Whats involved in a rebrand? - Things to consider when changing your brand image.

2016 has had its fair share of brands reinventing themselves in all manner of ways and for all manner of reasons. So what is involved in changing a brand’s image and what motivates them to change in the first place?

How have other brands done it.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the more memorable rebrands.

airbnb rebrand

Design Studio were tasked with reinventing airbnb. Their approach was to immerse themselves in the brand completely for a year to help understand and develop a new identity and digital products.This process has enabled them to really capture the community spirit that is involved in using airbnb. The results speak for themselves with a unified and cohesive visual written and spoken style applied across all touch points that creates an inviting and welcoming experience.


Futurebrand looked to the Bank’s heritage, making use of the logo originally created in 1968 and pairing it with a clean, modern graphic system. The look and feel of the new identity is very human rather than institutional hoping to inspire new confidence in the banking system.

Instagram looked inwards for inspiration for its new identity, turning to the vibrant and colourful community and reflecting it in the Icon and app interface. The launch of the new brand got a lot of attention and divide opinions initially, although not entirely unexpected when they had persisted with the original script logo for the past five years, which people had become attached to.

Why should a brand rebrand?

So what motivates a brand to change its image, especially when so much has previously been invested into creating the right identity? There are a number of reasons to do this, in the case of airbnb their previous identities was no longer reflective of what the brands stood for. Evolving the brand and aligning the brand values by spending the time to really focus on what they as a brand are saying was the driving force behind the rebrand.

In the case of Natwest, they have had to adapt to a changing audience, by repositioning themselves as less corporate and more human they are looking to regain some of the lost trust after the previous few years troubles in the financial sector.

Instagram’s change helped to modernize the brand image, which is especially important when you consider where it is most visible. On a mobile device it is more than likely going to be positioned next to other app icons with clean, modern identities.

There are many other factors that could start a rebrand, especially in smaller companies. Things like a change in corporate culture or business vision. Investment, especially in the tech sectors forces very rapid progression and growth. This brings more exposure to the brand which needs to be managed.  

What should you consider?

The main issues with a rebrand are “will the new identity attract new customers?” and “will the new identity alienate existing customers?”

A rebrand should be properly managed, ensuring the roll out of the new identity is as smooth as possible. As a brand exercise, could this be a soft launch as the new identity evolves gradually allowing existing customers to adjust? If the change is a complete overhaul it needs to be done with conviction. Everyone involved needs to be behind the message and identity, and customers need to be able to trust and believe that it is being done with integrity and honesty.

If you are looking to modernize your brand, it should still be lead by solid concepts and be backed up by a well developed brand ethos. If the rebrand is undertaken just to follow the latest trends then you will end up with an identity that will date quickly and look average when comparing it to similar brands.