Rebranding checklist: How to rebrand your business in 7 steps

Aug 3, 2021 | Branding

Since I recently rebranded my branding and web design business, I decided to put together a checklist to shed some light on the process. And I didn’t just update my logo, I’m talking new brand strategy, photos, website, the whole shebang.

Chances are if you landed on this page, you’re considering or already in the process of rebranding your own business. In this checklist, I’m sharing all my recommended strategies for rebranding in the most streamlined and impactful way possible.

Keep reading to discover when to consider rebranding, which approach is right for you, and what specific steps to take.

When to consider rebranding

Rebranding requires a significant investment of both time and money. So why do it? As it turns out, there are both good and bad reasons to consider rebranding.

Let’s start with some of the bad reasons:

  • You have “shiny object syndrome” and are chasing a flashy new trend
  • Your business got some bad press or reviews and you want to hide under a new identity rather than address the underlying issues
  • You hired a new team member who’s pushing for a rebrand for purely aesthetic reasons
  • Your main competitor rebranded and you want to do the same to keep up with them

If any of the above reasons are ringing a bell, you may want to take a step back and assess whether rebranding will really be worth it for your business. Trends and aesthetics are important, but they shouldn’t be the main driving factors in your decision. The goal of rebranding is not just to create a fresh look and feel, but to solve a problem your business is facing.

Here are some good reasons to consider rebranding:

  • Your company is restructuring or changing its name
  • You’re pivoting your services or offers
  • You’re looking to reach a new target audience
  • Your branding is outdated and needs a modern touch to stay relevant

When done at the right time and for the right reasons, rebranding has enormous potential to elevate your business to new heights. Next, we’ll take a look at a few different strategies for approaching the branding process.

Rebranding strategy: 3 approaches

Before we dive into the rebranding checklist, it’s important to first consider which rebrand strategy is right for your business. There are three different approaches you can take: A full rebrand, visual rebrand, or brand refresh. Let’s look at each one in more detail.

Full rebrand

A full rebrand is a complete overhaul of your brand identity. This process can involve creating a new name, voice, messaging, visuals, and more. It may sound extreme (and expensive), but sometimes a full rebrand is the best solution for bringing your business into the future and ensuring it stays relevant in the ever-evolving competitive landscape.

Consider embarking on a full rebrand if:

  • Your brand name and/or identity no longer fits your business
  • You’re struggling to stand out among your competitors
  • Your business is pivoting to a new market, audience, or pricing model

I took Steph Corrigan Design through a full rebrand in 2021. I updated our strategy, messaging, copy, logos, photos, and website.

Visual rebrand

A visual rebrand is a common approach for established businesses. If your brand visuals are outdated, but the foundation is solid, a full rebrand may be overkill. Visual rebranding involves creating new logos, colors, typography, and other marketing assets, such as a website.

Consider engaging in a visual rebrand if:

  • You’re happy with your brand name, voice, and messaging, but the visuals no longer resonate
  • You haven’t updated your branding in over five years
  • You went the cheap route with your brand visuals the first time around and are ready to elevate

Most of the clients we work with at Steph Corrigan Design come to us for a visual rebrand. Check out our portfolio to see how we’ve helped small businesses like yours elevate their branding and website.

Brand refresh

A brand refresh is essentially a lighter version of a visual rebrand. A classic example of a brand refresh is when you want to modernize your logo but keep the same theme and overall vibe. The current trend in branding and logo design is simple and minimalist; if your current logo has a lot going on, a bit of simplification could go a long way in refreshing your brand.

Consider conducting a brand refresh if:

  • You like your current branding but, in one way or another, it looks outdated
  • Your current branding is trend-based, rather than timeless
  • You want to breathe new life into your brand

We love supporting businesses in need of a brand refresh through our Branding Intensive.

Now that we’ve covered the three types of rebranding, hopefully you have a better understanding of which strategy is best for your business at this time. If not, grab a copy of my free brand clarity workbook to dive deeper into your brand strategy.

Rebranding checklist

The following rebranding checklist covers seven essential steps for business owners that are engaging in a full rebrand. That said, it’s worth taking a look at all of these steps if you’re planning to do a visual rebrand or even just a brand refresh. Along the way, you may discover that your brand needs deeper work than you thought.

1. Audit your brand

The first step in the rebranding process is to audit your current branding. There are several ways to go about this; you could do it internally for free, hire a branding professional, purchase a guide or workshop, or a combination of all three.

The goal of the audit is to determine what’s working well and what needs improvement when it comes to your branding. In order to do so, you first need to get clear on the overarching goals and vision for your business. From there, you can assess how your branding both contributes and detracts from those goals and vision.

For example, let’s say you own a candle-making business and one of your ultimate business goals is to sell your products through a major retailer like Anthropologie. When auditing your brand, you discover that all of your current visuals and messaging are targeted at consumers who don’t fit Anthropologie’s target market. Now, you know what to focus on when rebranding your business.

Sometimes, an outsider’s perspective is the missing link you didn’t know you needed when it comes to growing your business. If you’re interested in bringing in a branding expert, click here to learn more about our brand audit service.

2. Revisit your brand strategy

Brand guidelines for We Influence Data
Brand overview for a branding and web design client

After completing the audit, you’re ready to move into the next phase of the rebranding checklist: revisit your brand strategy. During the audit, you likely uncovered some gaps or weaknesses in your current strategy.

A strong brand strategy includes the following, at minimum:

  • Mission statement: What does your brand do and why?
  • Tagline: A succinct catchphrase or slogan that represents your brand
  • Core values: What your brand stands for as a company
  • Target audience: The people who benefit from your offers
  • Unique value proposition: How you’re different from your competitors

Getting confused by all this branding terminology? You’re not alone; click here to learn more about the difference between brand strategy vs. brand design.

3. Update your brand visuals

Buoyant Bloomer Brand Guidelines
Preview of the brand guidelines created for Buoyant Bloomer

Once you’ve solidified your brand strategy, you’re ready to develop the visuals to match. As you may know, these visuals serve a greater purpose than just looking good; after all, looks are subjective. Your brand visuals should convey the essence of your brand–its tone, mood, personality, and purpose. This all comes together through the intentional usage of color, typography, and design.

Brand visuals include, but are not limited to:

  • Logos: Most businesses have a primary logo plus several logo variations
  • Color palette: A suite of colors that represent your brand aesthetic and personality (click here for inspiration)
  • Typography: Choose 2-3 fonts to keep your brand looking consistent (click here for inspiration)
  • Style guide: A brand board or in-depth brand guidelines

4. Book a brand photoshoot

Booking a photoshoot is step four of the rebranding checklist
A snap from my recent branding photoshoot with Emily Kim Photography

With your brand visuals finalized, the next task on the rebranding checklist is to book a brand photoshoot. This step is technically a part of your brand visuals, but I’ve separated it out since it’s not essential for all businesses (although highly recommended).

If you own a brick-and-mortar or product-based business, it goes without saying that high-quality photos are mandatory. But do you really need custom photos taken if you run an online business?

Consider booking a brand photoshoot for your online business if:

  • Your business is a personal brand (i.e. blogger, freelancer, coach, etc.)
  • You offer premium services
  • You need help standing out in a competitive market
  • Your business offers in-person meetings or events

Custom photos that align with your brand visuals can make a huge positive impact on your business. Simply put, they make your business look more professional and legitimate.

5. Redesign your website

Custom web design for online mattress company
Custom website design for an online mattress brand

Now, it’s time to put those new brand visuals and photos to work on your website. However, this doesn’t mean you should just log into your site and swap out your logos, colors, and images. Rebranding often requires redesigning your website with a fresh approach. In other words, a blank slate.

The reason you want to redesign your website from scratch is that you may have made some significant shifts in your brand strategy. New messaging, offers and positioning likely require at least some restructuring of your site. At a minimum, you’ll need to refresh your website copy, ideally with the help of a professional copywriter.

Also, if your old branding looks outdated, chances are that your website design is outdated as well.

Another benefit of redoing your website is that you can use it to build hype around your rebranding. Everyone loves a good website launch; it’s the perfect way to bring together all the steps you’ve already taken to rebrand your business in one place.

6. Update your marketing materials

Business card design for Beauty With Intuition
Business card design for a luxury lash studio

Aside from your website, the other way your new branding comes to life is through your marketing materials. It’s essential that your business looks and feels consistent across all channels. This goes for both print and digital marketing assets.

Here are some examples of marketing materials to update after rebranding:

  • Social media graphics
  • Stationery
  • Ads
  • Flyers
  • Pinterest graphics
  • Business cards
  • And so on…

If you have a brick-and-mortar or product-based business, you’ll also need to update your packaging, signage, and possibly the interior of your storefront.

We love designing branded marketing materials for our clients through our fast and efficient day rates.

7. Review and launch

Cheers, you made it!

Last but not least, the final step in the rebranding checklist is to launch your new brand into the world. But first, don’t forget to take the time to review all of your materials and check for consistency.

Depending on your business, you may have a lot of moving parts to keep track of. As such, rebranding can be a beast of a process. If you’ve made it all the way through, pat yourself on the back and take time to rest and celebrate!

If you’ve gone through the process intentionally, without cutting corners, your brand is almost certain to flourish over time. Enjoy the process and reap the rewards when they inevitably come your way.

Ready to put this rebranding checklist to work?

If you’re itching to cross “rebranding” off your to-do list, click here to discover how Steph Corrigan Design can help you create an intentional brand and website that will fuel the growth of your business for years to come.

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