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The World of Difference Between Renaming and Rebranding

rename or rebrand your business

This story originally appeared in Forbes.

It is too common a scenario: An organization wants to change its name and design a new logo. They think these simple changes will spark a turnaround and measurable growth. They have a need to rename, like an acquisition or merger, leadership change or a name that is simply no longer relevant in their competitive marketplace.

If it were only that easy.

Your current name might not be great. It might not reflect the products or services you sell today. It might even be a liability to your future performance. But simply renaming your organization is just scratching the surface. It is like putting a new veneer on your company and expecting different results. Renaming is simply not opportunistic enough.

Whatever is driving you to want to rename most likely runs deeper into a brand that was never fully developed and nurtured or has simply run its course. You have a brand. It might not be properly designed or cared for, and it is now past its expiration date.

There’s a world of difference between a name and a brand.

A brand is so much more than just a name and a logo. It is a promise to customers. It is the heart and soul of your organization. It is the collection of factors like experience, product quality and associations that customers keep in their minds and regularly register with your company or products. A brand is what makes the difference between customers choosing your brand versus a competitor. It allows you to price for profit as opposed to fighting the competitive game as a low-cost bidder. In fact, a Salsify survey found that 46% of U.S. consumers said they’d be willing to pay more for brands they trust.

Let’s break down the definition of the word rebrand. The prefix “re” means “to start anew.” And if your brand is the heart and soul of your organization, rebranding means to start anew your reason for being. It is the opportunity to signal a new strategic direction for the company, to embrace a new growth plan.

While you are going through all the effort required to rename, you are in a better position to invest a little more and stand up an entirely new brand, or rebrand. That would include updating your mission statement and values, refreshing your customer experience to better meet customer needs and earn a differentiating spot in their minds, and nurturing your culture to deliver on that promise.

Changing your name sets off a set of expectations in your customers’ minds that more is expected in the future. That new brand name—unless simply a descriptive articulation of your work—holds the ability to convey something distinctively different, to package a new promise to customers on what they can expect when doing business with you. It is an opportunity to realign and re-energize your employees behind your reason for being and the importance of your customers.

Rebranding is a much more deliberate, intensive effort than simply a new name or logo. It requires many important steps to produce a new meaningful brand that will drive your future growth, including:

  • Mapping out your customer personas—descriptive profiles of your customers’ demographics, needs and motivations.

  • Building out a new positioning statement that defines what you do, for whom, and what makes you different and why.

  • Updating your customer promise.

  • Reviewing your vision, purpose and mission statements to align with your new brand statement and updating your values.

  • Determining your brand archetype or personality that will be reflected in your name, tone of voice, language, imagery and eventual marketing.

  • Your name development, which reflects the insights gained to this point.

  • Fleshing out a brand manifesto—that public declaration of who you are that will serve as the foundational statement for all marketing language.

  • Writing your brand story and messaging that clearly differentiates you to your audience.

  • A logo and visual identity that reflects your promise and personality.

  • A newly designed customer experience that brings the new brand to life across every touchpoint.

  • An evolved culture that enables employees to deliver on the new customer experience, with reinforcements and rewards to provide incentives.

If you are taking on the investment of energy and resources to rename your organization, then put a little more effort into it and do it right. Stand up an entirely new brand—a more customer-centric, more modern, more differentiating, more forward-facing brand that’s able to work harder for you in the marketplace. And gain more growth in return.

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