6 min. read

Before you rebrand, know these 4 things.

You may be thinking about rebranding your company. Maybe you’ve arrived at a crossroads where your current logo isn’t working, or has been outgrown by a bold new strategy. Maybe it just needs a little facelift. Good. This is an opportunity to reassess. Embrace the rabbit hole, and dive in! But there are a few things you should know before hunting down that perfect designer, or even briefing with the one you’ve got.

First, a little housekeeping. For all you argyle-draped accountants and out there, let’s cover the basics of what a logo does. You may already know this on some level but never followed it through to its natural conclusion: a logo is something simple that represents a bigger idea or collection of ideas related to what your brand. When it works well, your logo on paper, or on your Instagram, or printed on a box in the mail, can make people recall everything that they know about you – the good and the bad experiences. And if they don’t know you? Well then, your logo is your handshake, and it has to be a good one. 

So, let’s make one thing clear: A logo is not just a shape, or type on paper. It’s not just something you shove in the corner of a website. It’s far more important than that. If your logo was an employee, it would be in your C-Suite. It would be your Chief of Customer Experience, and it can’t do a good job unless you give it the resources, and responsibilities befitting that title.

Now, let’s say you’re going to meet with a seasoned designer, or a brand agency. How should you prepare? Here are the four things you should have mapped out before you walk in the room:

Brand Positioning – Know where you fit.

A designer needs to know from the business end, how you position your product. Where does it fit in a consumer or client’s life? What type of person uses it? These are basics that you should have already, but it’s good to lay it out as clear and concise as possible. And be succinct.

Let’s say your company produces and sells coffee craft equipment. Are your products high-end luxury machines, with quality, stainless steal, and sex appeal? Do they make the consumer feel like a million bucks, while they sip their latte in the morning? Or is your product low-cost / high volume? Maybe it’s made for the no-nonsense people who just need to be out the door by 8, holding a mug of strong coffee, however it may taste.

You see what I’m doing here? I’m already taking your business model and building a story around it. And all you had to do was tell me the price point of your product. This is a necessary step performed by marketers well before design happens. The thing is, everything you do to promote your brand will become a story that ends with your logo. A designer needs to ensure that it punctuates the experience nicely, and fits your message.

Brand Positioning – Know where you don’t fit.

On the other side of this, and perhaps to the more important point, show your designer what you are NOT. Make them aware of the pitfalls. Outline your entire competitive landscape, and explain how you fit in your industry. Naturally, if you’re not that luxury brand, then you’re the opposite, or something close to it. But it’s more than that. For any top level positioning, there are many styles, types, personalities that the design can take on to help that brand in the space it occupies.

Let’s go back to your coffee craft company. So your product is low-cost / high-volume, but you probably aren’t the only ones are you? Let’s say there’s a competitor that plays off a strong surfer vibe in it’s brand. They’re chill, laid back, and relatable. Then, there’s another competitor that is playing it safe, with clean, simple design made just for that no-frills shopper. Where do you fit in?

Your designer should know what to avoid, and why it’s important.

Be aware of every touch point for your brand

Your logo will be on everything, from emails, to website, to client holiday cards – there could be a hundred ways for people to see, interact with, and be reminded of your brand. Make sure you know every touchpoint today, and what those touch points could be five or ten years from now. A logo design needs to carry you for an extended time, and should support you in whatever direction you’re headed. If a logo is only on your website today, but you plan on doing direct to consumer mailing, a designer needs to know that ahead of time.

Many logo designs are crafted for one primary use that’s more important than the rest. The classic (and overused) example of this is the Nike logo. It’s primary use was on the side of a shoe, and it fit that function very very nicely. Had the logo been a tall skinny mark, it probably wouldn’t have worked very well. Make sure you document these requirements carefully and leave room for your future plans, if you have them.

Baseline your performance and set post-rebrand goals

Just like in any campaign or project, you need measurement in place to know if you’re doing well, or falling short with the new design. Before the new logo rolls out, you should know what is normal engagement on social, emails, and anything else that can be clocked. Take note of your revenue in each channel. Some rebrands may move the needle on your website, but not in store. If you don’t care about in store, but want to help e-commerce, it’s good for a designer to know that.

But most importantly, you need to set these baselines so your designer knows there’s something at stake. There has to be accountability for the design. It needs to be judged fairly. Set the tone for this early on. If your goal isn’t related back to a business need, like increasing revenue or brand reach, then maybe you’re not ready for a rebrand, and it might be best to wait until you have this need. Otherwise you risk muddying your brand and creating confusion in your market.

Now you’re set. Let’s start that rebrand!

Just remember: a logo design should do more for you than make you feel good. It establishes a valuable dialogue with thousands and potentially millions of people. It has the ability to change minds in shopping aisles, and compel trust in your product. And on a big enough scale, it could be the difference of millions of dollars of revenue. Make sure it’s doing it’s job. Make sure your designer knows the importance of these functions. If you have these pieces all assembled, your rebrand project will run very smoothly.