning with our 7-POINT BRAND AUDIT.

When is it Time to Rebrand Your Company?

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that we preach consistency, consistency, consistency!

A consistent brand experience, for a targeted buyer, in their language, across all 7 major touch points (Logo, Color, Typography, Voice/Personality, Photography, Info Hierarchy & Positioning) is the bedrock of any trustworthy and compelling brand.

Why then would you EVER rebrand your company? Wouldn’t that just throw everyone off and force you to rebuild your brand equity within the minds of the consumer from scratch?
7 Up Brand History
This is the question that is on everyone’s mind lately! We are in an era of rebranding and rebirth, and it seems like all of the major Fortune 100 corporations are trying on new outfits every other day of the week! Here are a few organizations that have rebranded recently…

    1. Phillip Morris to Altria


    1. Southwest Airlines


    1. 7 UP


    1. Pitney Bowes


    1. Electrolux


    1. USA Today


    1. Boston Chicken


    1. The New School


    1. Dominos


    1. Microsoft


    1. Gap


    1. Tropicana


    1. Starbucks


    1. BP


    1. Old Spice


    …you get the picture.

The New School Brand History

So why did they do it, and when is it time to rebrand YOUR company?


There are 4 scenarios when it is DEFINITELY appropriate to rebrand. The first would be to distance a company from a bad reputation or disaster. The infrastructure of a company might have value and plenty of revenue, but the brand could be weighing down that value. In this case, the brand is diminishing the company’s ability to improve on a poor record. Companies that have taken this route include BP and Phillip Morris (to name a few).


Perhaps the most wide-spread reason to rebrand is to remain relevant! Sometimes a company’s logo, at the moment of creation, embodies the style of a certain decade. So, much like you don’t expect to see a 70’s era hippie at an 80’s punk rock concert, neither should a company with a dated visual identity expect to compete against a modern counterpart. If you want to remain relevant, and appear to be on-top of the best practices within an industry, you’ll need a brand that matches your intention. Companies that pride themselves on relevant branding include both of today’s examples, 7 UP and The New School in NYC. They also include The Gap, Starbucks, Old Spice, Microsoft (of course a tech company would want to remain relevant!), USA Today, Electrolux and Pitney Bowes.


Another reason why a rebrand is in order is if your company has expanded beyond or out of its original mission. Some companies, such as Dominos, don’t JUST serve pizza anymore, so they wanted to drop the association. Another organization, Boston Chicken, who wanted to appear to be MORE than just a chicken company, rebranded to Boston Market! Who knew? If it is time for your company to take a closer look at your brand’s growth strategy, head on over to our contact page and drop us a line!


The last, and most important reason to rebrand, and one that EVERY SINGLE COMPANY above has gone through, is to shed an original, poorly designed identity, for one befitting a fast growth, successful organization. Every company goes through this… when they start out they simply can’t afford good branding, it isn’t the focus and it isn’t the expertise of the founder. So, they wait until they can hire the big guns to give them clarity, cohesion, and a compelling approach. This is exactly what BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE excels at, and if you’d like our help taking you from successful to REALLY successful, just use our contact page. We’ve made miracles happen for all of the companies on our portfolio page and we’d like to work with you, too.

Rebranding a Professional Organizer into a National Brand

Entrepreneurs frequently ask me: “How do I know when is the right time to brand (or rebrand)?

My response is always: “What are your business objectives that branding can help solve?”

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, your answer might fit in one of the following categories:

  • Get more clients or customers
  • Make more money
  • Attract higher end clientele (or diversify clientele)
  • Increase conversions
  • Position the company as a leader in the category
  • Differentiate the company from competitors
  • Present the business in a professional manner
  • Build a national or global brand

When Scott Roewer approached BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE, he had already achieved success in building a professional organizing business. However, he knew it was time to revisit his brand because his biggest business objective was to build a national brand. In the context of that business objective, we needed to solve the following problems:

  • Create a new company name that would not have his personal name in it, so he could leverage himself and expand his team
  • Position the brand to become million-dollar, national brand
  • Rebrand the look and feel that would leverage his current visual branding, but evolve it into a broader visual system.




Our solution:

  • We changed the company from “Solutions By Scott” to “The Organizing Agency”
  • We designed a visual look and feel with a dynamic color system, typography and photography style
  • We created the brand assets for his web developer and social media team to extend the brand online

Below are some visuals of his new brand.





Please comment below and let us know what you think of Scott’s new brand.