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The Great Rebranding Dilemma

Written by: Jessica East, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


“A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers,” or so says Wikipedia.

Organizations can agree that having a brand and carrying it through to both their print and digital assets is key for growth and customer recognition. But what about rebranding? While it’s tempting to throw caution to the wind and start a new brand as fashions or department heads change, that may not be the best solution.

Things to consider before rebranding


Seriously. WHY do you want to rebrand yourself? Some reasons where I do not suggest a client rebrand:

  • They’re tired of the look.

  • They hired a new person/vendor who wants a rebrand.

  • They feel like the look is dated.*

An effective rebrand is more than a logo

It must be thoughtfully and strategically crafted and rolled-out. Fun story: I once worked at an agency that rebranded itself before having a strong, internal marketing person (one year later, they hired me). For the next 4 years AFTER THE NEW LOGO WAS INTRODUCED, I was still correcting people and tossing materials with the old logo and brand. Communicating the importance of branding to your internal people is essential, so they don’t torpedo your organization’s ability to effectively market itself.

A rebrand must be strategically unveiled to the public

When you are ready to “go live” on your website, you must also be ready to toss all old assets (or recycle if you can) and replace them with new digital assets, printed assets, uniforms, and apparel…anything where your logo appears.

In addition to the logo, think about all the ways you use your colors, fonts, and graphics. It’s common to use creative assets on apparel, vehicles, and even interiors.

Remember that, even with the new brand that has been expertly unveiled, your client/customer base will need 6-12 months to associate that new brand with your organization.

Should you let cost and client/customer learning curve dissuade you from rebranding?

Absolutely not. In fact, there are many reasons why a rebrand can be in your organization’s best interest:

  • Merger or buy-out bringing multiple organizations together.

  • Name not representative of present services or product offerings.

  • Legal reasons such as copyright or trademark infringement.

There are times when rebranding makes sense for the future of the organization. Don’t be afraid to move in a new direction; just be sure that you’ve accounted for the totality of the cost and impact a new look will have on your employees and clients.

If you feel like your look is dated, consider a color refresh instead of a rebrand. Yes, you’ll still need to update all assets, but you won’t start from scratch with client/customer recognition.

When in doubt, ask a pro

One of my personal mantras has always been never to let fear hold you back. Because there are so many moving pieces to a new brand roll-out, I strongly suggest hiring a professional to help you. Nothing is worse than trying to save money by keeping something in-house and then bungling it. Often the fix will cost more than hiring a pro in the first place.

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Jessica East, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jessica East entered the creative scene in 2001 when she started her design career at MeadWestvaco. From her initial position as a junior graphic designer, Jessica advanced to a small marketing firm, picking up marketing, social media, and event planning skills, and then on to a position as creative services manager for Five Rivers MetroParks. At MetroParks, she took on the challenging role of utilizing and policing new brand standards for an organization that previously lacked any formal marketing department. During her watch, the parks were pulled out of their staid ’70s look and blossomed into a new, energetic brand that matched the organization’s values of making the community healthy and vibrant. Jessica started her own agency, Noir Marketing and PR, in 2012.

Ms. East obtained her degree in graphic design at Bowling Green State University, where she joined the Phi Mu sorority and remained an active alumna in her local chapter. In addition to making dazzling designs, this marketing maven has collected enough ADDYs to back U.S. currency. Other awards and recognition include a laundry list of local and national design and professional awards, including several Mercury Awards and nominations, ADDYs of all metals, OPRA and NRPA awards, recognition in Print and GDUSA magazines as well as Teen magazine’s “50 Hot Picks for School.”



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