February 23, 2024
4 Mins to Read

The ultimate rebranding checklist: Steps for success

The ultimate rebranding checklist: Steps for success

Rebranding is a way to adapt and grow in your ever-changing market landscape. It can range from a subtle refresh to a complete overhaul of a brand's identity. It helps to position your company in the hearts and minds of your customers. Rebranding involves intentional changes to marketing efforts dictated by data, creativity, and expertise. In other words, a branding strategy.

A rebrand without a strategy is like fixing your car’s broken engine by changing the paint color. If you’re going to put in the time, effort, and budget, then do it right the first time. 

This rebrand checklist includes the elements needed for a proper transformation. It’s broken down into four easy-to-follow stages: 

  1. Preparation and exploration 
  2. Strategy development
  3. Execution 
  4. Optimization and ongoing management

When is it time to rebrand? Identifying the need

Knowing when to rebrand can feel like an ambiguous choice. Especially when you have the option to undergo a rebrand or opt for a brand refresh. Understanding what motivates other organizations to rebrand can help. Or you can keep an eye out for these signs of a failing brand strategy

Here are eight common reasons for rebranding:

  1. Adapting to changing market trends
    Businesses need to evolve with market trends. This includes shifts in consumer values and technological advancements.
  2. Changing company ethos
    Changes in a company's values, vision, or mission statement may drive a need to rebrand.
  3. Mergers and acquisitions
    Rebranding can help create unity between two or more companies. Rebranding needs to be on the table when a merger occurs.
  4. Market repositioning
    Have market changes made your brand's positioning obsolete? Then, rebranding can be a solution without altering the core identity.
  5. Revitalizing a stale brand
    Outdated or tired brands can benefit from rebranding to engage modern audiences.
  6. Responding to negative publicity
    Scandals or negative publicity can be opportunities to reinvent a brand. Be sure to make improvements, then reflect the changes in a fresh rebrand.
  7. Global expansion strategies
    Entering global markets often necessitates rebranding. You’ll want to align with local tastes and preferences. You’ll also want to maintain a consistent global identity.
  8. Legal and compliance issues
    Regulatory changes can prompt a rebrand. So can legal challenges, trademark infringement, and data violations.

Find an in-depth analysis of the strategic reasons companies rebrand here.

The ultimate rebranding checklist: Major Tom’s guide

A rebrand can seem like a massive project with many balls in the air, but it’s like eating an elephant. You have to do it bite by bite. So, your first answer to “what needs to be done for a rebrand?” is to make a checklist. We’ve taken the liberty of creating a checklist for rebranding for you. 

Save this rebrand checklist to keep your project on track and headed for success. 

Stage 1: Preparation and exploration


Understand your current branding

  • Evaluate your existing brand identity, messaging, and visual assets.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses in your current branding using a SWOT analysis.

Define your goals and objectives

  • Outline what you aim to achieve with the rebrand. Cross-check your rebrand goals with your business goals and target audience needs.
    • Create a list of brand assets you will need to achieve your goals. For example, internal company alignment may call for well-defined mission, vision, and values. 
  • Compile a list of data you need, such as analytics on your target audience. 

Conduct market and audience research

  • Perform a thorough analysis of your industry, competitors, and market trends.
  • Use tools like SWOT analysis or customer journey maps.

Gather stakeholder input

  • Engage with key decision-makers, stakeholders, and team members. You’re looking for diverse perspectives and insights.
  • Conduct surveys, interviews, or workshops to facilitate discussion and uncover truths. 

Determine your unique selling proposition (USP)

  • Define what sets your brand apart from competitors. A competitive matrix or niche matrix can help you understand where you sit in the marketplace. 
  • Ensure that your USP aligns with your business goals and target audience needs.

Set a budget

  • Allocate resources for the rebranding process, including design, marketing, and analytics.
  • Ensure the budget aligns with your strategic objectives.

If you're in the B2B space, check out these B2B rebranding success stories for inspiration during this phase.

Stage 2: Strategy development


Ideate brand concepts

  • Brainstorm concepts for the brand assets you outlined in Stage 1.
    • Focus on getting to the core of the communication and lean into the emotional story.
  • Develop concepts for the assets you need. These may include: 
    • brand substance, 
    • positioning strategy, 
    • brand persona, 
    • communication assets, and 
    • visual expression.

The following sections will only apply if you need the accompanying asset:

Define your brand substance

  • Clearly articulate your brand's purpose, mission, vision, and values.
  • Ensure alignment with your organization's goals and values.

Create your positioning strategy

  • Craft a brand positioning statement 
  • Outline what your USP is 

Craft a brand story

Create a brand identity system

  • Design visual assets such as logos, color schemes, typography, and brand style guidelines.
  • Maintain consistency with your brand's personality and values.

Develop a brand personality 

  • Create a persona, voice, or archetype for your brand 
  • Ensure alignment with your brand substance. 

Curious about how Major Tom approaches rebranding? The Brand Book tell-all review sheds some interesting insights. 

Stage 3: Execution


Create a brand book

  • Compile all brand assets and guidelines into a comprehensive brand book.
  • Ensure that it reflects your brand's values, personality, and design elements.

Brand rollout 

  • Audit your company to understand where the brand appears, both self-managed and externally managed. Make a list of assets that need to be created and updated across all channels.
  • Create a coordinated schedule to roll the new brand out. This will help to ensure a clean execution and avoid any confusion or mishaps.
    • Within this schedule, be sure to inform internal and external stakeholders of the new branding.
  • Use your new brand in various marketing collateral. This includes websites, social media profiles, print materials, and more.
  • Maintain visual consistency and alignment with the brand book.

You can find the best practices for implementing a brand book right here.

Implement data analytics

  • Set up tracking tools and analytics to measure the impact of your rebranding efforts.
  • Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess progress.

Stage 4: Optimization and Ongoing Management


Establish a feedback loop

  • Continuously gather feedback from stakeholders, customers, and team members.
  • Use feedback to make adjustments and improvements to your brand strategy.

Adapt to market changes

  • Stay informed about industry trends, market shifts, and competitive landscape changes.
  • Be prepared to adapt your brand strategy as needed.

Monitor and measure ROI

  • Regularly evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of your branding efforts.
  • Use attribution models to assess the impact of branding on lead generation and conversions.

Maintain consistency

  • Continuously maintain your brand identity across all touchpoints and platforms.
  • Train employees to ensure consistent brand representation.

Stay competitive

  • Keep an eye on competitors and industry developments.
  • Be ready to refine your unique value proposition (UVP). Adapt your strategy accordingly.

Want to learn more? Try this in-depth analysis of crafting a B2B brand strategy. Or this study on how to master digital branding

The ultimate rebranding checklist will keep you on track and accountable to your goals

What should be included in rebranding? At the most, everything in the rebranding checklist above. Or, you can pick and choose the elements that will work for your business goals. 

By following this company rebrand checklist, you will successfully navigate all stages of the rebranding process. It’s built to encompass a data-driven approach, foster creativity, and cover all of your potential responsibilities. 

Download your free company rebranding checklist and stay informed by subscribing to our Mercury newsletter in the footer.

Colleen Christison, Brand Communication Strategist

The more I learn, the less I know, and the more I want to learn.

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