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On branding and rebranding

It seems obvious that new business owners should make every effort to get their branding concepts exactly the way they want them the first time, right? This way, no major changes have to be made later to the elements that support a brand, such as a new name or logo.

Yet, as a marketing agency, we are amazed how many new business owners later look back and say they wish they had done something differently during the initial branding of the company.

Sometimes, this realization just results in a little regret. But other times, it leads to an extensive rebranding initiative. Rebranding requires more time, effort and money on top of what was already expended on the initial creation of the brand. A name or logo change, for example, could involve changing aspects of signage, business collateral, merchandise, websites, SEO, social media and more.

There has been recent controversy about the Washington Redskins possibly changing its name. While the argument to change the name is based on politics and race, the concept is similar to rebranding a smaller business. The time, effort and expense associated with a rebranding initiative make it a substantial project.

It is difficult to imagine everything out there with the Redskins’ name or logo on it — stadium signage, football field, merchandise, website, tickets, company paper goods, customized credit cards and license plates, social media platforms, uniforms… the list is infinite. It would take years for the Redskins to completely rebrand.

It is fairly common, though, for large, well-known companies with years behind them to go through a renaming or rebranding process to develop a more contemporary name and brand. In these cases, the brand generally has an established customer base and the company can effectively walk it through the introduction of the new branding concept. (See: Apple or AT&T.)

For a newer company that does not yet have an established brand and client base, however, a rebranding effort may not be as effective and might even slow down the growth of your business.

As a marketing agency that has led countless rebranding initiatives for clients, we leave you the advice you already know: Make sure your brand is exactly how you want it the first time to save yourself a lot of extra work, time, energy and, most importantly, money later.