You created a business. You nurtured it. You watched it grow, but then something shifts. You realize, with a pit of dread forming in your stomach, that the brand you worked so tirelessly on no longer suits you and you’re left grappling the question, “How on earth can I rebrand without losing what I’ve already built?”

Rebranding can be an intimidating process, but it can also be a healthy development for a growing business on its way to new levels of success. However, there are a few things that I would recommend keeping in mind to help make your rebrand as effective and efficient as possible.

1. Never rush a rebrand
Rebranding might sound simple enough, but the process is a lot more than choosing a new name and logo. Make sure that you answer all of your brand’s questions to create a complete and thoughtful new brand identity.

Questions to think about include, what is the purpose of my brand? What do I hope to achieve with it? What style do I wish to present? How do I wish to communicate my brand’s message? Where can I see my new brand in 2, 3, or 5 years? Does my rebrand suit my values?

Allow yourself lots of time to really mull these types of questions over to ensure that your rebrand really and truly suits your vision. You’ll also need lots of time to ponder new revised visuals, aesthetic and overall design to architect a complete rebrand.

2. Determine why you need to rebrand
This is perhaps the biggest question of all that needs answering – the why. You can feel disconnected from your business for all sorts of reasons, not all of which require an intensive rebrand in order to be resolved.

For example, if you’re feeling disconnected from your audience, perhaps it is your marketing strategy that is responsible, not your branding. Not converting enough sales? Maybe it’s your pricing that is the issue. Really study the reasons that are making you feel like you want to rebrand to be sure it is the right course of action before you dive in.

3. Understand your audience through and through
Rebranding a business is usually accompanied by a shift in target audience. Establish who your new audience will be and make sure that you understand them so your new branding will resonate. What are they like? Where do they live? What sorts of brands do they like to shop? What do they value in life? Where do they work? How do they play?

This may sound like a lot of nosiness, but knowing these qualities will provide you with invaluable insight for reaching, connecting and marketing to your new target audience so that your business doesn’t miss a beat.

4. Understand your new brand story
A brand story is essentially the entire narrative that expresses, conveys and captures the essence of your business. In other words, what is it about your brand that creates – and more importantly, sustains – a unique emotional connection with your audience?

As I like to say here at Gooseberry, “Branding is the heart and soul of your business; it’s what people talk about when they mention your company name and it’s the feeling they get after spending time with your business, either online or in person.”

So really define the nitty-gritty elements of your brand’s story. Just like a novelist needs to understand their characters inside and out, an entrepreneur should understand their brand’s identity to the same degree. It’s also important to strategically define your brand story in a way that has a terrific longevity. After all, you don’t really want to be rebranding every three years, right?

5. Create a clear and direct branding message
Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” By this same logic you should be able to simply and succinctly explain your brand to someone in two or three straightforward sentences – and here’s the key – without boring them! This exercise is a fantastic way to hone your ‘elevator pitch’ and get right down to the core of what your rebranded business is all about.

For example, my branding message for Gooseberry Studios is:

“Gooseberry is a storytelling studio inspired by the everyday located in downtown Toronto. We specialize in cinematic photography, custom branding services and limited edition fine art home decor prints. It’s the little things that make life grand and Gooseberry is here to capture as many of them as possible.”

No drama, no convoluted explanations, just clear and direct messaging that really hits home.

6. Change all the things
This means business cards, social media handles, logos, stationary, catalogues, email signatures, banners, ad designs, the works! This attention to detail means that you present a united front to the world when unveiling your new and improved brand. It will look polished and professional. (SIDENOTE: One small thing to be aware of, Facebook has limits on how many times a ‘business page’ can change its name. So be mindful of this and make sure your name is something that will last for a long time.)

7. Consider hiring an experienced brand manager
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t know where to start with a rebranding project. There are a lot of moving components to consider and sometimes the best thing you can do is outsource to an experienced brand manager whom you feel comfortable with. Not only will they have industry insights to offer you, but they can turn around a well thought out, mindful and effective rebranding package in half the time that you could, meaning that you can get back down to business sooner than later.

If hiring a brand manager, be sure to request a no-obligation interview by phone or in person and review their portfolio and client testimonials. This will help you to chose a brand manager who best suits your needs, dreams and goals.

8. Run a campaign to let people know about your rebrand
One flashy announcement on Instagram saying, “Hey everyone! Guess what? I rebranded!” isn’t enough to get your new identity out there and, more importantly, recognized in the world. Create a mini marketing campaign to support your business changes. Personally reach out to your professional contacts to introduce them to the updates (and explain why). Host a giveaway. Throw a meet up. Donate your services to a community event. Get creative with introducing your new presence so that the rebrand becomes stuck in people’s minds.

A business can stop feeling right for a number of reasons, because much like a human being, it evolves. Perhaps your operating values change or the type of services you offer diversify? Whatever the reason, rest assured rebranding can be a rejuvenating and restorative experience that makes your business stronger than ever.



Gooseberry Studios