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The Top 4 Reasons Why It’s Time to Rebrand Your Company

While a rebrand may seem terrifying, there is a time and a place for it. These 4 entrepreneurs share their reasons & advice for rebranding their startups.

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BY Matt Hunckler - 03 Aug 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The honest truth about rebranding is that many companies will do it at some point.

Your brand is the face and voice of your business. It's what consumers think of when they hear your company's name. Your company and your brand identity should always be closely aligned, so if you discover the two are no longer a good fit, a change is definitely in order.

"Whether your reason for changing is the color palette, design, or the name itself, take a step back and look at the entire brand. And take the right amount of time to do so--don't rush it," said Kristen Hamerstadt of SmarterHQ, a B2C marketing platform that rebranded in 2015. "If there's one thing my team wishes we could go back and change, it's that we would've had more time to develop the new brand and critique our decisions from all angles."

Here are four of the most common reasons to rebrand your company, along with insights from founders who have experienced the process firsthand:

1. You launched a new product

Selling dissimilar products under a single umbrella can muddle your brand image and confuse customers, which is why you should consider assigning a unique brand to each product.

For example, Bluebridge, a custom app developer for churches and the tourism industry, spun out their employee engagement app, Emplify, rather than try to integrate it into the Bluebridge brand.

"We certainly could have split our business between two brands, but that wouldn't have allowed our employees full focus toward our mission with Emplify," said CEO Santiago Jaramillo. "We made the decision to turn our attention toward one product, one mission, and one brand."

Formspring, a form creation app, took a slightly different approach: after creating a new tool specifically for social media applications, they rebranded their business-to-business product to become Formstack to avoid confusion between the two.

"Because of the similar names, we were getting significant numbers of people signing up for both services incorrectly, not to mention utilizing each other's support incorrectly," said the CEO, Chris Byers. "[We rebranded because] the tax on the core business was not likely to change."

2. Your company mission has changed

It is common for a company's mission to shift in a new direction or to grow beyond the scope of its initial goals. If this applies to you, you may need to realign your brand so it accurately reflects your new mission or product offerings.

My company started as a pitch event for entrepreneurs. As we grew, we saw the opportunity to expand upon our mission and provide entrepreneurs not only with a stage to pitch their ideas, but also a platform for making connections. In the process, we launched a podcast entitled Powderkeg: Igniting Startups. As we developed the refocused mission and product, it became clear that a rebrand would help us reposition within our community. Transitioning everything to Powderkeg was a natural fit and we learned a lot in the process.

We have now shifted our mission to hone in on a single vision: build out our platform to connect tech entrepreneurs, investors and professionals with the resources they need to grow and scale.

3. The needs of your customers have changed

Sometimes your company will be forced to change its brand because the needs of your customers have evolved. Tech innovation is a key driver of changing market habits, which can force a business to either adapt or get left behind.

SmarterHQ, previously known as Smarter Remarketer, focused entirely on automated remarketing tools for retailers. But when digital marketing trends began to evolve, the team knew it was time to rebrand the company.

"Our customers had started using [the product] for behavioral marketing, which is a more sophisticated and smarter approach to converting customers," said Hamerstadt, the company's Director of Marketing. "Rebranding was a simpler choice versus spending a massive amount of time and money to attempt to change the definition of remarketing altogether."

4. You don't stand out from competitors

What if your market is crowded by companies offering similar products with messaging that's very close to your own? Or worse: what if another company has the same name as yours, making it difficult for customers to find you?

The team at Flock, a workplace communication app that facilitates quick daily standup meetings, discovered that too many potential customers were getting rerouted to several other websites and apps with the same name. They renamed their product Jell to eliminate the confusion and saw much better website traffic as a result.

"Having clarity around the importance of a great name and domain was the most important part of the process," said Ade Olonoh, co-founder of Jell. "And since we had consensus around not compromising on quality, we were prepared to be flexible around time and cost."