“Re-branding” not just for companies gone bad

May 6, 2009

brandingOne of the nonprofits I’m working with is undergoing some changes to its logo as well as the look and feel of its website. When I referred to these two initiatives as part of a re-branding process, the client suggested I use a different term because she thought “re-branding” had a negative connotation. This surprised me as I’ve never thought of re-branding as something bad. Sure, some companies may use re-branding as a way to distance themselves from some wrong doing or negative press but organizations re-brand for a variety of reasons.

1. Upate an image – Organizations that have been around for a very long time might want to freshen their image, logo, look and feel. This might not be a complete re-branding but rather a tweak to the visual brand in order for it to appear more contemporary.

2. Reflect current business/mandate – Nonprofits and companies evolve over time. Product lines expand. Mandates change or become larger. Sometimes an organization’s present brand doesn’t fit this reality so re-branding is necessary.

3. Mergers/acquisitions – This doesn’t happen as often in the nonprofit world but if your company is becoming one with another, there will need to be a corresponding new brand.

4. Change in business practice or direction – Perhaps your organization has new management and a plan for improving services or products. That could mean a need to signal the new direction with a freshened or new brand image. A new brand in this case signals to the public that they can expect changes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the old brand was part of something bad—it just indicates a change in direction.

Whatever the reason, re-branding is more than a new logo

No matter the reason for re-branding, it’s important to remember that a true re-branding involves more than just changing the logo and stationary. It also involves a new way of viewing the organization. It often means a new way of delivering services or meeting customer expectations. What is the new brand conveying to the public? Whatever it is, the organization must actually deliver what’s behind that image for an effective re-branding to take place.


2 Responses to ““Re-branding” not just for companies gone bad”

  1. messagecom Says:

    Great comment, Joe. Yes, organizations sometimes need to re-brand to better reflect what they actually do. There is so much that goes into a brand identity–the logo is just the icing on the cake.

  2. Joe Boughner Says:

    The non-profit I work for recently updated our logo and redeveloped our website too. I called it a re-branding but, in reality, the re-branding had already happened. The changes to the logo and website were an effort to better reflect what the Association actually did and the approach we take in our operations.

    You’re dead on when you say branding is about more than a logo. In our case, our visual brand had to catch up to the actual brand.

    A new logo can certainly spice up an organization but one would be foolish to confuse that with creating a new brand. The latter is a far more organic process, I think.

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