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Rebranding – when, why and how should you do it?

This blog is aimed at Small Business Owners but in reality this topic applies to any sized business. It forms part of reviewing the growth of your business and checking that your brand is portrayed accurately, giving your customers the right perception.

Rebranding vs Brand Evolution/Refresh

Rebranding is the most extreme solution of the two and their are some negatives and positives to both solutions, it depends on your needs

  • Rebranding often means reviewing your business and seeing if it's necessary to give your branding a complete and utter overhaul

    • This could be essential, especially if your client has changed and you're not 'speaking' to them effectively or if you purposely want to change your target audience, an example of this is the Crabtree & Evelyn brand

  • This has been a risky move by C&E because they run the risk of alienating their current core customer base and they've also deleted entire lines of products. So they're not just starting the branding from scratch but they've closed stores, removed product lines, reduced the amount of products they're selling but they're giving a tighter focus to their most important brand elements

  • quality vs quantity

  • honed brand perception

  • tapping into the urban apothecary market which will make them focus on the ingredients as this audience are particular about what they use

  • by removing products and only offering a selection indicates they're removing waste

  • closing stores mean they're building their reputation essentially from the ground up and trying to do it right and perceptually ethically

  • competing with the likes of Tropic, Kiehl's and other urban apothecary products sold online and on the high street but within the more expensive beauty market which again gives the impression that a lot of care is taken when selecting ingredients

  • these decisions are confirmed with the streamlined, cleaner and more simple product design, even in their signature scent, they've added an edge, appealing to a younger target market than they've had previously. This is demonstrated in their product description which you can read here >

Refreshing or evolving your brand is a safer and gentler way to rebrand without losing your current client base and having to start again - the reality is that you never really start from scratch, your knowledge, expertise and business experience will always mean that you start from a more mature position but the risk is still less than Rebranding completely.

  • Refreshing your brand is doing just that, growing and changing incrementally in a gentle way with a story that takes your clients on a journey with you as well as attracting new clients along the way

  • It's slower and less expensive

    • Where Rebranding often means replacing all branded material immediately and there's a potential waste in throwing away and starting again

    • Refreshing is only replacing items when the previous one has been completely utilised. This reduces waste and slowly moves your current clients along with you

      • It's more suitable for a small business, whose growth is slower than a large business and can form part of your brand story and be shared with your audience, online and in person

      • A refresh is about recognising the changes and growth within your business and your personal development and measuring the accuracy with which that is being portrayed. It's also about moving closer to your next growth cycle or even keeping on the trajectory you set yourself in the first place

A classic example is looking at Coke's brand evolution

  • At first, they marketed themselves as a medicinal product and rebranded then slowly evolved to what we have today, click on the images below to see the dates and logo progression – even the biggest companies in the world need to review themselves with an ever-changing, ever-evolving population and technological advancements, read more about Coca-Cola's history here >

  • We see the very first logo doesn't hold a lot of personality, matter-of-fact, pure all-caps text and the product forms part of the pharmaceutical product range

  • The second logo used in 1890 was still within the Victorian era and you can see the late Art Nouveau flourishes are gently being introduced into the logo design, slowly transforming the product from medicinal to a luxury item with status. This brand seems to only last for a year but you can see the influence of the art era of the time creeping and the influence also of hand-written calligraphy used during this time

  • Within 1890 we start to see the logo that has remained with the brand, even today. It was trademarked with the U.S. Patent office and the first building is erected for the sole purpose of housing the Coca-Cola Company 

  • There was a glitch in the matrix in 1985 when New Coke was introduced to the public - and we did NOT like it so…

  • 1987, the original logo came back and it stuck!

So, do you rebrand completely or refresh your current brand? Depends entirely on your requirements!


I recommend starting with the Mystery Hare Brand Personality definition worksheet, which you're welcome to download here >

Brand Personality Definition EXERCISE
Download PD • 110KB


Reviewing your brand :

  • Define your brand personality

  • Tone of voice

  • Target customer (you may find it useful to divide your target customer in a variety of tiers to ensure stability)

  • Service offerings

    • Main service

    • Passive Income

    • Will you be giving training/workshops?

      • Market position

    • Are you a 'luxury item', essential for the success of your clients business, affordable, cheap and accessible to all?

    • Do you appeal to businesses or clients?

    • Are you a service provider or do you sell a product? Or both?

      • Describe your competitors (these can be direct competitors or brands that inspire you to reach the same potential, this will help you to recognise certain traits to adopt within your own brand)

If you would like Mystery Hare to help you review your brand and advise you on simple changes you can make, along with a list of goals to start working towards please email me at

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