Transitioning Brand Identity Intelligently

Brand transitioning
So you have pulled the trigger on meetings to upgrade and transition your old and tired brand identity. You wade through drafts and revisions of fonts, colors, wireframes and logos to find the ideal, on-point brand that will transport your business sales to a new level. What happens next will make or break your equestrian brand.

Gain Understanding
When transitioning to a new brand identity, explaining the WHY to your customers is the most important ingredient to launch success and understanding. You’ll need to deftly sidestep confusion. We’ve all seen changes in well-known brands that may or may not have made sense. Usually there is some sort of restructuring or acquisition that takes place that requires an overhaul. Maybe your identity was created in-house without the help of design professionals in 1997. There are plenty of reasons to do a rebrand, but be clear why the change is occurring.

Internally, your new rollout may meet resistance with the old guard that has lived and breathed the original brand for years and doesn’t understand the need to transform and grow with the growth of the company. Change can be hard and some will get on board immediately, some won’t and a few will decide it’s not important to what they do. Plan to spend some time talking with people that are outward facing prior to the relaunch so that they are able to intelligently field questions.

Externally, you will find the same range of reactions within your customer base from those that don’t care, all the way to loyal customers that may be fairly noisy about their opinions. You won’t make everyone happy and you’ll need to be ok with that response. Be prepared to logically address all of this feedback.

If you are having trouble explaining the reason for the rebrand, you may have wasted resources for the sake of new and shiny.

The Timeframe

Mapping out how your rollout will occur, especially working with a well-known name, will be key to gaining understanding and acceptance. Small, local brands can do with a shorter transition time. Your timeline will control how much happens and when. Don’t forget that it’s not just the date that you start using the new look, you will need to determine when to replace business cards, change and reprint product collateral, make website updates, update trade show booth and swag, changes to labels, packaging, invoices, stationary, store signage and so forth.

You will need to balance the need to spread out the spend to minimize budget impact and conflicting materials that should not be seen at the same time.

Done poorly without flushing old materials can damage your efforts, looks sloppy and risks brand confusion.

If you work with distributors or sales reps, don’t forget them during this process. They’ll need a heads-up shortly before the announcement and will likely need replacement materials from you.

The Reveal

So much marketing is finding a reason to reach out to your customer base. Depending on the size and scope of the changes required and the size of your company, you’ll need to sort out if this is a one-time announcement, 3-4 month timeframe, or in some cases will need a year to 18 months of smaller adjustments to clarify relationships within a larger organization or umbrella corporation. Whatever your situation, your decision should be an informed one.

Knowing why you are going through this valuable process, getting your internal team on board, and having a solid plan to unveil the new identity, will bring this to conclusion with success.



Amanda MacDonald, Owner/PrincipalAs a life-long equestrian, I understand the importance of keeping our horses healthy, happy and well-appointed. And with over 15 years of experience in marketing, I can help you to translate that shared goal into a brand that drives sales. I’ve mastered marketing strategy, branding, website production and digital media marketing, and led successful teams to bring it all together.  So it’s a pleasure to offer my services and knowledge to those who make my life more enjoyable, and to bring new products and services to others to keep our horses happy and healthy. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn!