Your brand’s identity is used by your audience to make a judgment of your business. What you stand for, what you offer, your core values – these important factors are communicated through your brand and align to your audiences’ needs. That is why it’s so important to ensure your business is accurately reflected online.
Over time, things can change. Markets fluctuate, business moves in a new direction, objectives are updated, new products or services are released, consumer behaviour evolves. In some cases, rebranding is something that needs to happen every to ensure your identity remains aligned to what you do.
Rebranding can be a complex process, but when done effectively with a framework and strategy in place, it can reap huge rewards.
In this blog, we look at:
- The difference between a rebrand, a rebuild and a redesign
- How a rebrand affects your site
- Five considerations before you rebrand
- How an agency can support your project
Rebrand, redesign or rebuild?
While there is a relationship between a rebrand, a rebuild and a redesign, each means something different, and they can exist in isolation too. It’s therefore important to understand the difference:
A rebrand considers the bigger picture. It’s about the business itself including what you do, what you stand for, why you exist, your core values and how you communicate this to your audience. With so much to consider, a rebrand is usually a full-scale transformation to give the brand a new identity.
Following a rebrand, you will likely need to redesign your site to accommodate the new branding. But this doesn't always mean you need to rebuild your website.
A rebuild is usually required when you need a new website or something substantial on your website needs changing. This could also include new technology needs, experiencing technical debt, reoccurring site stability issues, performance problems or even restricted functionality.
For example, you may have recognised that different functionality is required, your website is going to play a different role in the wider business, or how your audience interacts with your site has changed. It’s important to note that you don’t need to have had a rebrand to require a rebuild.
A redesign is essentially updating only your visual presence across your platforms. This means it could exist within the confines of your existing branding or a redesign could be required as a result of a rebrand in order to communicate the new visual identity and positioning online.
There are other occurrences which can cause a redesign to be needed. For example, if you’re rebuilding your website because the need of your site has changed and it requires new functionality, this will likely force a redesign to accommodate these changes and do it justice. Equally, if you’ve rebranded, you’ll need to roll out these changes online. This could be as simple as reskinning the site such as changing colours and logos or it could warrant a full redesign.
It's important to understand the variations between these three as each involve different elements and the scale of the project can vary. Before continuing, it’s critical to define what your business needs your website to do, or you can lean on the support of an agency to get to the bottom of what this could be.
Digital UX Designer, Kelly Smith, shares further insight:
“If your brand is starting to look a bit outdated and needs a refresh but your website is still fit for purpose and performs well, a redesign is most likely the best path for you.
On the other hand, a rebrand can reflect overarching changes to your business such as your company mission, your goals and the way you communicate with your audience. If you get to a point where you think your audience isn’t getting from you what they need anymore, this is the time to start considering a full rebrand project which can sometimes bring about the need for a rebuild.”
Why do you think you need to rebrand?
Rebranding is a major undertaking that involves your whole business. It will affect your target audience, your existing customers, your employees and your company.
That’s why it’s crucial to understand exactly why you want to rebrand.
There are several reasons why you may decide to rebrand. These could include but are not limited to:
- You’re heading into a large period of business change
- You want to change the perception of your organisation
- A new member has joined the senior management team and brought fresh ideas
- The business goalposts have changed
- You want to target a new market and need to be equipped for a new territory
- The current brand is or outdated and no longer reflects your business
While a rebrand will heavily focus on the way your website looks, it goes much further than simply considering the design of your site. These factors will be uncovered during a research and discovery phase.
Website considerations before you rebrand
It’s not uncommon for businesses to forget about their website as part of their rebrand project. More often than not, the website is considered as part of the implementation of the rebrand. However, we’ve seen value in considering your website as part of the whole rebrand process.
While we’re not a rebranding agency, we have plenty of experience working with branding agencies to support businesses throughout their rebrand project. Bringing your web agency into these conversations earlier and considering your website in the early days of your project can be hugely beneficial to your business.
However, big projects have big impacts, so before jumping in, we recommend taking the time to consider some important questions.
1) What do you need your website to do for your business?
This starts with understanding what you need your website to do for your business.
Is your current website doing the job it needs to do? Can users understand who you are at first glance? Does your brand create a memorable impression that will stick with the visitor?
Asking questions like these will help you understand where you want to be and then we can figure out how to get there. At this point, it’s also a good idea to start thinking about what areas of your business will be impacted alongside the cost and potential disruption of these changes.
2) Who are your users?
Before heading into a rebrand, consider those who are of high importance to your business. The users of your site, both internal and external, are crucial to success and their needs should be considered as early as possible to inform changes.
Get to know your users, their motivations, their frustrations and the actions they currently take onsite to map key user journeys for each user group. We also recommend learning more about your internal users to help your rebrand project create the best user experience possible for all.
3) What are your long-term goals?
Long-term goals impact what you need from your website and can steer your rebranding project. There’s no point investing time and money into a solution that will only support you in the short term. Your website should support your business today and over the coming years.
4) What technology do you need?
A rebrand is an ideal time to consider your website as a whole including the technology you use. Is your CMS platform doing what you need it to do on both an external and internal level? Is it still supporting you in reaching your objectives?
For example, if it’s difficult for an internal team to update the website on a regular basis, this may make you reconsider the platform and website as a whole. In some cases, business goals change, and a move from a brochureware website to an eCommerce website may be the answer which will most likely trigger a rebuild project.
When it comes to considering your technology, it’s important to think about your digital ambitions and how your CMS is going to support you in reaching your goals. It’s important to choose technology that is right for your business. Prematurely committing to a technology only to find yourself unable to move away from it in the future could put you in a tricky scenario.
Talking to NetConstruct’s Managing Director, Jonathan Healey, he shared his words of wisdom on why this part of your project is so important to get right and how a web agency can support you:
“For us, an ideal scenario is to be able to work alongside the client through a discovery phase - whether that’s purely to decide the CMS or a wider discovery phase to work out what the right approach is.
During this process, we look at what the business objectives are for the next three to five years. Where is the business going? How is the business changing? We look at their current state of technologies, their future aspirations and how we can meet those future aspirations from a website point of view. Ultimately, how do we select a product that meets both the now and the future? As you look at these requirements, the technology choice may well change.”
5) Have you got a project team in place?
As a rebrand is a significant undertaking, it’s crucial to have a dedicated project team in place. Put together an internal team who can focus on the project and work alongside an agency if this is the route you choose.
Having an internal team to support the project will help to ensure you get the best value for your money, timeframes stay on track and the project ultimately meets your objectives.
How we can support you
A common misconception is that if you need a rebrand, you need a new website. But this isn’t always true. While design is one of the core aspects of a rebrand, the most critical work is done before the new designs are even created, during the research and discovery phase.
What you think you need to do and what you actually need to do don’t always align. Perhaps you don’t need that new website and instead, new content and a redesign to reflect the new branding will do the job. This is where a research and discovery phase can add real value.
“The main reason why we spend so much time on the research and discovery phase is to let the client come to us and share their thoughts on what they want to do. We can then dig deeper, do various workshops and research exercises to create a solid direction of what actually needs doing.” - Kelly Smith, Digital UX Designer, NetConstruct
Discovering what makes your business and customers tick, we conduct a number of workshops to help us understand your audience, your business and your technology. This allows us to create a strategy that will deliver the ideal solution. These include:
- Kick-off workshop
- Aims and objectives workshop
- Competitor analysis
- Stakeholder interviews
- Persona workshop
- Content audit
- User interviews
- Remote usability review
The research and discovery phase can ultimately impact your whole project, helping you understand exactly what you need whether that’s a rebrand, a redesign or a rebuild.
Supporting Salary Finance through their rebrand
Having recently undergone a large rebrand exercise, Salary Finance wanted to gain a deeper understanding of their users to create a website that better reflected their business. We tackled the design and build of their new site alongside completing substantial user research to craft true to life personas which could be used to support their onsite brand messaging.
Implementing a heavy research and discovery phase, we really got to grips with who Salary Finance is and their audience. The user research further evolved their new brand and informed the onsite design. Bright, friendly illustrations created with Salary Finance’s graphic design agency reflect the persona research and were placed at the forefront of the new site’s design.
Successfully launching a site which embodies the new Salary Finance brand, their B2C audience now benefits from an easy to navigate, simple user journey which has delivered impressive results. To read about the project in more depth, take a look at our full case study.
Our team of in-house designers are well equipped to translate your needs into an ideal solution. If you want to find out more about the way we work through our projects or need advice on what to do next, don’t hesitate to contact our team.