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  • Writer's pictureJenny Henderson


Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Building a business is exciting and it's not unusual to get so caught up in planning your business that, to save time and money, you opt for a free logo template online. You're up to your ears building a business and branding just seems like something you can focus on later when you have more cashflow.

You quickly realize that your starter-brand isn't doing your business any favours. There's just so much competition out there that you need a brand that empowers your business and attracts the right people. Or maybe your business has evolved and your initial brand no longer aligns with your current business model.

Whatever your reason, you decide you're ready to invest in your brand to ensure it reflects the value your business has to offer and distinguishes you from the competition.

Rebranding a business successfully means understanding your customer, knowing your competition, thinking long-term, and strategizing the launch. But it's not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Here's what you should know before rebranding your business.


The Three Types of Rebranding

Not all rebrands are created equal. These three types of rebranding approaches will help you determine what scope of rebrand your business may need.

The Minor Rebrand

For brands that are already prominent and well known, every so often they will refine their brand’s image. A great rebranding example for this is Starbucks. The company’s logo has seen many iterations since its debut in 1971.

starbucks rebrand
Starbucks Rebrand

Having become an iconic brand the world over, in 2011 they dropped the name from their logo altogether, further simplifying the design. As trends change, sometimes a company will choose to make minor tweaks and refinements to keep their logo fresh.

The Brand Refresh

The brand refresh is very common and is where many of my rebranding clients are when they hire me. So when do you need a brand refresh?

Usually, this is when your company has evolved in scope since day one. Maybe it's the services or products you offer have grown and your existing brand no longer reflects all of the facets of your business today.

As an example, one of my clients had her own massage practice, Right Path Massage & Movement. As her business grew, her singular focus began to shift and she began adding more services to her business and thinking about its long-term goals.

restorative touch therapies rebrand example
Restorative Touch Therapies Rebrand

Rebranding a business that has outgrown its existing look is when a brand refresh is effective. For my client, we carried over certain elements and colours from her previous brand design — which she still loved — into the new brand, Restorative Touch Therapies.

The Brand Overhaul

This type of rebranding typically comes into play for those companies that have either completely changed their business direction or rushed the initial branding process altogether.

So whether you’re looking to escape an outdated or trendy logo or have finally recognized the value in a proper brand strategy, rebranding is a very worthy investment for long-term success.

Do You Need to Rebrand Your Business?

How do you decide if you need to rebrand? If any of the types of branding above struck a chord with you, then rebranding your business may be the way to go.

  • If your company is focusing on strengthening its existing brand, just refine it.

  • If your business has grown and evolved and you need to accommodate for the new growth or territory, refresh it.

  • If your brand’s aesthetic is outdated and bears no connection to your core values, overhaul it.

Answer these few questions:

  • What products or services do I offer?

  • Who is my target audience?

  • What is the meaning behind my brand name?

  • Is my brand identity attracting the right people?

If the answers to these questions are still the same as when you first started your business, then you may not need a rebrand.

What Are the Risks of Rebranding a Business?

The old adage of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it rings true here. Make sure you decide to rebrand for the right reasons. Do your due diligence to ensure your audience would appreciate the rebrand and not be alarmed by it.

Rebranding a business just for the sake of it can confuse your existing customers. Any existing loyalty can start to diminish with an unsuccessful rebrand. Consistency is always king.

Cases of Unsuccessful Rebranding and What to Learn From Them

The Gap

Probably the most short-lived rebrand was the Gap in 2010. It was the first time they’d rebranded in 24 years and it turned out to be a complete flop. The backlash on the rebrand was so strong that after just six days they reverted to their original logo.

the gap rebrand
The Gap's Rebrand Fail

While I’m sure we would all welcome a brand refresh for the Gap, is it absolutely necessary? No. The brand is so iconic as is that if rebranding the logo is on the docket, it better be done with intent and purpose.

Creemore Springs Brewery

As an avid beer drinker, when I saw Creemore Springs’ rebrand I was not a fan. Their new look was such a pivot from their original, more traditional logo design that it just seemed in poor taste. Almost amateur.

The thing I couldn’t get away from was how much it resembled the Firefox browser logo. Browsers and beer have nothing to do with each other. I just couldn’t see past it.

Creemore Springs Rebrand
Creemore’s rebrand looks like Firefox

The takeaway from Creemore’s unsuccessful rebranding is that they didn’t seem to have a well thought out plan. And I have to assume they didn’t ask a focus group for their feedback.

In my opinion, this rebrand was done without cause and was executed poorly. And to show just how much branding matters — I can’t bring myself to buy their product unless it’s on draught where I’m not directly faced with their new logo.

How to Rebrand a Company

Have Clarity on Why You're Rebranding

First off, be sure you actually need to rebrand. What are your reasons for rebranding and what outcome do you hope to achieve in the process?

Think of Your Customers

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your growing business, but remember that you’re not selling to you — you’re selling to them.

Do Research

Take the opportunity to do research on your target audience and your competition to determine where your brand’s uniqueness can be leveraged. This will help guide the design and messaging behind your new brand.

Have a Rebranding Strategy

If you’re rebranding a business, think about your long-term goals. These goals should factor into your rebranding strategy and, when done properly, they can spare you the need to rebrand again in the future.

Have a Rebrand Implementation Plan

Finally, if you’re debuting your new brand to an existing audience, you’ll need a rebrand implementation plan. How are you going to communicate the new brand to your audience? Be conscientious about how you introduce the new brand to them, and reassure them about your reasons for the change.

Rebranding a business, when done strategically and purposefully, will lead to long-term success. Now that you know the risks of rebranding along with the various ways you can approach a rebrand, ask yourself if your current brand aligns with the values of your business as well as those of your audience. Will it stand the test of time?

If you’re still questioning it, there’s no time like the present to invest in your brand. Learn about the Studio's branding services and see if rebranding your business may be right for you.

rebranding checklist


Jenny Henderson Studio develops memorable brand experiences and strategic brand foundations to improve recognition and revenue for service-based small businesses.


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