Rebranding can revitalize and differentiate your business.

If you’re looking for a way to differentiate yourself from your competition or ensure your continued relevance in your market, rebranding can be a powerful tool.

Done correctly, it can make your company the premier brand in your market. Major brands like Apple and Harley-Davidson were nearly bankrupt prior to rebranding, and now each is at the pinnacle of their industry.

But it’s not without its perils. Wrongfully executed, and you could end up with a New Coke fiasco. It’s definitely a high risk-high reward undertaking.

So how do you ensure your rebranding is successful? Here are some tips:

  1. Make sure you need to rebrand – Too many companies see lagging sales and automatically assume they need to reinvent their brands. Sometimes a new marketing campaign would be just as successful, and far less risky. Make sure you actually need to change your image.
  2. Identify what consumers want – If you’re losing market share to the competition, find out what is making them so successful. Has your audience changed and you haven’t? What is the problem you’re trying to solve? Do your research before getting started.
  3. Consider the entire brand – Many companies only consider their logo when rebranding, and while this is an important piece, it’s not the whole enchilada. Be sure to consider the other core issues behind the rebrand, including internal and external perception of your company, market position, your overall goals, and the needs of your consumers.
  4. Give your brand a story – Find out what draws people to your company. Then develop the story around that. It will make your organization more likable and memorable if people can relate to what you’re doing.
  5. Create continuity – People generally don’t like change, so when you’re undergoing a major organizational transformation, you need to create continuity between the old and the new. Most rebrands don’t require starting from the ground up, so take a look at your current brand and decide what to salvage. Do you have an instantly recognizable color? That may be a good thing to hang on to.
  6. Allow the process time to work – Big changes take time. Plan ahead and be prepared to deal with any confusion that may arise. Have rational for every decision you’ve made and be aware of any potential problems.

Rebranding can be a challenge, but with the right planning, research and hard work, you can use it to be a catalyst for positive change. And should you ever doubt yourself in the process, just think of how great your new logo is going to look on polo shirts, coffee mugs and moleskin notebooks.