Rebrand or promote what you’ve already got?

The internet is full of big-budget rebrand success stories, but is a rebrand always the best strategy?

There are many reasons why you might want to consider rebranding your company; from simply updating your logo in line with more modern trends to trying to revitalise a brand and open up new markets.

It seems like every mega-corp is branding recently – from very subtle (and expensive) projects for Ikea and American Express to a less recent change to the Mini’s logo which saw it go for a minimal redesign.

So the larger companies are all doing it – but they’ve got the massive budgets available to invest in huge rebrands – what about the rest of us?

SMEs make up over 99% of companies in the UK, and for the vast majority of us, spending tens of thousands on a rebrand is just not feasible.

Thinking about promoting your business? Get in touch.

So should you rebrand or promote?

Good question.

  • Do you and your customers like your current logo and branding?
  • Have you been using it for years?
  • Does it convey professionalism and your vision and values?

There are obviously 100s of potential questions that could be asked here but take a good step back from your current branding. Will changing it have that much impact?

What actually is a rebrand?

Brand design means lots of different things to lots of different people. so here at Toast, we like to break it down into three simple types of project.

  1. Logo design
  2. Logo and Corporate Identity
  3. Logo, Corporate Identity and Branding

Let’s look at these in more detail.

Logo Design.

This is the design of your logo. It’s just that. The deliverables at the end of a Logo Design project are, you guessed it, your logo.

This is usually supplied in all the formats you may need and often some colour options for a black and white version and reversed-out option.

A logo design project may also include some basic brand usage guidelines (don’t stretch it etc), but that’s about it.

You asked for a Logo design, you got one!

Is changing your logo going to win you more business?

Chances are no. It may make you look more professional, modern or whatever, but the chances of any significant increase in sales from redesigning your logo are very slim (that’s not saying it never happens).

Logo design and Corporate Identity.

This type of project is all the above from Logo design, plus the application of your new logo to things like letterheads, the design of business cards, livery, signage and so on.

We’ll take the logo design and then design all the other physical items you need around it.

The style guide kicks in more here with font usage, colours and various other visual elements of your identity.

Will you win more new business from a refreshed Corporate Identity?

As per the logo design – you may (if you promote your new identity) but other than that, nope. It’s not enough on its own.

Logo design, Corporate Identity and Branding.

Branding design

Both of the above are included in this type of project, but now we get into the real process of branding.

  • What do you look like (over and above your logo and corporate identity?
  • How do you sound?
  • What types of imagery best represent you?
  • How do you feel?
  • What type of language do you use?
  • What do you believe?
  • Are you formal, informal or something else?
  • How are you going to change the world?

This list barely scratches the surface, but you get the point.

There are so many things that fall under a project called ‘Branding’; it’s not your logo and your typeface.

A Branding project is about everything that you want to project to your current and potential customers. Branding projects are more about planning and ideas than design.

So can a rebranding project make you more money?

Yes, but it will cost you a lot more too, so hence the question; do you spend your budget on a rebrand or promotion?

Branding is nothing without promotion, but you know that.

If you do choose to invest in rebranding your product or service, it’s going to cost you some money to do it properly.

Then, you are going to have to spend more money on promoting the branding you’ve just spent a lot of money on.

This is one of the main reasons to really assess whether you need to rebrand completely or whether what you already have is ok and to invest instead in promoting that.

Don’t listen to designers, listen to your customers – to a point.

Designers design stuff. It generally doesn’t matter if something needs a redesign or not, the default position of many designers is that design alone will solve all your problems, so they will naturally do what they do and suggest that a different design is what’s required.

If your logo is awful, then they are spot on, but you’ve got to be careful how you define a bad logo and any critique of existing logo design should be objective and fact-based NOT something that’s done purely on personal opinion.

If you ask someone’s opinion on whether something is ‘good’ or not they will generally suggest a way in which they, personally, would make changes.

It’s what we do.

How often do you hear people say; oh, that’s great but…

So you also need to consider customer or client feedback to – there’s a good chance that if you ask 1000 people, you’ll get 1000 different answers.

Be confident in your existing logo and banding; promote it.

Let’s say a rebranding project costs £8,000.

It’s also going to take anywhere from three months to a year to get the project completed.

Then another three months to roll it out over everything, this could cost £1000s.

So what else could you do with that budget?

To do this, we’re going to assume you’ve costed-out a rebranding project and the cost has come in at £15,000.

Remember, there are no guarantees that you are going to get a return on that rebrand.

Here’s another way you could carve-up that £15,000.

A branding refresh – £1500

So you think there’s enough of a problem with your existing logo to rebrand – instead, spend £2000 subtly improving what you have. No need to instantly roll it out across everything, just update letterheads and other marketing collateral as-and-when required.

Technically Optimise your website – £500

We look at a lot of websites and help clients make their website better.

Improvements to the speed and optimisation of your site can make significant improvements to the number of leads you get.

Spend on SEO for your website – £3000

Our monthly SEO plans start at £250 per month and generate new optimised content, landing pages and improve conversion rates.

This will help you to reach new customers via niche searches and will bring you targetted, ready-to-buy customers.

Whatever your product or service, an investment of £3000 over 12 months will more than pay for itself and provide a provable return on investment.

Invest in external SEO – £6000

This can seem like a big spend, but acquiring backlinks and other off-page SEO techniques can really benefit your business.

Allow £500 per month to invest in raising the authority of your domain, increasing your backlinks and getting your blog posts ranking on page one of Google.

Again, this is a measurable and quantifiable method of winning new customers.

Social Media marketing – £2000

A necessary evil in the modern marketing tool kit. The jury remains out on how effective this is, and it very much depends on the suitability of your product or service.

But pick the right channel and whilst you may not get direct sales, you can use social media marketing to effectively promote the content you’ve had produced in the previous steps.

Google does use Social media signals as a ranking influence, so like it or not, you need to be on at least one channel.


The total…

That little lot comes in at £13,000 for the year, so you’ve £2,000 spare to boost any of the above.

The point here is that the services listed above are all trackable and, when done properly, can prove their effectiveness.

So what are the returns?

This depends very much on your product or service.

If a customer is worth £10,000 over their lifetime with you, then just two conversions in 12 months will see you net a £7,000 return in the first year.

However, if your customer is worth only £100 over their lifetime with you, you are going to need to win 130 from the above work – still not impossible over a 12 month period.

This is planned, recorded, transparent and identifiable marketing that proves itself.

Now consider that against the rebranding option; £15,000 spend with zero guarantees that it’s going to work.


Rebrands naturally form part of any brands lifetime.

What was once cutting edge is now old-hat, so brands need to evolve over time.

Many brands that once needed to exist only in print need to change to work digitally, and digital is going to evolve exponentially over the next decade.

So change is the only constant in advertising, design and marketing and rebrands naturally form part of that cycle.

The real point here is how do you get honest, impartial advice on whether you should rebrand or promote.

If you find yourself at this impasse, give us a call.

We promise that we won’t open with ‘you need to rebrand’.

We’ll take a look at your business, your product/service and your existing branding and marketing collateral and talk to you about how we think you should proceed and how we can help you.

There’s no charge for this – we’re in it for the relationship with our clients, so we know we have to put in a little groundwork first.


David Foreman

David Foreman

Dave is the MD at Toast and has been working on branding, creative and web development projects for over 25 years. He's a founding member of Toast and enjoys a good rant.