Insight for sore eyes: Why research is a vital phase of a successful rebrand


For as long as branding has existed, businesses have been reimagining and relaunching themselves. Rebrands are a common occurrence. IBM in the 1920s, Pepsi in the 1960s, Nike in the 1970s and Google in the late 1990s, have all rebranded to become the household names we know today. Others have refreshed their identities, with Guiness, The Premier League and Instagram, rebranding in 2016 alone.

What is brand insight?

Behind every successful rebrand, is a solid understanding of the brand itself, including the meaning of each brand interaction. Good insight is essential to a successful rebrand, and is often missing when a rebrand fails. For example, in late 2010 GAP suddenly launched a new brand, to a very poor reception. In less than a week, the previous branding was reinstated, showing that without fully understanding what a brand means to people, brand changes can be disastrous.

How is insight gathered?

Gathering the required insight behind a rebrand requires careful and considered research. An assessment of the current branding must be made, to understand which of the brand elements are most effective.. This can be achieved through surveys, focus groups and interviews, with those who interact with the brand. This should include both end users of the organisation, as well as internal stakeholders.

Early assessments should compare the brand against its competitors, to understand what it has in common, and what sets it apart from the competition.

If a new brand name is being chosen, all languages and cultures should be considered, to avoid misinterpretations. Website domain names and social media handles should also be secured before a brand name is finalised.

Brand changes should be trialed with test groups to properly gauge how the rebrand might be received. This process should be repeated with the brand’s logo and visual identity.

Once all stakeholders are happy with the direction of the rebrand, collateral can be produced , and the (re)brand launched.

What about B2B businesses?

As consumers we are often exposed to ‘B2C’ company rebrands, but ‘B2B’ companies rebrand too. It could be argued that B2B purchases matter more than B2C ones. As a consumer, if you buy the wrong washing up liquid it’s no big deal, you can just buy a different brand when it runs out. However, many B2B purchases are much more costly.

Strong B2B brands often trade on their reputation, conveyed through effective branding.

Decision makers in companies are often willing to pay a premium to B2B companies they know and trust. Reliability reduces risk, and simplifies the buying processes. When a B2B company rebrands, it is often to improve perceived reputation, by enhancing values including honesty, and expertise. It is important to understand how these qualities can be emphasised, by talking to prospects, clients and stakeholders.

Objective Creative is the UK’s fastest growing B2B marketing agency. Our award winning team are branding specialists. Get in touch to find out more.