Exercise Caution Before You Attempt to “Rebrand”: You Have Less Control Than You Think

Your business’ brand is its identity to the outside world. More importantly, it’s your identity to your target audience, including your current market and your potential market. Your brand is how these audiences see you, your products and your services. It is, therefore, a fundamental part of your organizational success.

Brands are generally developed and reinforced over time. Once built, brands represent great value and should be changed only based on good, sound reasons. For some businesses, though, there may come a time when it seems like a good idea to rebrand — to toss aside your current image and pursue something new.

There are a variety of reasons a business might want to rebrand: to take on a hip new competitor head on, to cash in on a new market trend the current brand isn’t a great fit for, to enter a completely new market, etc. However, despite these temptations, rebranding is not always sound advice. While many prominent organizations have attempted rebranding, they have seen mixed results. Check out Entrepreneur’s infographic “8 Must-Follow Rules for Rebranding Your Company” and this Business Insider article for some examples of successes and failures.

Do You Have a Good Reason to Rebrand?

Before changing your brand, think long and hard about why you believe you need to rebrand your business. The best reasons to rebrand are generally that your business has, indeed, changed in some meaningful way — e.g. you’ve merged with another company, you’re moving into an entirely new market, you’ve suffered severe damage to your existing image, etc.

Don’t Overestimate Your Control Over Your Brand

Make sure you understand that your brand is defined by your audience — not you. If your attempt to rebrand is related to concerns about not getting enough business, not having enough market share, etc., the issue may not be your brand but one or more elements of the four P’s: your product(s), pricing, place (access) and promotion. Remember, you don’t define your brand; your audience does. The best you can do is attempt to manage your brand.


Rebranding isn’t impossible, and it isn’t necessarily a bad idea. As noted above, there may be some very good reasons to rebrand, but the decision should not be taken lightly. Brands take a long time to develop, and many businesses overestimate their actual level of control, leading to some very high-profile rebranding disasters.

Need help evaluating, or improving, your brand’s image. We can help.


Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement


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2 Responses to “Exercise Caution Before You Attempt to “Rebrand”: You Have Less Control Than You Think”

  1. Linda Pophal says:

    Yes, agree. Definitely not something to enter into lightly. I think the issue here often is understanding what “rebrand” really means. Not a name change. To me, organizations could best spend their time ensuring that all of their products/services/processes are delivering on the “brand promise” right now, whatever that might be.

  2. Jasna Arcaba says:

    I feel that unless you have a major reason to rebrand, you should avoid it. I want to add that if a company rebrands, it means that they are starting from scratch in a way; starting over after years of building the reputation they have. Rebranding could possibly make your company look new and with little to no reputation.

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