5 Tips for Conducting a Rebrand Without Killing Past Marketing Efforts

Image by rawpixel.com via Dribbble

Rebranding a company is always a huge risk – after all, you are taking all of the hard work you’ve done to establish the brand and starting from scratch. Most of the work that marketers do is focused solely on branding.

In fact, 37% of marketers state that their number one goal is building brand recognition. Further, 48% measure their marketing success on brand awareness.

Marketers top priority

However, it is certainly necessary from time to time, especially if you intend to reach wider audiences or new customer segments.

Some brands have done a fabulous job of this. Take Target for example. This retailer first opened in the 90s and was considered to be a low-cost retailer similar to Walmart. However, thanks to effective rebranding and collaborations with high-end designers, Target has certainly established itself as a high-quality merchandiser.

There are many reasons why you might consider undergoing a rebrand yourself. But, no matter the motivation, you need to make sure that it goes off without a hitch. Here are some tips to help guide you through a rebrand without losing all of the hard work you’ve done in the past.

#1. Get Down to the Core of Your Brand

When a company designs to rebrand themselves, they often want to change their perception.

A recent example is the infamous clothing brand, Abercrombie & Fitch. They dominated the early 2000s with heavily branded clothes and were known for their rather scandalous models adorning their marketing materials. Unfortunately, this perception of being a heavily branded store for teens kept them from growing as fashion preferences changed.

Abercrombie recently rebranded to change their perception and reconnect with past customers. They wanted to show that they have grown up with their customers. Now, their store offers Millennial-approved basics and trendy pieces with no logo on site. Their styles are nearly unrecognizable compared to their old products – and customers are loving it.

Abercrombie Instagram Page

One reason that this rebrand was so successful was because Abercrombie did a great job of clarifying three things: what was changing, what was staying the same, and why. So, when going through a rebrand, you need to do the same.

 icon-angle-right What is Changing

First, clarify the most basic elements that you want to change, such as:

  • Target audience
  • Product offerings
  • Brand perception
  • Industry focus

 icon-angle-right What is Staying the Same

Try to create a clear definition of the values you want to hold fast to, such as quality, trustworthiness, or reliability. You need to have a clear brand identity in place and make sure your entire team understands it before portraying it to your audience.

 icon-angle-right Answer the Why

Finally, make sure you have a solid reason behind each change and each remaining element. Say that you want to change the company’s logo. The reason for this could be to make the brand seem more modern, higher-end, or appealing to a new audience group.

Rebranding is a huge deal and is an expensive process. Most companies spend about 10% of their entire marketing budget solely on rebranding efforts – so you want to be sure you have a solid reason behind each choice you make.

#2. Strategically Rebrand Old Content

As a marketer, you know that a lot of effort goes into improving your brand’s online visibility through SEO. This involves a lot of strategies, content creation, and keyword research. You don’t want to lose all of your SEO efforts just because your company wants to change its name and logo.

Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to. Instead, you can simply build upon what you already have and improve it.

Your company’s blog is a perfect starting place. Start by analyzing your posts to see which ones are the highest performers and which keywords are driving in the most traffic. You don’t want to get rid of these posts entirely – so, you can restructure them to match the rebrand. This could include:

  • Adding in new visual elements
  • Changing brand name mentions
  • Updating facts or statistics
  • Including new examples or product links

Optimizing older content to fit in with your new brand can help you keep your ranking on the SERPs, too. HubSpot ran an internal experiment by updating some of their older blog posts when their traffic rates had started to dwindle. A few simple changes to the content resulted in a 106% rise in organic traffic!

#3. Explain the Rebrand to Your Audience

Have you ever noticed when a company decides to rebrand out of the blue?

Perhaps you’ve been shopping in the grocery store looking for a specific item when you see that their packaging and logo look different.

This could be rather shocking and likely leads you to question why they decided to do this. Your customers need to know why you decided to change. Plus, they should also be clued in on what they can expect from your “new” brand.

The rebrand of ABC Family to FreeForm is a great example here. This network was known in the past to showcase family-friendly and “wholesome” shows. However, as they started to include more risqué dramas, the network got some negative publicity from upset parents.

So, they let their audience know that a rebrand was coming as the network changed to FreeForm. They ran commercials and marketing campaigns to let viewers know that big changes were coming. Their slogan for the change said it all:

Freeform Rebrand

While this is a rather extreme example, it is wise to give your audience a bit of a heads up about what will be changing. Let them know that you’re shifting to give them a better experience, to address past concerns, or to simply catch up with the times!

#4. Build the Anticipation

Maintaining connections with your old customers is crucial to your rebrand’s success. All marketers know that repeat customers have a far higher value than new ones – so you want to make sure you don’t lose them. One way to do this is to get your customers excited by building up the anticipation of your brand reveal.

Social media is the perfect platform for this.

You can reveal hints with posts and share countdowns for the big reveal. This is exactly what Panera Bread did when they announced their new restaurant rebrand in 2019. Their rather cryptic posts on Instagram generated a ton of buzz and engagement, which helped their announcement make a bigger impact when it went live.

Panera bread Big News Announcement

#5. Make the New You Abundantly Clear

Once you effectively launch the rebrand, you need to make sure that your customers can pinpoint what is new and different. Of course, a new logo, color scheme, or product line is an obvious answer. However, if there was a deeper reasoning behind the rebrand, make sure your audience knows that you’ve changed.

For instance, say that your brand was getting a reputation for having poor customer service. This is a terrible perception for any company – so your rebrand should focus primarily on changes to the customer experience.

All of your marketing content needs to convey deeper reasoning behind your obvious modifications. Be sure to stay in touch with your past customer base through email and social media messaging to convey these changes. Let your customers know that you’ve listened, learned, and changed ultimately to make things better for them.


Going through a rebrand can be an extremely stressful experience for any marketer. It’s a huge risk and your company’s reputation is on the line. If things go wrong, it could be a total waste of time and resources – or worse.

Thankfully, there are some ways to keep your rebrand in check and help things go a bit more smoothly. And one of the biggest secrets is to use your past marketing efforts to your advantage.

You don’t need to throw out all the hard work you’ve done to market your company in the past. Instead, use it as a way to forge forward with your new brand and connect with both new and old audiences.

About the Author!

With over ten years of experience Alan SS Brown and the team at Dexterous Media Group has been writing and producing media to support small businesses across the USA through online marketing and education.

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