5 Reasons NOT to Rebrand Your Organization

by Joanna Pineda Posted on November 20, 2019

In my last blog post, I discussed the 7 good reasons to rebrand your organization. But when does it NOT make sense to rebrand?

Here’s what my friend Jane Barwis, CEO of BRG Communications, and I have to say about this topic. We recently did a webinar on rebranding because many of our clients are rebranding or thinking about rebranding.

  • Significant brand equity – If your name, logo and other corporate identity pieces are so well known and have really positive brand recognition, we recommend not rebranding. The money you’ll spend updating your brand and then marketing it to your stakeholders may be cost-prohibitive and you may never achieve the same level of brand equity again. Imagine if Coca-Cola changed its name, or changed Coke to something else, or started using blue as its color. How much brand equity would be lost?
  • Celebrating a significant anniversary – We see this a lot. Organizations are coming up on their 50th or 100th anniversary and they decide to rebrand. In our mind, celebrating an anniversary is not good enough reason to rebrand, unless other factors come into play, including the reasons we listed to rebrand, e.g., your audiences have changed, your industry has changed significantly. If this is the case, then it makes sense to use the anniversary as an opportune time to present a new brand.
  • Board feels it’s time to “shake things up” – Sometimes, Boards are unhappy with their organizations because membership is on the decline, meetings revenue is flat, members aren’t happy, yada, yada. Trouble is, a new brand will not fix those problems, which often have to do with poor leadership, strategy and/or execution. By all means rebrand if your organization is making strategic changes and needs to craft a new image, but don’t think that a new name or logo will fix your problems. When did a new logo alone ever fix declining revenues?
  • New leadership wants to “make their mark” – I love this reason. No, not really. Rebranding to make a mark is all about the people wanting to make a mark, and less about the strategic needs of the organization. If you go down this path, your new name, logo, or whatever, will reflect the tastes of your current leadership. What happens when that leadership is gone? Wouldn’t leadership rather be known as the regime, for example, that fixed the organization’s revenue problems, ushered in a new membership model, created a new incentive program for staff, made the decision to go international?
  • Other organizations are rebranding – If other organizations in your space are rebranding because of fundamental shifts in the industry or profession that you must address, then yeah, rebranding makes sense. But if those other organizations are rebranding for any of the reasons above, I say let them spend their money while you focus on increasing membership and revenues.

Do any of these criteria apply to your organization? If so, I suggest finding ways to respectfully ask your leadership to rethink the reasons. Better yet, redirect them to address more pressing organizational issues, like membership, fine tuning your message for the upcoming election, etc., etc. Good luck!

In the next blog post, I’ll talk about how to deepen brand equity and recognition. Stay tuned!

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