Successful Rebranding in 4 Simple Steps Whilst Avoiding Common Pitfalls

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“But is this really me?”

A question you ask yourself every time you go shopping, mulling over a potential new outfit in the mirror. The same goes for that old jumper you find sitting at the back of your wardrobe.

Businesses have to ask themselves the same question: is the image I am projecting really how I want to be perceived?

What is Rebranding?

The marketing world is constantly inventing new terms. Marketing, branding, rebranding, remarketing. It’s hard to keep up. But it’s important to understand the distinctions when building a successful Shopify store.

The Basics


Marketing includes all activities involved in the management process that oversees the move of products and services, from conceptualisation to the customer. Most commonly marketing is understood in terms of the 4 P’s:

  • Product (identification and development)
  • Price 
  • Place (distribution channels)
  • Promotion (anything from social media to word of mouth)


Branding is the activities and processes involved in determining the core, personality and identity of a brand. This includes the development of consistent visual and spoken brand identity through tools such as logos, slogans, colour schemes etc. Branding ensures that your customers can relate to your brand and can differentiate you from your competitors. You want to stand out in the market!

They are all related, but each have very different processes and actions involved.

The Re-Basics


Remarketing is a strategy employed by businesses in response to declining sales. It involves reintroducing a product or service into the market, after it has been improved and upgraded. Remarketing can also be defined as the activities that aim to re-engage customers after they visit a website and don’t perform the desired action. For example, you can use email marketing strategies to troubleshoot abandoned carts on your Shopify Store.


In comparison, re-branding occurs when you reinvent your brand’s image. Similar to tearing down a house and rebuilding it from the ground up. Rebranding involves an overhaul of your entire brand image, whilst staying true to the values your customers know and love you for.

So when a business’ answer is “No” to the question “But is this really me?”, rebranding should be put on the agenda.

When Is Rebranding Necessary?

Rebranding is not an easy feat and shouldn’t be a decision made on a whim. The process includes not only coming up with a new logo and slogan, but making the transition from one brand image to another without alienating your staff or customers. Think carefully about whether a rebrand is really necessary. Situations where you should consider rebranding include:

  • Your audience is changing with time and you need to keep up
  • Your brand fails to connect with ideal customers
  • Your competition is getting ahead of you and stealing a good chunk of your customers
  • Your business is changing and expanding and therefore outgrowing the original brand image
  • Your brand is confusing visitors and customers, or portraying conflicting messages
  • Your brand is not aligned with your values, mission or offering.

If you are struggling with any of the above, rebranding might be the right option for you. However, keep in mind that it doesn’t work if you don’t know what’s gone wrong and why.

Once you’ve decided that your image needs an overhaul, you first need to decide on your goals and the strategies to achieve them. Without a solid execution plan, your rebranding efforts are doomed to fail.

Rebrand Successfully in 4 Simple Steps

Rebranding is tricky, and can be fatal to your business and Shopify store. To avoid common pitfalls, you can follow these 4 simple steps:

1. Brand Challenge and Research

You first need to identify what is broken. Without knowing where your brand is going wrong you can’t fix it. Identify which one of the above points you are experiencing and why.

The importance of including stakeholders in your research

You’ll want to base your rebranding efforts on detailed research. Research can help you find out why your brand isn’t connecting with your audience. It can also help you to then understand what will help you to connect. Research should include both internal and external factors. Speak to your staff, family and friends and get their opinion on what kind of image your brand communicates.

Next, try to understand the market. Ask valued customers what they think about your brand and how you could improve it. A great example to go by is the rebranding efforts of JDate, a dating website for Jewish singles. Once they realised that their brand- founded in 1997- didn’t appeal to the younger generations anymore, they started major rebranding efforts, leading to the “Get Chosen” campaign. As parts of their efforts, they asked the community to get involved by launching a slogan contest. The winning entry from the crowdsourcing campaign, “Find Mr. Right to Left”, highly resonated with their audience and built strong ties between them and the brand.


2. Visual and Narrative Audit

Once you know what went wrong with your brand, you can start to fix it. That doesn’t just mean whacking a new logo on your front door. Both your visual identity, your narrative and your offerings need to be audited. Evaluate what works and what doesn’t and then get a team together to rewrite and redesign based on the research and findings.

Testing, not Guessing

Once you come up with a new message and design, test it with a select group of your target customers. Their feedback is a good indication of public reactions to your make-over and ensures that you won’t end up alienating your loyal customers.

There are a few questions you should ask yourself to ensure your new brand stands the test of time, so you won’t have to start a new rebranding strategy every few years:

  • Does my brand really reflect what I stand for?
  • Will it stay relevant over time?
  • Does it effectively communicate who I am?

If you can confidently answer these questions with a “Yes”, you are ready to start the transition.

3. Develop Supporting Materials

When it comes to branding, consistency is key. You want to make sure that you always use the same guidelines for visuals, narratives and images across all you channels. This way, customers will start to recognise you and will remember you when it comes to the purchasing stage.

No matter how big or small your Shopify store is, invest a little bit of time into creating style rule documentation and supporting materials. This includes guidelines on your colour scheme and logo, as well as the voice and tone of your content. In future, you can always refer back to these when creating new marketing materials and campaigns.

4. Integrate New Brand Identity

When you are happy with your new image and understand exactly how to implement it, it is time to put it out there. Here, it is crucial to ensure a smooth transition between your old and new brand identity. Customers often view consistency as trustworthy, so you don’t just want to shock them with a completely new look and narrative out of the blue. Make sure that you are staying true to the values that your customers know, so that they don’t lose trust in your product or service. It’s still you, just a new and improved version.

The Dos And Don'ts Of Rebranding

Companies are rebranding all the time, some more successfully than others. Each of their success and failure stories are great examples of what to do and what not to do.

The Dos of Rebranding

Focus on your audience and tell a story

We cannot stress the importance of research enough. When it comes to rebranding, really understanding your audience, their pain points, their wishes and desires and their story is key. Finding common ground and being able to relate to your customers is the basis for a successful rebrand.

One of the most successful rebrands was performed by UPS. In the war between UPS and FedEx, they were desperately looking for a way to outshine their competition, and a rebrand helped them get there. They did this by reminding customers how UPS really helps them. By creating ads that included people from all levels of the managerial ladder - such as The Mailroom Guy and the CEO - they showed how UPS relates to all their customers. By telling the story of people in the workplace and at home, no matter their backstory, they were able to reconnect with their audience. And it paid off. UPS started to drive a profit margin that was almost double that of FedEx.

Make your brand relevant and appealing

The world is changing, technology is changing, buying habits are changing, people are changing. To keep up with the times, your brand needs to change. And when that happens, make sure your actions are louder than your words. When you make a bold statement, you need to stand behind it.

And that’s exactly what CVS did. It was the first pharmacy to ban tobacco from its shelf - at the time a revolutionary action. But it paid off. By committing to the mission of contributing to people’s heath, and reflecting this mission in store, CVS gained the loyalty and respect of the public. Even the president applauded them.


Revitalise your brand to reach new audiences

Again, research is key. If you want to extend the reach of your brand and target wider audiences, well-researched rebranding efforts will get you there.

The best example is provided by Old Spice. When the company did their research, they made an astonishing discovery. It is not men who buy men’s products. 60% of men’s body wash is actually purchased by women. Out of this finding, the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign was born, changing the brand's image from a strictly male-focused product to appealing to its female customers.


The Don'ts of Rebranding

Don’t make quick decisions

Rebranding has become a new marketing trend to quickly rebrand your business to increase sales. But most of the time that doesn’t work. Making hasty decisions and rebranding without research and testing is likely to compromise your brand equity and the rapport you’ve build with your customers.

This is a lesson Tropicana Juice learnt the hard way. One day they sporadically decided to change the way their juice cartons look, and not only dropped the old layout, but a good chunk of their customers. A steady brand is associated with a reliable product. Sudden changes aren’t.


Don’t fix it if there’s nothing to fix

Rebranding only works if there is something to fix. Otherwise it simply confuses and alienates your customers.

And that’s what happened to GAP. For unknown reasons they started to change their logo, using a completely new font and layout. The backlash was serious and within a few days, they changed their logo back to the original design. In the end there was nothing wrong with the logo.


Don’t just change your name

Rebranding is not just about changing your logo or coming up with a new name. The process involves a make-over of your entire brand identity- including visual, narrative and product features. A name change won’t do it.

It didn’t for RadioShack. The store was keen to change their image and upgrade from the store that older generations buy their batteries from. So they re-named themselves “The Shack”. And no one could relate. “The Shack” is not a name that is commonly associated with electronics. Maybe a bar on a beach. Or a dodgy pub in the streets of London.


Don’t just focus on revenue

Whilst rebranding often comes with the benefits of increased sales and revenue, it shouldn’t be the sole purpose of your efforts. Your customers will know. They can feel and see if your new brand is simply a tactic in disguise to get more money out of them.

And they picked up on Netflix’s attempt to do just that. When the TV streaming provider announced it wants to split into two services - Netflix and Qwikster - and increase prices by a whopping 60% in the process, people hit the unsubscribe button. 800,000 people hit the unsubscribe button.

Need help with your branding?

Are you starting to wonder “Is this really me?” when looking at your Shopify store? Elkfox is here to help you answer that question. We can support you through your rebranding process and make sure that your Shopify store truly reflects you and your brand. Contact us today.

*Image via Fusion Blog