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Risks of rebranding your business

So, you’re considering a rebrand. It sounds great in principle; a new look which hopefully stimulates new interest in your business, but there are a number of risks to be aware of… Here’s what you need to consider to ensure a successful rebrand.

Gap: Massive rebrand fail!

One of the most famous rebrand disasters was the estimated $100 million nose dive of Gap’s 2010 ‘make under’. Going from an iconic, well known and well loved logo which had a distinctive personality, they produced an overly minimalist Helvetica logotype devoid of any acknowledgement of their existing identity. It wasn’t a change for the better; it was a change for the sake of it. Needless to say this was noticed and within six days they had reverted back to their old branding.

Gap rebrand 2014

Already an icon? Stay true to your roots

If your brand is widely recognisable then use this to your advantage; staying true to the original identity is safer than taking the plunge into the unknown, but it needn’t be boring. A new identity can make subtle references towards the existing brand,whether this be through the colour palette, typography or illustration. Make sure your rebrand is made to last, not just following a short lived trend destined to disintegrate the following week.

Define the new brand properly to ensure consistency

Firstly, have your designer supply a full suite of logo files in the correct formats (EPS / PDF). Logos for print should use Pantone and CMYK colours. Logos for screen; RGB and HEX/HTML; if you don’t have a full set of logo files, a week after launching your new brand your new colours will start to look inconsistent.

Pantone Colours

Secondly, Ensure you receive the full colour palette with all required colour values. Your lovely new brand that uses Pantone 2291 (for example) is going to look pretty off brand when you send that Pantone to print on a CMYK press. Brand colour palettes should include brand colours as Pantones, CMYK, RGB, HEX / HTML and in some instances you may even want to include a RAL reference (for paint and coloured plastics etc).

Make it timeless

Don’t use typography that’s going to cause problems down the line, make sure the new brand typeface available for web use as well as print. Does the new typeface have an expensive license? And if so, is there a fallback option? A good example is Gotham; great font but expensive. Not everyone knows but Montserrat is a great fallback to Gotham. It’s free and almost identical.

Make it safe for multi-contextual use

Consider how your new image and branding will translate onto different platforms, what might look fantastic on your MacBook could look awful in other situations, make sure the design is able to retain its integrity when blown up on a billboard or printed on a business card.

Branding Billboard

Understand the true cost

Remember, the cost of a rebrand isn’t simply the case of getting some logo files and some business cards. Everything customer-facing must be revisited, including your stationery, printed marketing material, website and social media profiles. Not to mention (if applicable) the staff uniforms, company vehicles and business premises. If this isn’t executed in unison, your new brand will be inconsistent, resulting in confusion.

New brand name?

If you’ve decided to brave a change of name for your business (or if you’re naming a business for the first time) then these steps will help you:

  • Google search the potential name to screen the results that come up; you may change your mind quite quickly when you discover your brilliant new name is already owned by a corporate giant!
  • Carry out a Trademark Availability Search with the Intellectual Property Office – do not use a name that has already been trademarked under the same classes your business plans to trade in, and if you’re planning on trademarking a name that another business uses at all, be aware that you’re still likely to encounter an objection.
  • If Google and trademarks haven’t put you off, check the name is available at Companies House.
  • Nobody likes a naff name. Get feedback on your proposed name (and take it on board) because it may not be as cool as you think it is.

Humans are creatures of habit, they don’t like change unless they have chosen to make that change. If you going to make a change for them then make it well and make it worth it.

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