Branding is creating a representation of your business. Building your identity as a company, one that aligns your customer with what you do. Every business, including those who don’t think they have a brand, has a brand. Your name, the colours you use, your visual consistency or inconsistency are part of your brand.
Re-branding is similar to the above, but you change or build upon an existing brand instead of creating from scratch.
What is best? Start with a DIY brand and re-rebrand later, or start with a good brand from the start.
This is a tricky question because, as a brand designer, I am bias to think from scratch is always best because it will save time, brand equity and money in the long run. However, when you start a business, you might not have a budget for branding. Really all roads lead to Rome, but let’s see each case’s pros and cons and then decide whether one approach is better than another. Having said that, I re-branded my business from Pixel and ink to Narcis.
Branding Pros and Cons
The main advantage of branding from scratch is that you start clean. You can build the identity without patching solutions. You can start creating a visual and strong brand from day one. You save time when creating content because you know your fonts, colours and look and feel.
I have to say, there aren’t many cons. A big chunk of money from day one would be most likely the biggest challenge. You might not have defined your business thoroughly. So that branding might be a challenge.
Re-branding Pros and Cons
You will have had time to define your business and profiled your customer much better than at the beginning. You can use the chance to announce and build buzz when you launch the new brand (e.g. PR campaigns). You can start building a new reputation.
The main challenge is money, but you lose part of your old brand’s legacy and heritage. Your customer loyalty might get compromised. That is why you need a launch campaign, which means money. Cost a lot of money and time to redesign all the assets to the new brand.
As you see, the answer is not straight forward.
The actual cost is difficult to justify because the return on investment is not as easy as 1+1=2, as the other business variables are part of the equation. What I can guarantee is that branding adds to the odds. Having a brand that makes you look professional and believable as a business helps you to bring money. A brand will empower you as director or founder to speak with authority. It will also help customers and employees to feel part and proud of the brand, making them ambassadors.