The Problem with Rebranding (From Someone Who Loves It)


By Jaylin Paschal

As a creative strategist, I love rebranding. It gives me an opportunity to be meticulous and detail-oriented. To rethink fonts, and color schemes, and logos and digital impressions. It provides for a facelift, and an opportunity to help someone fall even more in love with whatever it is they're offering to the world. It's one of my favorite "jobs."

I stumbled across this tweet about a week ago, and I think it's really important.

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There is something tragically misleading about the "rebranding" effort. I find that many people feel like it will fix all of their problems. The business/creative venture isn't going well, and rebranding is a quick fix that will get the ball rolling. It sucks to be the one to correct that misconception.

Rebranding means nothing if you don't do the legwork.

While the look and feel of a brand is a critical element of your endeavors, there is no good branding for bad work. Essentially, your product/service should sell itself. Branding is an extra bit of identity that boosts recognition and relevance. Trying to rebrand a person/place/product built on bad strategy is pointless and sometimes even offensive. Like when people try to fix their mustiness with perfume. It doesn't work like that. Don't rebrand your idea to death; don't let your brand distract you from your craft. And sometimes, instead of rebranding your product--make a better product.

Often times, rebranding with a poor product only worsens your overall image. It makes your priorities seem out of order. No need to have a good logo for poor work, or amazing font selection for pointless words.

At some point, rebranding and rebranding and rebranding just occupies all the time, money and resources you could be using to improve your craft. Don't let finding the "perfect" brand identity stand as your excuse as to why you can't get started. You spent three months "rebranding" so now your site launched late, or not at all. Now you missed the deadline for submitting that portfolio. Now everyone's lost interest.

I have to remind myself of this, too. A few months ago, I focused way to much on how looked, and went weeks without posting content because I wanted the tabs and headers to look just right. It's a dangerous trap, enticing with all of its opportunity to be creative about the little things like font and schemes and a reason to not think at all about the hard stuff. And as a bonus, it offers immediate gratification as your "aesthetic" changes. Rebranding is just more fun. I get it. I really do.

Ultimately, rebranding should be a pick-me-up for yourself or your company. It's a finishing touch; an adornment. It can take you to the next level, but only under the implication that the foundation is solid. It can make you better--but it can't make you.

Jaylin PaschalComment