by Holly MarshMueller | Feature Contributor
It’s always fascinating to see companies large and small undergo rebrandings.
Some changes are very subtle (Coca-Cola has made very slight changes to their classic logo through the years), and others are a complete breakdown and overhaul (the look of USA Today).
Some are a smashing success (hello, Old Spice!), and others, well…
Let’s just say the angry mob was knocking on their door, pitchforks and all. Gap, Coca-Cola (remember New Coke?), and even the University of California have launched rebrands, only to go back using their old logos after public outcry.
Rebrands are risky, but they can breathe new life and a new outlook into branding that has a dated look. And yes, branding does tend to follow its own trends. Gradients or distressed elements? Out! Simple logos and fonts? In!
So as a small business entrepreneur, is a rebrand the right thing for your business?
It depends. As a seller on Etsy, I’ve seen many a shop banner change, even with the seasons. While for some businesses this works, with other businesses it isn’t such a good idea. If you’re thinking about a rebrand, consider the following:
When to go through a rebranding
- You’re launching a new product line that is superseding your previous line.
- Your demographic is changing; either you are catering to an older or a younger audience and need to capture their attention in a new way.
- You’ve entered a new market that is larger than your other markets, and after some research, realize that your current logo will not cut it.
- Your logo/brand identity is starting to look dated (if you’ve got anything in Comic Sans, change it now!).
- You’re having trouble gaining a following, even though your product and your pricing are spot-on.
When not to go through a rebranding
- You’re launching a new product line, but are keeping previous lines.
- You’ve got a crazy huge and/or extremely loyal following, especially if you’ve built it recently.
- Your business cannot afford it (really, why spend the money?).
- Your competitors changed their branding.
- Just for the hell of it.
I know it’s super tempting to change your logo just to test out the waters, but even if you have a small following, I’d advise against it. You want those customers to remember you and your branding, and if they come back to buy from you/use your services, and your look is totally different, it does two things:
- It confuses them. They’re not thinking of buying your product; they’re thinking about what is different about your branding. They might snap out of it long enough to buy from you, but in this incredibly fast-paced world, customers can make a decision in a split second…which includes getting distracted by a new logo and moving on.
- It plants seeds of uncertainty. You may have been in business for a year or two, but if you’ve changed your logo three times, that customer may wonder how long you’re even going to stay in business. If they can’t decide on a logo, can they make sound business decisions?
If you do decide to take the plunge, good luck! Be sure to test your new branding or logo with people you trust (and who will give you an honest opinion). If the feedback you’re getting is well-received, fantastic! Now shout that new brand identity from the rooftops. If you’re getting mixed reviews, it might be best to go back to the brainstorming room, or shelve the idea of a rebrand entirely.
I toyed with the idea of a new logo for my MarshMueller Etsy shop, as was being a bad business owner and wanted to test the waters just for the hell of it (BAD Holly!). I am a fan of using Venn diagrams in design, and wanted to see if it would work for my business. Instead of designing a new logo and slapping it on my Etsy shop banner, I posted it for feedback to my Facebook page, where I have an growing following of fans and personal friends, but is (so far) free of trolls.
The response wasn’t well-received.
So you know what I did?
I walked away and kept my branding as-is.
Do you have a rebranding success or failure story? Tell us in the comments below!
Holly MarshMueller – Branding and Indie Craft Business Advocate – Portland, OR
Holly MarshMueller has two–no, three, jobs: 1:: She’s the Owner of MarshMueller, where she designs and sews pretty + practical items for mamas + babies, 2:: She still works for The Man (a national retailer) in their Corporate Brands + Packaging Division, and 3:: She is a mama to one adorable little boy (although she is very biased). How does she juggle it all?
“Five hours of sleep a night, lots of coffee, an amazingly supportive husband, and a drive to make life (and necessities) better for all mamas out there.” Holly lives in a 900-square-foot house with her husband, son, two Pomeranians, and one cat in Portland, Oregon.
Holly’s items have been featured on Disney baby, StyleList, and Baby Plus You Wellness For Two. In addition to selling her items on Etsy, she also sells wholesale to small, independent boutiques, and participates in as many craft shows as she can (barring they don’t conflict with a Portland Timbers match, as she is a proud member of the Timbers Army supporter group). Holly is also one of the Leaders of the PDX Etsy Team.
Holly is on many social media platforms; connect with her below! Fair warning about her Twitter account: she Tweets about the Portland Timbers (soccer) quite a bit, and she is too stubborn to open two Twitter accounts.