How to Avoid the Downside of Rebranding

The Top 6 Rebranding Mistakes Companies Make — and How to Avoid Them

By Karen TaylorDec 28 /2021

Whether you love or hate Facebook, it would be hard to miss the news about the company’s recent rebranding. The holding company, which includes Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, among other subsidiaries, is now called Meta, or Meta Platforms, Inc.

The rebrand included the new name, a new logo (an infinity symbol-shaped M), press releases, social media announcements and a brand story. The company explains that the name represents its move further into the “metaverse” — a digital world where people can experience a parallel life to their real-world existence.

Facebook’s rebrand illustrates the process of a successful rebranding effort. The execution is worth noting because too often, companies make significant mistakes during a rebranding journey. And those mistakes can lead to problems — from confusion in the marketplace to the loss of customers. Understanding what rebranding mistakes to avoid can help eliminate the downside and optimize the upside of a new brand launch.

Rebranding: Why and How

Companies rebrand for a variety of reasons, such as changes in product offerings or a change in leadership. The process of rebranding can include everything from designing a new logo and website to creating a new company story to communicating your new brand to the marketplace.

The benefits of rebranding include gaining the opportunity to connect with a new audience, staying current, and creating a stronger distinction from competitors. However, making rebranding mistakes can eliminate the benefits and create a new set of problems, which can often be long-lasting.

6 Rebranding Mistakes

  1. Rebranding for No Reason
  2. Failing To Do Your Homework
  3. No Clear Rebranding Strategy
  4. Focus Only on Visual Changes
  5. Trying To Do Everything at Once
  6. Weak Communication About Your Rebrand

Let’s dive into the six most common rebranding mistakes you need to avoid when your company embarks on a rebranding journey.

1. Rebranding for No Reason

Rebranding initiatives can be proactive or reactive. Proactive is when the company sees an opportunity to grow beyond its current state. A reactive rebrand is done when the company has experienced a significant impact, usually negative. Whatever the reason, your reason for rebranding needs to be strong. Rebranding just because you’re tired of your logo, for example, can lead to problems and a large waste of resources.

Valid reasons to rebrand include the following:

  • Experiencing an image problem: from an outdated look and feel to reputation repair
  • The company has evolved and has a new story to tell: from adding new products to moving into new markets
  • The market has shifted: from aging customers to digitization
  • The company is no longer attracting the right customers: from not attracting the people you want, to attracting too many undesirable customers
  • A significant leadership change: from a management change to a merger or acquisition  

2. Failing To Do Your Homework

A big rebranding mistake is pulling the trigger on a rebrand without doing the required homework. Without a complete understanding of where you stand now and where you want to go, your efforts could lead to utter confusion.

To avoid this mistake — and retain control of your rebranding conversation — before you move ahead with a rebrand, do some research, including answering the following questions:

  • How is our company’s current brand perceived by our customers, competitors and employees?
  • What are our competitors’ brands, and how do they communicate it and compete against us with it?
  • What are our rebranding ideas and how will they resonate internally and externally today and in the future?

Assess the answers to these questions, and then sit down and make an informed rebranding plan.

3. No Clear Rebranding Strategy

Too often, company’s plan a rebrand rollout without a clear strategy guiding the process. A rebranding strategy requires a framework that allows the new brand story to be positioned in an organized structure so that the rollout delivers a consistent message to current and future consumers.

For a smooth rebrand execution, the company needs to develop an overall process strategy that takes into consideration the following individual strategies:

  • Brand architecture
  • Brand positioning
  • Value proposition
  • Website
  • Social media
  • SEO
  • Inbound campaigns

4. Focus Only on Visual Changes

A new logo and website design are often the first things that pop to mind when companies are considering a rebrand. However, there are many other brand identity layers that need to be considered as well. While you might be thinking in terms of a quick update, a rebrand is a major change, and often an indication that your vision, mission and core values are changing, too. If you don’t take them into account, your rebranding effort may be too weak to have the intended impact.

Avoid overlooking these critical aspects of a rebrand to make sure your new brand is strong and successful:

  • Your company’s vision. Redefine your new North Star guiding vision — your “what.”
  • Your company’s mission. Determine your new mission statement — your “how.”
  • Your company’s values. Identify your new values — your “why.”
  • Your company’s brand voice. Clarify your new voice — including your vocabulary and tone.

5. Trying To Do Everything at Once

When thinking of rebranding, companies often tend to think of a massive overhaul of their image  — with everything being launched on the same day. However, that strategy can lead to massive market confusion and even distrust. A better approach is to reveal your new brand slowly and carefully. This will not only ease your customers and employees into the new identity but also allow you to fix anything that’s not working as you go.

Pace yourself as you launch the following common components of a rebrand:

  • Your new logo
  • Your new website
  • Press releases to tell your new story
  • Social media posts to share your new brand

6. Weak Communication About Your Rebrand

Communication is absolutely crucial during a rebranding journey. You must keep everyone aware of what’s going on and what’s coming down the pike and what the company stands for now.

Prepare to communicate your rebranding program in these four stages:

  1. Establish a new messaging framework. Create robust messaging that shares where you’ve been and where you’re going. Set the tone for the new direction your company is taking.
  2. Communicate the new brand internally. Make sure your employees are on the front line of all communication about your rebrand.
  3. Communicate the rebrand to clients and stakeholders. Keeping them in the loop ensures they are informed along the way.
  4. Communicate the rebrand to the marketplace. Prepare to launch news of your rebrand far and wide with press releases, blog posts, social media posts and emails.

Rebranding The Right Way

A rebrand gives a business an opportunity for a fresh start by changing its look and feel and messaging. It provides an opportunity to set a new tone for sales, marketing, customer service, and even the company’s culture. However, if you make critical rebranding mistakes, the damage may be long-lasting or even fatal. Avoiding the most common mistakes can help your company launch a successful rebranding program that delivers on your specific goals.

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Karen Taylor
The Author

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor is a professional content marketing writer with experience writing for over 100 companies and publications. Her experience includes the full range of content marketing projects — from blogs, to white papers, to ebooks. She has a particular knack for creating content that clarifies and strengthens a company’s marketing message, and delivers optimum impact and maximum results. Learn more at