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What to Know Before Relaunching a Brand


Brands evolve over time in response to market shifts or customer perception, to modernize, or simply because they’ve outgrown the look and feel they once had. If this happens, you may need to redesign the brand that once worked so well and relaunch it.

Though it can be overwhelming to consider redoing all the work that goes into a brand, it can also be a necessary step to move the brand into the next stratosphere. When done successfully, a brand relaunch can breathe new life into a company and boost its public perception and sales.

A brand relaunch can range from small brand development tweaks to a massive overhaul of the existing brand and its assets, message, and identity. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Brand Relaunch?

A branch relaunch is the repositioning of your brand in the marketplace. It’s essentially “restarting” the brand for strategic realignment, charging it with fresh energy courtesy of a revised branding strategy.

Brand Relaunch vs. Rebrand

A brand relaunch is a different approach to marketing a brand that may involve making changes to the brand identity. A rebrand is a more significant undertaking that alters the brand and its identity – this means a new logo, fonts, tagline, brand image, brand promise, voice, and marketing strategy.

Rebranding can be a high-cost and high-risk mission, whereas relaunching could be a more manageable choice to address a brand’s decline or get a fresh start for a botched brand launch.

venn diagram showing the differences between a brand relaunch and rebranding

Think of the strongest brands that have weathered changes over time, such as Coca-Cola® or McDonald’s®. Both have evolved in response to shifting perceptions and markets, but the core elements of these brands have remained the same. They wouldn’t abandon the brand equity that’s held in their visual identity, so they chose to reposition incrementally over time instead of embarking on a 180-degree rebrand.

Why Do Companies Rebrand?

There are many reasons a business may choose to relaunch their brand or rebrand completely. Often, it’s due to a change in leadership, a shift in the market, or a merger or acquisition that requires a distinct new brand identity. Sometimes, businesses consider rebranding because they’ve outgrown their current brand identity, or it needs to be modernized.

Whatever the reason, rebranding can be a risky decision. A rebrand or relaunch is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor with no guarantee of success. But done well, a relaunch can reinvigorate a company and rebuild a stronger relationship with customers.

Benefits of a Relaunch

There are numerous benefits to relaunching your brand, including:

A Fresh Start

A relaunch gives you a fresh start and a clean slate to remove yourself from any negative associations with your old brand. This could be caused by everything from a public controversy to a sloppy brand development process that didn’t present a strong brand in the first place.

New Brand Identity

A relaunched brand helps you redefine your brand and create a stronger identity that’s aligned with your current strategy and vision, not ones that may be outdated.

More Clarity

A relaunched brand clarifies your brand positioning in the market to gain better market share and helps customers better understand what you have to offer.

Strong Differentiation

If your brand blended in with the competition, or you failed to differentiate it from the start, a relaunch can help you create distinction and stand out in a crowded market.

Improved Customer Relationships

Strong brands create loyal customers. A relaunched brand can help to boost your business’s relationship with customers and nurture the loyalty you want.

Increased Brand Awareness

The most powerful brands in the world are well known and recognizable. When done strategically, relaunching your brand increases brand awareness and helps customers recognize it more easily.

New Opportunities

Businesses that relaunch their brand can harness new opportunities, such as launching new products and services or expanding into new markets that wouldn’t be possible within the scope of the current brand.

How to Successfully Relaunch a Brand

Whether it’s a small refresh or a full redesign, relaunching a brand isn’t an easy undertaking. But thoroughly planning the process makes the entire brand experience more strategic and streamlined.

Consider the Timing

When you relaunch your brand, it’s crucial to build buzz with your target audience and build anticipation for your big reveal or grand opening. Planning a rebrand for crowded periods, such as the holiday season or around big events like the Super Bowl, may result in your message being diluted, meaning you won’t get as much attention from your audience.

At Rocket Launch, we recommend clients do thorough research and determine the best time to focus on the rebranding process when it will resonate most with your audience.

Redefine the “Why”

Before you make any public changes, you have to define your brand internally. This starts with understanding the “why” behind your brand and its relaunch.

You may understand the driving force behind your relaunch, such as a merger or acquisition, but that’s not your “why.” Think of what you’re trying to achieve, such as differentiating your brand from competitors, launching a new product, or gaining a stronger position in the market. Your “why” will provide guidance for your strategy and determine what mission success looks like.

Understand Audience Perception

How you view your brand may not be the same as how the customers perceive it. You never have 100% control over your brand perception – you can guide it, but the audience will have an influence on it.

Tap into your entire audience to learn more about your brand perception, including existing customers, past customers, prospects, partners, investors, employees, and employee candidates. Conduct internal and external interviews, competitor research, and market research. Learning how your brand is perceived will help you define the goals of your brand relaunch.

Get Internal Teams on Board

Getting buy-in from your brand’s leaders is crucial. Relaunching a brand can permeate your company quickly, and you need internal stakeholders on board when that happens.

Before the process starts, communicate the reasons and plans for your brand relaunch and what you hope to achieve. This will help you secure time and resources to execute that plan successfully. Make sure you update everyone throughout the process as well, which serves to both manage expectations and build excitement.

Bring the Emotional Connection

There are tangible aspects of any brand, but emotional connection is the key factor of a brand’s strength. Emotions drive purchasing decisions and relationships, so getting the audience to connect with the brand is vital.

Whether you had this connection before or not, it’s important to consider the emotional effects during the relaunch. Test different versions of your branding ideations before making a final decision, getting plenty of feedback along the way.

Choose Between a Phased Rollout or Overnight Switch

Depending on the size of your brand and relaunch, you will need to determine how you’re going to present the new version to the world. You can choose between a phased rollout or an overnight switch.

With a phased rollout, you’ll release your brand assets as you create them to get your new brand into the market faster. The downside of that is that you have to handle brand management for both brands until the rollout is complete.

An overnight switch means you release your new brand in its entirety all at once after all the brand assets are ready. The downside here is that you have to maintain your existing brand during the development of new assets not allowing the old brand to become static while you’re building a new one.

Consider both approaches and determine which one is the best choice for your new brand and its size.

Be Realistic

Relaunching indicates that there’s a change in your organization, which always takes time. Don’t jump into a rebrand without dedicating the time and resources to do it effectively. If you rush it, your audience will notice.

A full brand relaunch, which includes the new visual assets and brand messaging, can take a year or longer. Underestimating the time involved in this undertaking will only lead to poor results, stress, frustration, and missed opportunities. Being realistic about your plan and its phases will set you up for success from the beginning.

What Does a Successful Brand Relaunch Look Like?

In May 2021, Coca-Cola® celebrated its 135th anniversary. Having existed for more than a century, the brand had evolved and changed a lot since its founding.

Coca-Cola first sold soft drinks at Jacobs’ Pharmacy in Atlanta and grew to sell over 1.9 billion beverages in over 200 countries all over the world each day. The brand has seen many successful advertising campaigns, including the now-famous Santa Claus ads, the iconic polar bears, and the “Share a Coke” campaign.

The logo itself has evolved with the brand and its product lines. The trademark script logo was created in 1886 by Frank M. Robinson. The wave graphic that represents contour bottles, dubbed the Dynamic Ribbon Device, was added in 1970.

Source: Coca-Cola

The company has made branding mistakes along the way, including the addition of yellow and floating bubbles to the logo for the Coca-Cola Real campaign, a change in the treasured Coke formula with New Coke, and a holiday misstep with white Coke cans that looked too similar to the silver Diet Coke cans.

Source: Wall Street Journal

There have been changes over the years, including to its iconic bottle design, but what remained consistent was the color scheme, logo styles, and the emphasis on nostalgia and connection. This allowed Coca-Cola to leverage its brand equity and continue to test and evolve for more than a century, solidifying its position as one of the most recognizable and valuable brands in the world.

Source: Coca-Cola

Ready to Take Your Brand to the Next Level?

Relaunching a brand isn’t a decision to take lightly, but the investment in time and resources can pay off in brand awareness, recognition, and long-term success. If you’re ready to relaunch your brand with a solid foundation, contact Rocket Launch to learn more about our brand relaunch services.

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