Rebranding: Risk vs. Reward

March 8, 2016

Rebranding: Risk vs. Reward

tag higher education brand strategy | higher education branding
Rebranding: Risk vs. Reward

One does not simply embark on a rebrand. The process is a mixed bag of potential benefits and pitfalls. What should you think through before taking on the intimidating task of rebranding? 

First, ask yourself “why?” Have times changed and your company has taken a different direction? Do you need to clear out the cobwebs from some negative PR? Take some time to think through “why” before jumping in.

In our work with Forum Benefits, they wanted to find a way to articulate their core competency (simplifying the complex world of healthcare and benefits). We started with a research and interview process, and their new brand emerged from those conversations. The name “Forum” was inspired by their mission of open dialogue, and the logo symbolized a Roman forum.


So what about you? When you’re thinking about undertaking a change as big as a rebranding, what are the pros and cons you should keep in mind?

The rewards

A rebrand could revive a brand that has stagnated, and the fresh new face could start conversations that you might not have had otherwise. Those conversations could open doors to new business. A refreshed brand can ensure you’re keeping up with current design trends and show the world you’re not using Microsoft Paint to maintain your visual image. It can also spark conversations with potential clients & partners that didn’t know you before, since they may find you based on what you do, rather than just a familiar name. You also may find yourself recapturing the essence of who you are. Businesses change. You may find out you’ve changed along the way, or the change could reinforce who you’ve always been.

The risks

It could backfire. Remember the Gap logo debacle?


Ouch. While that’s one of the most memorable of recent years, there are plenty more of skeletons littering the rebranding roadside, and you don’t want to be one of those companies. (A careful research process should prevent this, but there’s always that risk.) A rebrand is a massive amount of work, and a major disruption to your regular workflow. It could cause confusion for your prospects and customers if it’s not well-executed. Potential clients might not find you online if you don’t manage the transition well. And the name recognition you’ve spent years building could go away in a blink.

Though it’s a risky, time-consuming process, the end benefits often outweigh the pitfalls. Forum president Brian Stritt said, “Rebranding our company is one of the best investments we have made. It not only gave us a fresh start, it allows us a way to tell our story.”  

Tell Us What You Think

Have you been through a rebranding effort? How’d it go? Was it worth the effort? Were there any surprises along the way? Share your experience in the comments.

Are you ready to take on a rebranding project, but need someone to guide you through the process? We can help.