Recently updated on August 24th, 2023

When it comes to running a business, your company’s branding is one of the first elements that consumers will face and interact with. Subconscious first impressions will be made at a visual, psychological, and emotional level.

At this early stage, having your branding speak for the identity of your company is one of the top factors in turning consumers into customers; when your audience doesn’t connect with your branding, marketing campaigns and product sales will be the least of your worries. Here is where the rebranding process can play a significant role in a company’s future.

Branding vs Rebranding

Say you are a startup business with no branding history. Assuming that you have already done your research on current market trends, polished up your business plan, and identified and analyzed what your competitors are up to, you are still able to start on a clean slate when it comes to your branding strategy.

The biggest obstacle at this stage for new startups is being virtually unrecognizable to an audience since nobody has ever seen or heard of your business before.

If you are an already established business, on the other hand, people — especially your existing audience — should be able to recognize your business from a branding perspective. A level of comfort and trust is potentially created between you and your audience.

Maintaining that bond is crucial for returning customers and gaining new referrals. This is where the rebranding process can make or break a business.

How rebranding can make your business

For instance, we at Next Horizon recently went through a complete overhaul for our rebranding process. First established in 2001, we have gone through numerous rebranding phases. As a web development company, the rebranding was primarily due to us updating our website with new web technologies and adapting to certain design “trends.”

Now with mobile devices playing a large role in internet access, our rebranding process included elements that work for both desktops and mobile devices, allowing us to expand our audience to new levels.

How rebranding can break your business

Rebranding a business that already has an established clientele can at times do more damage than good. And with the rise of social media sites, companies can end up facing a public uproar that could ruin their reputation.

Gap’s “new logo” stirred a negative response all over the web and the company reverted back to the old logo within one week.
Old and new Gap logo branding

Long-established companies such as Gap, which has been identified by its blue logo since the 1980s, tried going for a new “modern” look in 2010 with a more typographic approach.

The result stirred an uproar of consumers (and even designers) commenting on how the new logo reminded them of Microsoft clipart. As a result, Gap resurrected the old logo within one week.

Miami Dolphin’s new logo maintained the brand’s primary color palette, however, many argue the logo has lost aspects of intimidation and aggression.
Miami Dolphins logo branding - old vs newAnother industry with a heavy fan base is American football, specifically, the NFL. Just like clothing and web technology companies, sports teams go through the rebranding process as well. One controversial ordeal was South Florida’s Miami Dolphins team, which ended up rebranding the team’s uniforms and logo primarily by redesigning the team mascot.

When revealed to the public back in April, many fans described the new look as being too soft, and not aggressive enough. This is an instance where long-term fans may not appreciate sudden, over-the-top, or dramatic changes to a brand, which could be perceived as the brand leaving certain sentimental traditions.

Overall, change is inevitable. Technologies change. Markets change. People change. While it has been proven that certain businesses and industries come off as “timeless,” many other businesses use the rebranding process to stay up-to-date with their industries; how they do it can make them or break them.

As web developers at Next Horizon, we see brands change/update logos and websites constantly. Whether you are looking at rebranding your current business, or are interested in starting a new one, our team can help you through that process; check out our portfolio to see some examples, and contact us today to see how we can help you.

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