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Rebranding – why rebrand your start-up and how do you do it?

Rebranding may seem a little unnecessary, but it can offer your business a new lease of life, allowing you to explore new markets and potentially become more profitable.

If your start-up is stalling, your target customers opens in new window aren’t engaging with your brand, or your branding opens in new window no longer feels aligned with your product, a rebrand could help revitalize your start-up.

Deciding to rebrand your start-up shouldn’t be taken lightly.

It can affect many aspects of your company and change how your target customers perceive your business – it’s much more than just designing a new logo or changing your company colours.

Rebranding can be common in business, so it shouldn’t be viewed as a sign of failure.

A brand refresh can sometimes mean the difference between stagnation and growth.

Even large, established brands such as the BBC, Starbucks, and the Co-op have undergone rebranding exercises to respond to changing markets.

But how does rebranding work, and how do you do it?


What is rebranding?

Rebranding involves rethinking a company’s identity to help ensure it is positioned in the best way for its target market and aligned with its evolving goals opens in new window.

It can involve changing various elements of your business, including its brand name and logo, its visual identity, tagline, and the business messaging.

This can make your business more appealing to customers and redefine your unique selling point (USP) opens in new window and company culture.

Rebranding can also involve changing how your business communicates with customers.

You might decide to adjust your tone of voice to develop stronger customer relationships and loyalty opens in new window.

Read our expert guide on how to turn your start-up into a valuable brand opens in new window.


Why would a start-up rebrand?

Rebranding is a significant decision for any company.

The decision to rebrand is often made when elements of the business are holding back growth.

These can include the following:


Limited brand traction

Many start-ups can take a while to take off, but sometimes your new business may not perform as well as you first expected.

Perhaps you are finding that your business has limited brand traction meaning, despite your efforts, your brand is not getting enough customer engagement opens in new window.

Rather than giving up on your business, you could refine your brand messaging and visual identity to appeal to your current target audience and establish a strong market presence.

Learn more with our guide to affordable branding tools opens in new window.


Overcoming a negative reputation

Regardless of whether a business is a start-up or already an established company, mistakes can happen that cause an adverse customer reaction opens in new window.

How you respond to that reaction can impact how people view your business in the future.

If your start-up’s brand has been tarnished, perhaps due to a product issue or negative public feedback, rebranding could offer a fresh start so your start-up can rebuild customer trust.


Brand name conflicts

A registered UK business cannot have the same name as another registered UK business.

If two companies in the same industry had the same name, this could confuse customers and result in potential legal disputes around trademark infringement opens in new window, which could be costly for your start-up.

In this case, rebranding could help you establish a distinctive and unique brand identity for your business.

Some company names might appear very similar but operate in different markets.

It can make sense to ensure that your brand differs from other similarly named businesses to reduce customer confusion.

Read our guide on how to choose a brand name opens in new window for your company.


Strategic changes

To achieve business success, a start-up may have to change direction or even rework its business model if there is a better market it should target.

Changes such as this can benefit from a rebrand to ensure that your company’s name and brand strategy opens in new window reflect the new business’s purpose and target customers.


The pros and cons of rebranding

Rebranding is a serious business process that requires significant planning, but even with research and project management opens in new window, it could still be considered a business risk.

So, what are the potential pros and cons?


  • you could attract new customers with a fresh look and feel
  • your business will be able to stand out from the competition in a busy market
  • it could mean a fresh start if negative issues have tarnished the company’s reputation.


  • can be expensive as you may need to consider design, legal, and marketing costs
  • you could alienate existing customers if they don’t connect with the new branding
  • updating all brand assets, both digital and physical, can be a time-consuming process.


How to successfully rebrand your start-up

Careful research and planning could help your rebrand to go smoothly – consider these steps to help your business find the path to success.


1. Conduct market research

Consider researching opens in new window any rebranding process by conducting a thorough market and competitor analysis.

This could involve refreshing your understanding of what your customers need, checking what competitors are doing opens in new window, working out where your business stands in the market opens in new window, and identifying the gaps in your brand offering opens in new window.

Knowing what your customers want can help you to gain a competitive edge.


2. Brainstorm new brand elements

Once you’ve completed your research, you can look at the various elements of your brand with fresh eyes.

This might prompt you to consider changing anything from the brand’s overall look and feel to how it is presented on your website opens in new window and social media channels opens in new window.

Brainstorming with trusted peers, your team, or external branding experts can help you make decisions about the way forward, whether you decide to make small changes or completely revamp your brand look and feel.


3. Test the rebrand

Before committing to new branding, consider testing the changes you plan.

Ask existing customers opens in new window, employees, and others for their feedback.

Their response can provide invaluable insight that will help you fine-tune your rebrand plans.

While you know your company best, don’t be afraid to revisit and tweak your ideas if necessary.


4. Project manage your rebrand

Once you’ve decided on the brand elements you’d like to change, think about planning how to implement and maintain the new branding.

You could make a spreadsheet detailing what will change, how the changes will be made, and when each element of your rebrand will be ready.

For the rebrand to be successful, your company’s look and feel should be consistent across your digital channels, advertising, customer service script, invoicing opens in new window, and elements such as uniforms or decor in brick-and-mortar businesses opens in new window.

This consistency can help to ensure your new branding feels intentional, looks professional and builds trust.


5. Roll out the changes

Once you’ve decided to rebrand, you might go for a ‘soft’ relaunch – gradually introducing your new branding.

This could allow you to refine your rebrand over time.

Alternatively, you might implement your rebrand across all channels, markets, and products simultaneously.

Whatever your strategy, think about how you’ll communicate changes to your customers and suppliers so they receive them positively.

For instance, this could be done via a launch event or a social media campaign and can include essential information, such as your new company name or details about your brand messaging.

Read our expert step-by-step guide on how to create a brand. opens in new window


Learn with Start Up Loans and help get your business off the ground

Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.

Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window  include:

Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.


Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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