Rebranding: You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Rebrands can be an exciting, scary and often times necessary “evil”.  It can shake up what you thought was the core of your brand and force you to reevaluate everything from who you were, who you currently are and who you want to be. When a rebrand occurs, sometimes you won’t be ready for it. Heck, you might downright be afraid of it and not willing to embrace it, but something brought you to this point to make you realize that maybe, just maybe, this is necessary.

For me, rebranding is an interesting process. It’s definitely not easy, but it most definitely is fun and a great challenge. You get to tap into creativity and strategy all the while positioning a brand so that it speaks to its past (if it’s worthy of being spoken to), its present and its future. Who doesn’t want a brand that can stand the test of time?

When starting on the path of a rebrand, make sure to keep the following in mind:

1. Position is key.

The first step in the rebranding process is positioning. Positioning aids in identifying an appropriate market niche for your brand and being known for that. Positioning will lead you to create your “brand positioning statement” which is an expression of how your brand fills a particular consumer’s needs and desires. With a brand positioning statement you are telling consumers how to think of you in terms of what category you are in.

2. Who’s your target?

Your positioning will lead you to identifying your target audience. This target audience should encompass your primary and secondary decision-making customers (and influencers) to whom you are trying to sell. Who do you want to sell to and why?

3. It’s key to have keywords in play.

Make a list of words that describe your business and focus on expressing your brand to your target audiences. These words aid in influencing consumers and should be used consistently in training and in internal/external marketing. Keywords keep your brand focused on its identity and maintain that identity in consumer’s minds.

4. It’s all about the experience.

A brand experience statement defines the overall feeling and ideal experience that you want a customer to have when encountering your brand. This statement helps influence the consumer experience and set expectations for how their interaction with your brand will go. Note that planning is only part of this process; it’s up to you and your employees to deliver on that brand experience statement.


Lassie (a 76 year-old brand – 532 in dog years) is a great example of a rebrand initiative that is taking place utilizing some of the steps above. Dreamworks decided that instead of reviving Lassie with a movie or TV show, they would instead rebrand her as a merchandising star and market her to adults as a “national treasure.” As soon as early 2015, you’ll see a large rush of products that all showcase Lassie’s good looks and sweet mane. This is proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks and rebranding can occur at any point in a brand’s life cycle.

Remember, a rebrand signifies change – not only in the look, but also the attitude which is the heart and soul of the brand. So before you can move on with a new look, you must lock down the attitude.

Happy rebranding!


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