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When Should I Rebrand? Here are 8 Warning Signs.

May 27, 2016

The life of a brand is full of iterations and decisions that ultimately decide its fate. Mercedes-Benz has been around more than 100 years with continuous brand growth, while automakers like Saturn and Oldsmobile have bitten the dust.

All great brands like Mercedes-Benz do one thing — they evolve. Everything changes in business — technology, habits, culture — brands must be primed to move nimbly to adapt to a changing landscape.


Ever heard of Blue Ribbon Sports? No? That was the original name of Nike before they were named after the Greek God of Victory.

How about Confinity? Now known as PayPal.


Warning Sign #1:  Company sales and growth have stalled

In the lifecycle of a brand or company, there are normal fluctuations in sales and growth. However, when a “blip” turns into steady decline, it’s time to make a change and set a bold new direction. A rebrand might be the catalyst to getting a business back on the rails.

Warning Sign #2:  Employees don’t understand the purpose of the brand

Terrific brands have terrific employees who understand how they fit into the big picture “why” of the organization. Struggling brands are staffed by bewildered employees who don’t understand their role in the organization nor the objectives and purpose of the company as a whole. Only when leadership and employees are on the “same page” can a company sustain prosperity.

Warning Sign #3:  Your geographical name no longer fits your target area

Years ago when your company identified yourself as Southern Acme, it made perfect sense, since you had locations scattered through the southeast. However, after a recent acquisition, Southern Acme is now in the northeast, and customers are not exactly flocking to the name.

Warning Sign #4:  Your brand or name no longer accurately describes what you do

Just like “Domino’s Pizza” no longer described their full assortment of menu items, “Domino’s” decided to drop “pizza” from their moniker. A bold move? Perhaps, but a smart one considering they offer sandwiches, pasta dishes, desserts, and yes, lots of pizza.


Warning Sign #5: Your brand isn’t exciting or is downright boring

So you have a “snoozer” brand. Your company moniker might be accurate and the identity polished, but it’s just so boring. Admitting your brand is a snoozer is the first step. Second step: pump some excitement into it! A brand refresh can work wonders for company morale, sales prospects, brand recall and more.

Warning Sign #6:  There’s confusion in the market

Perhaps your brand name is similar to a competitor’s. Or your logo resembles another brand. Whatever the case, there’s confusion in the market, limiting the growth you seek.


Warning Sign #7:  Your name is too long/abstract/complicated

I’m a firm believer in the KISS method of branding and marketing: Keep It Simple, Stupid (or some prefer, Keep it Short and Simple).

In a cluttered marketplace, brands are fiercely competing for our attention. Keep your brand to-the-point and as direct as possible. What do you sell? Is that in the name? Should it be?

Warning Sign #8:  Your identity looks dated

Long-lasting brands update and evolve their identity, their names, their colors and more. The golden arches associated with McDonald’s have been around a long time, but look a lot different now than they did in the 1970s.


The same goes for Starbucks. Their identity is up-to-date and reflects a positive perception of the company.



Having tinkered with software and technology his entire life, it was only fitting for Andy Fritchley to wind up in a digital playground — Kelsey — a brand marketing and strategy firm. Through the Brand Establishment, Andy is one of a handful of Certified Brand Strategists in the nation, helping clients with brand development, interactive projects, social media strategies and killer creative work. You can find Andy on and Twitter.


About The Brand Establishment

The Brand Establishment perfected the first contemporary brand development process specifically for small to mid-sized advertisers more than two decades ago. These tools and procedures have been utilized by companies in virtually every business sector – hundreds of times.