How to Navigate Your Startup’s Rebrand

Founders pursue new brands for their work for a number of reasons, some logical and some illogical.

3 min read

Navigating your startup’s rebrand doesn’t have to be stressful and overwhelming. We created this guide to walk you through the process of determining if this is the best time for your rebrand, as well as questions to ask before your begin the process, how to choose the best branding partner for your needs, and how to share your new brand with the world.

Founders pursue new brands for their work for a number of reasons, some logical and some illogical.

Logical Reasons to Pursue a Rebrand:

  • Pivoting your core offering
  • Adding new products/services that fall outside of your initial brand
  • Repositioning in a new market and/or with a new audience
  • Outdated visuals and brand messaging
  • Expanding your geographical reach

Illogical Reasons to Pursue a Rebrand:

  • Desperate attempt to gain traction
  • Desire to avoid internal issues
  • General boredom with current visual or messaging
  • Cover up a bad reputation without appropriately addressing the situation

Questions to Ask Your Team

Your rebrand is an opportunity to build further unity and engagement within your team, but if not approached intentionally, can cause infighting, misunderstanding, and harm morale. Your brand is a central factor in your business, and ensuring that everyone is involved, feels heard, and is on board with the final outcome is critical to your success.

Asking the following questions of each team member will allow them the opportunity to share thoughts and insights at the beginning of the process. Keep the list short to increase your response rate.

  1. Which elements of our previous brand worked well?
  2. Which elements of our previous brand did not work well?
  3. What are the three most important aspects of our business you want our brand to communicate?

Questions to Ask Your Clients

If your brand isn’t connecting with your clients, what is it doing? Your clients hold the key to communicating your brand with clarity and resonance. The words they use will unlock the optimal language of your brand.

Note: At any given point, your business will likely have ideal clients and clients are that...less than ideal. In addition to only asking your ideal clients these questions, stay alert during the process to ensure you are building a brand that speaks directly to your ideal client, not necessarily your current clients.

  1. What would you identify as our service/product/company’s unfair advantage?
  2. What three adjectives would you use to describe our company?
  3. In your own words, what is the biggest problem that our product/service solves for you?

Questions to Ask Yourself

Assuming most readers are founders, it’s important to not leave yourself out of the initial research. As founder you hold the vision as well as the historical data on your business from its origin. Your rebrand should move your business forward and look to the future while also honoring its past.

  1. Which elements of your current brand do you want to remain consistent in this next phase?
  2. Which elements of your current brand resonate most with your future vision? Least?
  3. As founder, how will you know when your rebrand has “hit the nail on the head?” What will you feel personally? What will you hear in feedback from your team and clients? (Use your response here as a test toward the end of your project to confirm your rebrand is complete and correct.

How Do I Choose the Right Creative Agency for Our Needs?

Most founders will choose to look outside of their core team to pursue a rebrand. It is rare that a startup has the depth and breadth of creative and strategic resources internally to complete a thorough, successful rebrand.

FInding the right fit for your approach, budget, and needs is worth the work upfront. No one wants to begin a rebrand and switch partners in the middle. Don’t be lured by low prices and overpromises. Investing in a quality new brand will pay dividends in the long run.

As you carry out your research and due diligence, look beyond the basic factors of investment, timelines, recommendations and portfolio. Those are all important, no doubt, but finding a good cultural fit is equally as important.

Rebranding your startup is a deeply personal experience for both you and your team, and finding a partner you trust with not simply deliverables, but your vision and the spirit of your vision, makes the difference between a rebrand that works and a rebrand that works wonders.

Trust The Process

Once you select your branding partner, lean into the process. Ideally you have selected a partner you trust. If you haven’t, evaluate the situation at the beginning before you invest further time and resources.

Do you lack trust because you’re unsure if they’re capable and experienced enough to understand your business and build your new brand? Or do you lack trust because you need to grow as a leader? A mature leader delegateswell, openly welcoming others to help them build their business beyond where they could have with their knowledge alone.

Factors To Consider If Pivoting Your Startup

Pivots are often considered a rite of passage amongst startup founders. It’s common for a founder to pursue one path, grow a team and a product or service, and then switch directions. With experience comes exposure to different opportunities, more compelling needs, and marketplace clarity.

If you are in the middle of a pivot, it’s important to be realistic about where you are in the process before you rebrand. Are you confident in your new direction, or are you more accurately in the early stages of navigating a pivot? Patience and thorough research is key.

Consider what percentage of your current community will be relevant after the pivot. Do not make the mistake of isolating your current audience and customer base by failing to clearly communicate your rebrand and tell the story of your pivot well. This is an opportunity to connect with your audience through storytelling, letting them in to see the arch of your pivot and how it ultimately serves them better.

How To Share Your New Brand With the World

The first step to successfully rolling out your new brand is to build an internal communication plan. Like concentric rings, your brand begins at the heart of your mission, then moves out to your leadership team, then your full team, and then to external segments.

After your internal team is on board and any concerns have been addressed, you’re ready to share your new brand externally. This is an excellent opportunity for connection and growth, so make sure you to not rush this last step.

When Sharing Your Startup Rebrand:

  • Smoke out possible objections before making your new brand public. Think through the fears and concerns they may have and address them with understanding and clarity.
  • Begin by sharing with those most invested in your work and your company. Help them understand that as members of the “inner circle” they have access to company news before others.
  • Consistency is key. Do not make the mistake of rolling your new visuals and brand messaging out in bits and pieces. This will only lead to confusion, frustration, and lost momentum. Do not share your new brand until you have all elements updated, in place, and ready to make public.
  • Celebrate! You have completed a significant step is taking your business to the next level. Your team has likely worked hard to get to this place, so do not miss this opportunity to share your appreciation and excitement for your big win.

About Well Refined

Well Refined is the team of creatives and strategists you need to solve your marketing challenges, so you can think big and act courageously for your company. We’re committed to being as much a part of your brand as you are, helping you carry the weight of gaining ground in your industry. Your mission drives everything we do. Contact us here and get started with your rebrand today.

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