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19.12.2022

What is a rebranding and how do you start one? Here are some examples

Elena Bustreo
Elena Bustreo
Content Manager

5 min reading

Shy, cautious or bold?

No, this is not a test to find out what The Office’s character you most resemble. They are the three different approaches you can choose when rebranding. In this article, we will discuss how to set up and achieve a rebranding that is - needless to say - bold.

What is it, why and how to pursue a rebranding

Let's start with a philosophical premise, those thingies always work: everything evolves, everything changes. 

Brands fit into ever changing human contexts. As such, they must be able to adapt to their surroundings. Possibly by anticipating trends and not just reflecting what happens.

Rebranding is a marketing process that aims to change the positioning of a brand or its perception.

It is all those strategic changes contributing to the redefinition of the brand, its values, products and services. The reasons that can lead to the undertaking of this process are many: the market has evolved, the company has grown or merged with another, the target audience has changed, or simply, the brand needed a general rejuvenation.

Warning: this is something you have to really crave. You will have to ask yourself- and others - a myriad of questions, go dig deep into the brand's subconscious and pull out themes and concepts that you didn't even know were there. It will be a challenging, adrenaline-fuelled and at times exhausting journey. The first piece of advice? Make peace with retakes. It is only fair that every detail be studied, analysed, destroyed and rebuilt to perfection. It will take time and patience, but mostly, you’re going to have to put your heart in it.

Here’s a potential list of points to proceed in an orderly manner:

1. Define your goals and strategy.
2. Analyse the brand carefully. How is it perceived by the public, the customers, the board? What does it do and does not do? What would it like to be, what would it not like to be? Leave nothing unsaid.
3. Plan expenses (because there are always going to be expenses).
4. Choose what not to change.
5. Communicate changes at the right time: you don't want all your work to be overshadowed by secondary events.

Bonus tip: if it works well, don't change it. Evolve it instead.

What about the wow effect?

Sorry guys, one just can’t ignore the wow effect. If the rebranding you are facing is one of those all-rounders, those rebranding sporting a revolutionary soul, those ones aiming at awakening a brand from a long and deep hibernation and turn it inside out like a sock in the wash… then yeah, you should definitely have some people dropping their jaw while looking at it. Let us be clear, in order to do this, you need a whole lot of courage.

We want it that way

At we-go, when we rethink the identity of a brand, we go well beyond trying to align it with the brand’s mission and vision.

We always try to give it that extra oomph, to add that innovative, unique and unrepeatable component that makes the brand recognisable on a larger scale and leads it to achieve its goals. We like trends, we follow and study them, but they should only be a starting point in order to tell a whole new story using original, unexpected and effective narrative methods.

Anticipating the market is not something you do every day. You need to in-depth analyze and study what you’ve done and what worked. You also need to be aware you’re going to have to take some risks. In order to get that wow effect, go beyond what you think is right. The thing is, right is not enough and we are exactly here to help you pull your brand out of the crowd. 

Changes like this are obviously challenging. Facing them surely requires a great deal of boldness and self awareness. Boldness, because you will have to take your brand through a whirlwind of trends while keeping its needs in mind. Self awareness, because the purpose of a rebranding is not just being aesthetic, but also functional to who the brand is and how it wants to fit into the world. It is a creative mathematical formula: by changing the addends, the result will change too, but the effect will always be “wow".

And if that wow is based on accurate data and a solid strategy, the brand in question will have all the tools to achieve its goals.

It will be no picnic

And that should be the spirit. At the foundation of a good rebranding lies the general involvement of everyone in the company: the internal perception of the brand is a fundamental part of the process. However, this also means bringing together distant and opposing points of view. Many heads with many different ideas and approaches will have to confront each other, train their mediation skills (at times, even their meditation skills) and get to a common ground. Only then they will be able to work on it together. 

At the end of it all, the team will look back on the work done amidst glazed eyes, mutual pats on the back and liberating laughters. Everyone will agree they never saw a rebranding *this cool* and will go for a well-deserved aperitif offered by the CEO.

4 examples of rebranding done by the cool kids

So much theory should help you ask yourself the right questions. You are now (almost) ready to get to practice. Here are some rebranding examples that ooze genius from every gradient.

Tavernello

The wine packaged in bricks that became a pop phenomenon: Tavernello’s case history is one of the bravest, most ironic and freshest rebranding we have ever seen. The key to its success? Self-awareness and the external brand perception, aspects on which Tavernello did not back down.

Barbie

A rebranding that focused on the brand’s image and its mission’s evolution, keeping both up to the modern world. At a certain point in its history the brand found itself detached from the market and decided to embark on a self-discovery journey, with the courage (and the need) to rethink itself from scratch. That is how Barbie moved from being a mere stereotype to becoming a symbol of female empowerment.

Sanremo

Breaking away from tradition to attract a new target audience, with the intent of making them feel part of something bigger: the rebranding of the Italian Song Festival is still in progress, but its inception dates back to 2017, with Italian singer songwriter Claudio Baglioni. Since then, Sanremo’s selection of singers, guests and interventions has become increasingly functional to this objective and the results of the latest editions speak for themselves (a 54.4% share in 2022).

Lidl

From cheap to domestic via a pair of blue and yellow shoes sold for 12.99 euros. Lidl's rebranding teaches us that nothing is impossible with the right strategy and market analysis. Above all, by coordinating every aspect of the brand. From the exclusivity effect of the Lidl’s clothing line, to the more sober and family-friendly colour palette used in stores. And again, from the new claim 'Lidl is for you!', to the sponsorship of the Italian national football team.

Bold is better

We are biased, no doubt, but we do really believe in it: between a daring but tortuous rebranding, where obstacles and challenges are on the daily agenda, and a textbook rebranding, we have no doubt. What about you?