Food For Considerable Thought: When Should A Business Rebrand?

For every brand, particularly in the food and restaurant sectors, brand recognition is a top priority. Strong competition and often a proliferation of ‘me too’ branding means that for a brand to connect and engage with a customer, create loyalty with those customers as well as attract new ones, the visual branding is paramount. Many businesses struggle to recognise when their visual branding is no longer fit for purpose; as our goals, audiences, and services evolve and mature, so should our branding adapt with us. Think of it as a “spring clean” for your business. Here is a guide to the why, when and how of rebranding so that you can identify the right time to rebrand to power up your business. 

In this article (clickable links below):


Rebranding - what is it?

Rebranding involves partially or fully overhauling the visual identity and marketing messages associated with an established business. A brand strategy will consider the current brand, image, existing customers, business owner, target market, social media, website, and other marketing materials.


Why do businesses rebrand?

A brand refresh can help a business grow into a new market, launch a new product, connect with potential customers or keep pace with fast-changing industry trends and customer tastes. Rebranding is a common practice in almost every industry, regardless of size and sector. Brand identity is essential for businesses that want to be remembered by their target audience and build brand awareness. It’s a way of building a brand story and reinforcing the company’s mission as well as create that all-important emotional connection with customers. Without this engagement, it is difficult to build a loyal customer base who seek out your brand as preference above all others. In particular, it’s standard practice for food manufacturers to partially rebrand their packaging to stay current and fresh as well as create that all-important ‘shelf stand out’.    

Reasons to rebrand include:

  • A new brand name 
  • A new value proposition to give customers a different perception of that brand 
  • Expanding business that is growing into new markets or territories 
  • Keeping up with trends  
  • A change in brand strategy, such as a shift in emphasis for the brand or wanting to attract a different type of customer 
  • To create better stand out in the industry. Visual trends and archetypes in sectors can help with customer recognition but can also inhibit a brand from standing out. A brand refresh can create essential differentiation. 


How often should you rebrand?

It differs depending on the circumstances, but below are some crucial points to consider thinking about a rebrand.  

1. Do your brand messages feel confusing? As companies grow or change hands, their original vision can change, and it leaves your existing branding no longer reflective of your company’s values and mission statement.  

2. Does your visual brand look outdated  look at the industry you are in and what the current trends in branding are. Does your brand need a refresh to stay relevant for your customers? 

3. Does your brand have negative connotations? Customer perception of your brand can change over time. Research will uncover if there are negative perceptions of your brand that can be transformed with a rebrand.  

4. Is your visual identity too genericBrand recall is an important part of the decisionmaking process for customers so a brand needs to be distinctive enough to stand out and be remembered. A brand that uses too many visual tropes associated with a particular industry can become ‘background branding’ and be too easily forgotten. 

5. What message is your brand sending to customers? A visual brand is often the first communication customers engage with. What does your current branding say about you to your customers and those who you want to be customers? A rebrand can help you control and craft exactly the right message. 

6. Is your brand struggling to attract new customers? If you’re not attracting new customers or have a shrinking market share, then a rebrand might be a good idea.

7. Are customers are choosing another brand instead? If you’re consistently seeing an influx of new customers selecting other brands instead of yours, then it’s time to rebrand. It will give you an opportunity to send fresh messages to customers and create a spotlight on your products. 


Successful rebranding strategies: Companies who got it right

Proactive rebranding to combat racial bias  
After the Black Lives Matter movement, major food brands such as Uncle Ben’s and Aunt Jemima have reconsidered how their outdated branding may be reinforcing racial stereotypes and have undergone a partial rebrand by updating their visual identities accordingly. A brand refresh can be a superb opportunity to factor in positive inclusion from a cultural and diversity perspective. Brands seen to willingly do this can create new customers and advocates. 

Partial rebranding to connect with modern consumers  
Patagonia’s marketing strategy was to communicate timeless, colourful and sustainable activewear. However, their current branding kept them from reaching a new audience – younger and modern urban dwellers who love the outdoors and care for the planet. Their rebranding project saw the implementation of recycled brown envelopes to reflect their sustainable missions, plenty of white space in their logo and website to show a modern outlook, and emphasis on inclusive imagery in their social media to connect with new potential customers. A total rebrand that perfectly combined old with new.  

A much-needed rebranding effort to get away from a bad reputation  
In 2017, Uber was accused of sexual harassment with a ‘macho’ office culture, and that isn’t a good reputation for a company that shuttles people around! As part of their rebrand, they spent 1000 hours asking people worldwide how their brand was perceived; they used video to highlight why people should trust them whilst reinforcing passenger and driver safety. Along with a new logo and mission statement, the brand value increased by 51% in 2018. 


What’s your next step?

Book a free discovery call with me to talk about your rebranding requirements and I’ll help you put a plan of action in place to help create a visual branding that creates an emotive brand experience and purposeful engagement with the customers you want. We have a very special and limited time offer in May whereby our Brand Refresh package will be offered at a 10% discount – the perfect time for a spruce up and a spring clean! 

Also, start your complimentary subscription to Crop Mark, our monthly creativity bulletin that brings our curated pick of innovative branding and marketing, amazing ideas, helpful resources, and Creative ID news, all straight to your inbox. 

Until next time,