Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Crafting a new brand identity can be an exciting and fear-provoking initiative. A brand identity is defined as the way in which an organization presents itself to the public through visual elements (typography, color palettes, icons, images, etc.) that come together to create a distinctive image in the minds of consumers and clients.
Branding is an important component of any organization. But, how do you know when it is time for a rebrand? A rebrand is not only about updating visual components of an organization, but it is also about maintaining the voice and personality of the original identity. It can be a tricky process, but it can also be an exciting new avenue of creative expression.
Below, you will find a rebrand case study of a tech startup.
Towards the end of 2022, I began working on a rebrand of a fairly new organization. The tech startup had been around for a few years, and through their change of leadership they were motivated to update their brand identity.
The goal was to take the existing brand and modernize the visual components as well as re-launch their entire website. The original branding consisted of two different logos, no distinct color palette, mismatched typographies, and no consideration for the user experience on their website. The look and feel of everything was that of a share drive where information was offloaded without branding consideration.
Honestly speaking, it took time to figure out how to position everything and work towards creating a new, modern, and sleek feel with a pop of vibrant color. Working with a team of web developers and designers, we created a strategy that completely transformed the brand of the organization while staying true to its core identity.
A Step-by-Step Discussion of the Results
Although everything was worked on simultaneously, the logo was the first piece of the puzzle. The organization had two different logos that they were using interchangeably. As organizations grow and develop, they can have different logos, but the logos need to connect seamlessly with one another in the eyes of consumers and clients. The problem here was that the two logos were completely different and were used interchangeably throughout the business. To create a more modern logo that paid homage to the original two, we merged the two logos together and flipped their designated icon to create a more modern illusion.
After the logo, we focused on the color palette. Originally, the brand would stick to black and white, with shades of dark blue here and there. We decided to bring a pop of vibrant color while staying true to the original dark blue. Our palette focused on a deeper hue of blue with hints of purple as the primary color along with a medium purple, dark green, and light green as accent colors for depth and vibrance.
For the typography, we stayed true to the original typography but added a few different fonts to create a more modern feel. The font families we paired were Sans Serif and Serif. The fonts we chose were PT Serif, Roboto, and Open Sans.
To bring everything together, we had to create a new user experience for the website. This is where we created a new content hierarchy to strategically arrange information with the most important information emphasized with designated headers up top while other information was displayed less prominently towards the bottom. We also arranged the navigation menu in a way that made sense for users as well as strategically linked important content throughout different webpages for ease of use.
Refreshing the Core: Moving Past the Visual
Although the visual elements of a brand are important for customers and clients to distinguish one brand from another, it also becomes important to re-evaluate the core of the brand. The core of the brand consists of the mission, positioning, tagline, core values, brand personality/voice, and value proposition.
To deliver a consistent brand across all the various customer/client touch points, it is important to clearly understand the purpose of the organization, what they are offering, how their offering benefits their target audience, and how an interested person can get the offering. Assuming a startup or a new company already has their mission, personality, value proposition and so forth, refreshing this content will focus on simplifying it.
The more complicated or complex an organization’s mission is, the harder it is for the common person to understand. Some organizations have very complex missions because they offer their products or services to a specific niche. But, simplifying a complex idea will make the organization’s purpose easier to understand and the mission much more memorable and effective.
To refresh the core of a business, you need to first understand how everything works. You will need to take a deep dive into the organization, but the outcome will be positive. For example, the tech startup that I worked on had a very complex mission because they were offering their services and products to a very specific niche. Furthermore, that niche consisted of very intellectual individuals that could understand the mission and vision of the startup. That’s perfectly fine when a startup is just launching and it wants to target that specific group. But, as the startup grows and expands their offerings, it becomes more important to simplify those complex ideas. This is important not only for the external audience of the organization, but also for the internal audience of employees that might find it difficult to explain what they do to other colleagues.
We decided to first understand the company, diving all the way back to the purpose of its founding. We simplified the mission and made it more specific so that everyone that crossed the various touch points could understand their purpose and what they offer. To take things a step further, we also simplified the mission statement to one sentence that could be displayed on all social media channels. While their longer mission statement lives on their website and print materials, the shorter mission statement can be used on social media. The one-sentence mission is also beneficial for their employees to simplify the complexity of the business when they are speaking about it to others.
After the mission statement, value proposition, core values, and brand personality are established, the copywriting will be much easier for those creating the marketing content. It might take a few rounds of editing and speaking to all stakeholders, but it is all a part of the process. After everything is set and approved, the final step is to create a brand style guide that the company can use moving forward to ensure their branding remains consistent. A brand style guide will be very useful as the organization continues to grow and expand their marketing departments or when hiring consultants to help with their marketing.
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