Rebranding is neccessary to create a new identity or to drive a new strategy revamping the existing designs.

What is rebranding

When companies need to create a new identity, they do rebrand, using a strategy in which a new name, symbol, term, design, or combination is created and implemented. This is done mostly with the aim of developing a new, albeit different identity in the minds of consumers and stake-holders. Mostly, this involves great changes to a brand's logo, name, legal names, image, marketing strategy, and advertising themes. This exercise is done with an aim to reposition the brand/company, occasionally to distance itself from negativities of previous branding.

When to do rebranding

There are companies rebranded after well known in the market such as 'Best Buy' which was earlier known as 'Sound Of Music' and some other companies rebranded much earlier that we don't even know their original name. Two such examples are 'Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo' to Sony and 'Blue Ribbon Sports' to 'Nike.

​Any time is best time for rebranding as long as it's done right

When we hear about rebranding, we always consider big company rebranding stories. We know umpteen number of global brands with very short brand names. But the real story is that most of these companies didn't start that way or even launched with different product lines all together. Apple was 'Apple Computers' before the iPhone became the number one income and profit generator for them.

Ideally, we need to seriously start considering rebranding once the basic operations are set and company start generating revenue. Most of the company names are given in the initial idea stage by the founder, and the company goes through great transformation in the initial period of setting up and getting more people on board.

There are great examples of companies getting stagnated due to the limitation the company name impose on the overall products or services. So it's ideal to a rethink on the branding as soon as the operations are ready. There is huge chance that the initial idea of products or services changed or even the area of operation and market segment could be different from the beginning.

About the author: Mohd Rafi is a veteran web enthusiast with many successful ventures in the past decade. He contribute regularly at Brandemy. When he’s not busy conceptualising new online ventures, you can find him practicing table tennis and squash.

"Companies can go for re-branding any time, and there are many reasons for the same. Let's see the top reasons for rebranding."

Top Reasons Businesses Should Rebrand

So we can see that there are so many reasons rebranding becomes necessary. Business owners have the tendency to become emotional with their brand and cling to it even while it's not working to their advantage. A shift in that strategy becomes apparent. It is time you look into your brand from the customer perspective and from the point of view of public to see a rebranding is really required.

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10 biggest rebranding stories of recent years.

1. When Philip Morris became Altria

Tobacco kills millions every year. Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, faced this issue as their name was tainted with smoke related death and illness, according to a study by researchers at the University of California San Francisco. So by late 2001, they took a decision to alter the company name to the Altria Group, to safeguard other brands like Kraft from the negative associations, as per the researchers.

2. Andersen Consulting became Accenture

Accenture was born when Andersen Consulting changed it's name on Jan. 1, 2001, when a court decision broke its ties with Andersen Worldwide and Arthur Andersen. The renaming was done at the right time, as Accenture's previous sibling firm, accounting company Arthur Andersen, was caught up as a party in the Enron scandal.

3. When ValuJet became AirTran

When a ValuJet flight carrying 110 people crashed in the Florida Everglades in 1996, everyone in the flight was killed and its reputation nose-dived. But the company rebranded the very next year by buying a smaller company called AirTran Airways and adopting its name.

4. When Kentucky Fried Chicken changed to KFC

Millions munch the fried chicken from KFC everyday. But the company wanted to hide that 'fried' word from the company name. So in 1991, Kentucky Fried Chicken started to subtly rename by focusing to its initials, KFC. At that time, there were different reasons such as rumors that it was because KFC’s chicken didn’t really contain chicken, or that the company didn’t want to pay royalties to Kentucky. The reason was apparently to remove the word “fried” from the name, which management felt gave the brand unhealthy connotations.

5. Datsun changed to Nissan

Datsun was well know in the United States in 70s as fuel efficient Japanese cars after fuel prices increased considerably during the time. But the company rebranded to Nissan in 1981 in order to unify all its cars under one brand. Though it made much sense, company had considerable losses due to the popularity Datsun had in the American public.

6. Blackwater to Xe and then ACADEMI

Blackwater Worldwide came under immense scrutiny in the late 2000s when security contractor was involved in many questionable incidents, including a 2007 shootout in Iraq that killed 17 people. Blackwater security guards were convicted and jailed for their role in the shooting. In 2009, they changed their name as Xe Services. Then, in 2011, company were sold, and new leaders came in, and became known as ACADEMI. ACADEMI was acquired in 2014 by Triple Canopy, and they took on the name of Constellis Holdings.

7. WWF becomes WWE

World Wrestling Federation had to change their name to World Wrestling Entertainment Inc due to a legal conflict with the World Wildlife Fund over the use of the acronym WWF. In 2002, the wrestling entity finally obliged to change its name to avoid tangling with WWF’s pandas.

8. Lucky and GoldStar Co., Ltd shortened to became LG Electronics

South Korean LG started in 1947 as Lucky, a chemical company producing cosmetics and plastics; and later GoldStar is started, which sold electronics. The brand changed its name to LG in 1995 to cater to the western market. And a new slogan, 'Life's Good' also adopted. ​

9. When Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web became Yahoo!

Yahoo was originally named 'Jerry's guide to the world wide web' The site was called after founder Jerry Yang, who created it with David Filo in 1994, when they were studying together at Stanford. In 1995, we saw them rebranding it to Yahoo.

10. When BackRub became Google

Google was initially named as BackRub by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The search engine operated on Stanford servers around an year, when they had bandwidth issues have to move out. Following year, they registered and rest is well known.

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When companies need to create a new identity, they do rebrand, using a strategy in which a new name, symbol, term, design, or combination is created and implemented. This is done mostly with the aim of developing a new, albeit different identity in the minds of consumers and stake-holders. Mostly, this involves great changes to a brand's logo, name, legal names, image, marketing strategy, and advertising themes. This exercise is done with an aim to reposition the brand/company, occasionally to distance itself from negativities of previous branding.

"Rebranding has to be undertaken with a proper plan and budget. Involving all the stakeholder, such as employees and customers will make it more acceptable and will bring the initial enthusiasm to the rebranding process."

Proactive Rebranding

Rebranding could be pro-actively done to seize an opportunity or as a reaction to the changes in products or services and market position.

Major reasons for proactive rebranding could be the following.

Reactive Rebranding

In most of the times, rebranding happens as a result of significant changes in the company itself.

These are the most important causes of reactive rebranding:  

Pro Tip Plan Ahead With Your Brand Name

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Rebranding Disasters

1. BP logo disaster.

The idea behind BP logo redesign was to make it appear more ecofriendly. But company and the new logo got all the attention when BP was responsible for the biggest oil spill of all time. So the logo redesign to show more environmentally friendly face for the company was jinxed to be associated with environmental disaster.

2. Gap with Gradient Experiment.

Gap was using the logo for a very long time, so they felt it necessary to update it in order to be with the time. So they replaced their well know logo with san serifs font and added a square next to it. But the public reaction was so so strong that they had to go back to their previous logo within a week.

3. Kraft to Kraft Foods.

When Kraft changed their well recognised logo in 2009 to Kraft Foods, there was huge cry against it from their loyal customers. Company had to revert their logo to the old one. It would have been a costly affair though no data available.

4. MasterCard makes it complicated.

Mastercard has a simple, elegant logo recognised by the world over. When they thought about changing it in order to be with the trend of that time, it was not well received. They had to revert to their old brand soon.

5. Netflix and Qwikster.

Netflix thought it would be better to separate their DVD-shipping business and named it Qwikster. Since it made more confusion that anything logical to most of the people, they soon withdrawn it.

Rebranding process: Step by step process to plan and execute rebranding.​​​

Rebranding is not an easy process. It involves an underlying theme and should have a positive feeling with your clients. You should collect all the opinion that's coming your way and create a proper strategy, and execute it with considerable thought process and research.

1. Start with your mission, vision and values.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Most of the companies have their mission, vision and the list of values as an afterthought. It's the right time to revisit and restyle the mission statement and re-list the values as the first step of the rebranding process.

2. A Wholesome planning is a good strategy.

While we planning rebranding,  we should have the overall picture in mind. It should ideally include packing, logo, website, signage, flyers etc so that there is a new identity as a whole. You can then implement the rebrand exercise by part, but we have to make sure that there is no confusion by way of split identity etc. So plan the rebranding and the stages in such a way as to not conflict the newer and older elements. Rebranding is all about creating a new, better feeling with your audience. 

3. Try to keep brand elements which are working.

There is every chance that some of your brand values and elements are working well. So before you think discarding your current brand, evaluate this and try to retain things that are working. This will also provide continuity in your brand identity and will allow you to minimize the resistance to change.

4. Proper consideration of market and competition.

While looking at rebranding, we have to look at the trend and the competition in order to create the right place in the market. While considering the latest trends, we have to see whether those trends matches our products and the values we are following and the longevity of the same. Brand should create a consistent feeling with the audience and should last a reasonable time period. 

5. Rebranding is a unifying process.

In order for the rebranding to work with the masses, it should work inside the company. Collaboration and taking feedback from even consumers is the key to create a positive vibe around the rebrand. Reward staff for positive feedback and involvement and make the entire exercise their own. When each employee and even customers part-take in the rebranding exercise, they will become the brand ambassadors for your company.

6. Consider rebranding as client project with funding and timeline.

It is a good idea to consider rebranding as a client project with proper funding and timeline. Most of the times, internal rebranding exercise could take a backseat due to customer priorities and lack of funding. So proper project management is the right way to approach the rebranding exercise. It could be a simple spreadsheet or by using proper project management tools with multiple timelines and deliverable.

7. Finally, tell the world!

Now that you have reached the stage to showcase your efforts in rebranding, do it in style. Create  a roadmap for the unveiling of the rebrand and take efforts not to confuse your customers. There will be always some resistance to changes, so taking along your audience and involving them in your efforts is the key.

Rebranding is instrumental in improving brand values and creating a future roadmap of expansion. It might bring the best return on investment for the company if it's carefully planned and executed. Have a serious look at your brand identity and feeling it creates with your customers and look at ways to improve the value of your brand. Rebranding could be done at any stage of business regardless of the scale of operation.

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