When the signs are there (and when they’re not). Know for sure when it’s time to re-brand

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Like a wise man once said, “you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away… know when to re-brand.” With apologies to the late Mr Rogers, it’s always best not to gamble with re-working your identity.

Why even rebrand in the first place? For many it’s an unavoidable consequence of a merger or the result of a change in circumstances. For others it is simply a case of a brand being tired, uninspiring, and entirely forgettable.

A brand like Telecom over time began to feel old-fashioned with associations of unfair monopolising of the phone lines in New Zealand. The change to Spark, although met by initial criticism, provided a sense of new beginnings and finger-on-the-pulse thinking.

Telecom old logo
Source: Telecom (2014), Spark (2023) https://www.spark.co.nz/
Spark new logo

In a different sector altogether, but one where brand communication must inspire action, is the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The conservation charity, one of Britain’s largest, offers a message of hope and encouragement as part of their rebrand.

Through the tagline “Nature is in crisis. Together we can save it,” the brand now communicates urgency while also offering an inclusive call-to-action. In the face of increasing eco-anxiety, particularly among younger generations, the branding inspires action to counter apathy.

Source: Asha And Co (2023) https://ashaandco.uk/

Another important reason for a re-brand is recognition. After all, even the most interesting brands can get caught by the pack. Here, it is important to remember the purpose of creativity. Innovation leads the way, but eventually your competitors will catch up. At this time it’s important for the innovator to move ahead once more.

Sometimes too, an organisation will organically evolve over time, offering different products and services or altering the way these are delivered. Be it due to technological change or a pivot towards new opportunities in the market, a rebrand can be important here to ensure the identity properly represents the business.

It is broke, do fix it.

First, it’s important to recognise the problem. Knowing when change is needed is a tough but vital discussion. Knowing what changes to make (and how to make them) is also essential.

Author Jack London said, “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” Here are a few ways to prepare your club – and to set off on the hunt in the right direction…

1. Assess the competitive field

It’s important to analyse what already exists. How does your competition fare in the marketplace and how does brand communication affect this? If a potential customer were to objectively assess all brands in your sector and assign a descriptor to each, what adjectives would they use?

This is as good a literal exercise as it is a figurative one – and using an external facilitator to run the process will help keep it honest.

First, it’s important to recognise the problem. Knowing when change is needed is a tough but vital discussion. Knowing what changes to make (and how to make them) is also essential.

2. Understand what you might need

While discussions are likely to jump straight to logos and colourways, this is simply because they’re the most obvious. A visual mark is only one brushstroke when it comes to a rebrand. The bigger picture is the idea you want to relay, and the associations you want people to implicitly make when they encounter your brand.

Robust discussion is needed around the organisation’s values, and what problems can be solved for people who use your products and services. What should be explicitly communicated? What should remain internal? What is your brand promise – and what is its purpose?

Sometimes you’ll be able to answer these questions in-house. Often however it’s better to have an outside perspective and the expertise of those who undertake the process regularly.

Our brand discovery workshops are designed to clarify everything needed to make the next step. These sessions are focused on achieving all-important context for your brand – it’s a valuable process delivering the opportunity to step back for a 360-degree perspective of the business.

3. Build that brief

It takes a huge amount of effort to make something look effortless – and looking effortless and entirely fitting is the ideal result of a rebrand.

Building a brief is where you need to spend the time as an organisation. In this way you’ll be able to get straight to the guts of it once the re-brand begins. This is another process that can be worked on in isolation. But, equally, co-constructing a brief can be very effective if you’re working with creatives you trust. After all, they’ll have a working understanding of the current branding landscape, and will be able to interrogate your ideas (in a kind and constructive way).


  • Use precise adjectives. Get out the thesaurus if needed.
  • Provide examples of what you love (and what you don’t).
  • Budget realistically and timeline appropriately.
  • Undertake market research
  • Take your time


  • Make assumptions or generalise.
  • Expect one small facet of your new brand to communicate everything about your business.
  • Judge conceptual work by final artwork standards.
  • Be offended by suggestions or questions from the creative team – this is literally their job.

In our brand discovery workshops we can establish everything from your brand purpose and personality to the voice and values, the unique positioning to the overall aesthetic. All of these are vital if you want to arrive at a new brand that is speaks from the heart of your brand directly to the eyes and ears of your audience.

4. Ok, now what?

Look around to see which agency offers the best fit for your brief. Meet with the creatives and interview them on their process before deciding who to go with. Be honest and upfront about your budget, your timeline and your expectations.

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Source: You've Got Mail (1998)

When the lifespan of your brand identity can potentially be measured in decades now is not the time to follow last year’s trends. Nor should you be swayed by the cheap or the overconfident. Look for a rebrand partner who will ask questions, work as a team and think creatively. Look for an agency that will take the gamble out of the process. And, if the approach above resonates, and a rebrand is what you need, perhaps look here…

Embark on a Successful Rebranding Journey with Imagic

Rebranding is more than just a visual makeover; it's a strategic move that can redefine your brand's identity and positioning in the market. Whether it's due to a merger, evolving business offerings, or simply refreshing a tired brand image, the decision to rebrand is pivotal.

At Imagic, we recognize the intricacies of branding and rebranding:

  • Strategic Brand Workshops: Dive deep into your brand's core values, voice, and unique positioning. Our workshops provide a comprehensive view, ensuring your rebrand resonates with your target audience.
  • Expert Guidance: From understanding when it's time to rebrand to executing it flawlessly, our team is here to guide you every step of the way.
  • Creative Excellence: Our team ensures your rebrand not only looks good but also aligns with your business goals and communicates your brand promise effectively.

Whether you're considering a rebrand or just starting to explore the idea, Imagic is here to transform your brand vision into a compelling reality. Let's collaborate and craft a brand identity that stands out and speaks volumes.

Ready to redefine your brand's future? Connect with Imagic now and let's set the stage for your brand's evolution.

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