Rebranding is a great way to breathe new life into your business, but brand leaders are often quick to assume a rebrand means a facelift for the entire company, website included.
You don’t need a new website just because you’re rebranding your business, but it might be a good idea.
Your website is the contact point for online consumers, so it’s natural to want it to be in line with rebranding efforts. Whether this means a new website or simple changes to key elements depends on you.
What it Means to Rebrand
Subjective goals of a company rebrand may differ, but the purpose of most rebranding campaigns is to establish a new company identity. A new tagline, a new logo, and even a new name are common touchpoints for rebranding.
The goal is often to differentiate between the old and the new in the minds of customers, investors, and competitors.
Sometimes, all a rebrand needs is an eye-catching new logo to complement internal company changes. Consider the simple-but-effective Google logo change in 2015.
Other times, brand leaders decide to upend the entire company aesthetic and go in a new direction. A good example is Old Spice “swaggerizing” their brand to appeal to a younger audience.
Rebranding campaigns are a combination of internal policy shifts and external aesthetic changes. You run the risk of alienating loyal customers if you rebrand too much, but you also appear stagnant and outdated if your rebrand doesn’t go far enough. Finding the balance is crucial.
The Role Web Design Plays in Rebranding
Your website—and the design behind it—plays an important role in how customers perceive your company. Your website is often the only avenue through which potential customers find your business. As such, it’s important that your web design helps build brand loyalty and creates a consistent brand voice.
From color choices to font, content placement, and rebranded logo elements, the web design changes you make during a rebrand do a lot to convey your message. And therein lies the challenge.
Is your rebrand so extensive that web design alterations aren’t enough? Do you start from the ground floor and build a new website from scratch?
Four Important Questions to Ask Before Creating a New Rebranded Website
Often, a rebrand doesn’t mean you have to make changes to every aspect of your business. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? With that in mind, it’s important to evaluate the what and why behind your rebranding to determine if a new website is necessary.
Why are you rebranding?
Most companies will go through a rebranding at some point. The reason(s) for your rebrand will help determine whether or not a new website is necessary.
Are you expecting the company to grow? Are you entering new industry territory? Are you responding to outside forces or negative publicity? How far do you plan to distance yourself from the old aesthetic?
Has Your Target Audience or Market Changed?
In the Old Spice example above, the company realized they needed to appeal to a new target market if the brand was going to survive rising competition.
Old Spice used to appeal to an older demographic (you may have found an old bottle in Grandpa’s dopp kit). Today, Old Spice has rebranded itself as a hip, modern solution to grooming for younger consumers.
Is Your Current Website Outdated?
If your website looks like the still-active hub for Space Jam, you’re likely behind the times. Customers are quick to judge a brand by how modern and in-touch it appears, and an outdated company website says a lot. Many companies use a rebranding campaign as an opportunity to present a fresh new website.
Will a New Website Be Adequate in the Future?
A new key product launch or a leap into unfamiliar industries are excellent reasons to create a new branded website identity for your company, but it’s important to consider the future.
Will your website rebrand feel just as relevant in a few years? A decade? Can you confidently get behind a new web design knowing you won’t rebrand again soon?
Pros and Cons of a New Rebranded Website
A new website is a complex undertaking. There are a number of pros and cons to consider, regardless of how complete your rebranding campaign is.
- There are SEO benefits – A new domain and updated SEO best practices for a rebranded website can improve the user experience and help you rank better in search engines.
- A small update can make a big splash – Something as simple as a color palette shift can change the way people see your brand.
- Distance from the old can be good – A new website can mean a new company in the eyes of the customer.
- There are SEO pitfalls – There’s the potential of losing years of online authority if you handle a rebrand improperly. It’s important to benchmark important KPIs and insure that redirects are ready to go.
- Loyal customers may not like the rebrand – Customers can be creatures of habit. A website redesign after rebranding can confuse and alienate loyal customers if you’re not careful in planning and announcing your rebrand.
- A new website can be costly and time-consuming – Depending on the redesign complexity, a new website can eat up resources and take longer than you intend.
Rebranding vs. Rebuilding
Remember, rebranding your business is subjective. You don’t have to start from the ground and completely redesign your company (website and all) just to change how customers view and interact with your brand.
Simple web design updates paired with a catchy new logo/tagline can do wonders, but it may not be enough. A website overhaul might be in order if you’re distancing yourself from past company missteps or an old brand image.
Consider crucial pros and cons to a website redesign if you’re considering a rebrand, and make data-driven, goal-oriented changes regardless of whether a new website is in the cards. The last thing you want is to rebuild an entire company after a rebrand if that wasn’t your intention.