We're rebranding our mobile app with a new name and image after 2 years. What should our timeline look like? Are there any pitfalls we should avoid?

The app in question is a consumer-facing app that allows businesses in the hospitality space to sell their products more quickly through an additional sales channel. It has been going for over 2 years and has 10,000+ active users. It is also strong in Google search and has a strong social media base. We have the new brand name and full branding guidelines. We are now looking for advise on a timeline for when things should be done and also on the pitfalls we should watch out for.


Your strategy should encompass at least four components:

(A) Complete Visual/verbal/social/technical audit to find/create needed assets for transition: know which assets need to be retired or replaced and what transitional assets are needed to bridge the gap. Prioritize: not everything always needs to change at once and the more you have the longer it will take or cost. Plan to convert brand book concepts/guidelines into tangible or digital deployables: how much "stuff" do you need?; vendor selection; budgeting; designing production files; ordering; quality assurance etc...

(B) Internal (team) awareness & asset deployment program and monitoring compliance.

(C) External publicity plan: aimed at existing clients & prospects, and any other stakeholders: social networks, media, affiliate partners, etc... Timing should be coordinated with industry / sector calendar (trade shows, if applicable), and major app update for maximum effectiveness. Do you need specialized short term PR/AD help? How can you leverage your 10K+ users to buy in / get the word out?

(D) Technical migration & Monitoring Plan: seo strategy & tracking including all affected url redirects, landing pages, email changes, whatever is affected. Monitoring & analytics to see how effective the transition is (compared to old name stats) and when transitional assets can be retired.

Answered 8 years ago

Then your question is less about what the new brand ought to be and more about how to implement the rebrand during your transitional phase.

Some of your concerns should center around changing the name in social media handles, within your website's domain, and in app store and other listings.

Mainly that's an SEO issue, since back links are affected. So you'll want to talk to an SEO agency with a track record of shepherding websites through domain changeovers. Don't forget about email forwarding, by the way.

Really, changing names online is a common occurrence; and, properly handled, any dip in rankings ought to be minimal and temporary (assuming there is a dip at all). For a well conceived rebrand, the rebound will more than make up for that.

Apart from worrying about search engines, social media profiles, and your various directory listings – which is about as complex as moving from 1 apartment to another – you'll want to think about human customers.

Naturally, you'll want to inform them about your rebrand. Timing that is important. So is spin. A name and image change by itself is disruptive. People who think they know you already must be convinced to meet you afresh. It's important to persuade them that this transformation is a justifiable improvement and that it signals improvements for them as well. I recommend including your audience in the transition and leveraging the rebrand as a PR opportunity.

One last thing ... Before you commit resources and time to the new brand name or fully abandon the old one, talk to someone with naming expertise. Think of it as a home inspection before you sign off on a mortgage and move in. Maybe you already hired a professional, but an independent opinion wouldn't hurt. Probably everything is ok. Still, you never know what little things might cause friction. And having confirmation that everything is ok is worthwhile in its own right.

Honestly, I cannot advise you on the SEO or social media transition. But I can definitely inspect your new brand name before you get underway. Most likely your branding guidelines already include a strategy for pitching the new name to customers new and old, but if there are any gaps in those guidelines I can offer feedback there too.

Answered 8 years ago

Please DM and I'd have some further questions, but I may be able to advise on this.

Answered 8 years ago

Ah the App Market -

There are a few pitfalls too watch out for. Especially because rebranding an app can have a lot of issues - You will most likely lose your search results, and unless you do this properly you will lose most of your active users, and ill be basically starting from scratch.

I have re branded, reskined, and rebuilt hundreds of apps - Specifically Network Booster Pro had 1million+ downloads and we completely updated and rebranded - which was close to starting from scratch.

If you like i can provide you more advice with all your options and the best way for you to make this move with the least amount of problems.

Answered 8 years ago

Rebranding as such does not have a timeline because it all depends on lots of reasons, and your brand is 2 years old so it is very surprising to me that you have 10,000+ visitors and you have decided to rebrand already. You have not given any exact reason for your rebranding, so let me investigate the exact reasons that causes companies to rebrand:
1. Ownership change or restructure: This can include mergers, splits, or leadership changes. A brand is commonly up for review when executives or board members make these types of decisions.
2. Repositioning: Think Old Spice, the men’s grooming brand. You probably can picture their advertisements — a man on a horse, a beacon of masculinity. He is the Old Spice Man (also known as “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”). Old Spice launched the Old Spice Man campaign in the 2000s to appeal to those wanting to be sexy and desirable. If the company brand stayed the way it was in its founding year of 1937, it likely would not see the attention and revenue success it now experiences. So, it chose to reposition itself. Most businesses that rebrand because of repositioning do so to appeal to a different audience or to further promote a particular product or service. That said, it is incredibly challenging and expensive for a large, established company to rebrand. It’s much easier to reposition at an earlier product stage and with a nimbler company.
3. International expansion: When introducing a brand to another country that speaks another language, research is vital. Take for example Uber 2018 rebranding as a part of their global expansion. After traveling abroad to see how the app was being used across the world, they created a logo that would tell a global mobility story, rather than one that focused on cars alone.
4. Improving a reputation: Sometimes companies or products need a makeover after taking a hit to their reputation. While suffering from a negative perception is never ideal, taking charge of it with a rebrand may be the best way to recover.
5. Staying relevant or simplifying: Apple has been around since 1976. People initially knew the tech icon as Apple Computer Company. Not only did it drop “Computer Company” from its name, but it has also undergone several logo redesigns over the years — each simpler than the previous version.
These are the primary causes of rebranding and depending on the number of reasons that you have decided to rebrand upon, it may take 5 months, 8 months, or even a year. As you rebrand keep in mid the following pitfalls:
1. It is more than a name (or logo): Too often, a brand is confused with its physical markers: its logo, name, website, or culture. Slapping a new mascot on your company will not fix all of its problems – and might even make them worse. When the Italian restaurant chain Olive Garden began struggling with sales, it seemed like a perfect time to rebrand. Unfortunately, the new logo came under fire as soon as it was unveiled. Critics argued the new logo did not really fit the company’s existing brand and it failed to tell the company’s story. When we decided to rebrand my company Ciplex to Coplex, we thought long and hard about what the rebrand would really mean for the business. The reason we are rebranding is to change our emphasis to one of co-creation with our clients. We fundamentally believe the client-agency relationship is broken, and we believe the only way to fix this relationship is to foster collaboration. “A brand is a promise a company makes to their consumers,” said Mathew Brian, founder of Mathews Columbus, who recently assisted with the Coplex rebrand. “You are not controlling the conversation from a unique point of view if you have no brand.”
2. Forgetting your market position: You cannot be beholden to the whims of your target market, but you should still understand their lifestyle and what they need and want from your brand. You need to be a leader, but you also must understand how your product or service fits into the life of your consumers. For instance, when Tropicana orange juice rebranded its packaging, customers were irate. Customers complained the new packaging looked too much like a cheap imitation, or a generic store brand, instead of the product they were used to. Tropicana did not understand the emotional connection their customers had to their morning ritual, and how orange juice played a part in their customers’ waking routine. Tropicana was forced to return to its old packaging because it did not fully consider the needs of the market before making the switch.
3. Changing your name… just because: Your name should tell an important story about your company. It is a big part of the reason we decided to change our name to show clients our dedication to a truly collaborative experience. Naming, however, is truly an art form. We live in a world where, Google and Apple are all brand names (some are even being used as a verb, like the act of Googling something).Names can be esoteric, or they can be definitive, and each of those naming strategies comes with its own form of challenge. For instance, for every Apple success story, there is a story like Wesabe. The personal finance app was beaten out by competitor Mint, in part because the name did not tell enough of the company story. Other companies have gotten into trouble by dropping the most important part of their names, like when Pizza Hut briefly began referring to itself as “The Hut.” The company soon learned it was important to keep Pizza in its name, as that was the important part of its brand identity. Unfortunately, naming your company after a concept can also backfire. Credit Karma and other competitors have infiltrated the name with confusion by offering free credit reports in their commercials. If your company’s name can dilute into a general concept, it can be hard to maintain market share.
4. Not doing your homework: Why is the rebrand necessary? What does the new brand say about your company? When Gap tried to rebrand with a new logo, the results were not exactly what it’d anticipated. Not only were consumers not excited about the new brand image, many thought it made the brand look cheap. Before you commit to a costly and labour intensive rebrand, do your homework at every step of the process. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer came up with the new company logo over the course of a weekend, using only three employees and an intern as a sounding board – though it went through a month of teasing various logos before the unveil. It is important to test new brand images and copy to ensure it still works for your audience. While you need to lead, not follow, your market, you should also understand how your company fits into their lifestyle.
5. Following the herd: Your brand should capture a larger conversation your company is trying to have with its market, instead of rebranding to look hip or modern for a certain customer segment. It is important for the company leaders to take control of any rebranding effort and set the agenda from the top. “I think rebranding is much easier top down,” Brian said. “I think leaders should lead. The idea of brand by committee almost always blows up.”
6. Failing to integrate your new brand: Do not just slap a new label on a few things and think you can call it a day. Too many companies ignore systematic integration in favour of a shiny new logo; the rebrand must trickle into every aspect and part of your business. Everything from the financial practices to the HR policies should be measured against the rebranding promise you to have chosen. Too often, companies stop before they have even really begun. They have confused a minor physical brand expression like a logo or motto with the larger promise the rebrand is making to employees, customers, and clients. Look at the rebrand for fast food chain Wendy’s, which has been inconsistently applied in the chain’s restaurants. Go to a Wendy’s today and it is often a hodgepodge of old and new logo and branding materials. If your company is rebranding, commit 100 percent to the effort.
7. Burying the lead: Be authentic to make your brand one to remember. If your company is amazing at something, make this an essential part of your brand. Know what you are good at, what makes your company great, and what differentiates you from the competition. Make sure this is an important part of your brand messaging. “Inauthenticity is the largest rebranding mistake,” Brian said. “When a brand tells you who it is, customers believe it. Don’t pick something you cannot authentically capture at every level of your business.”
Rebranding your company can be a big challenge, but it can also be a huge opportunity to redirect your organization and change your story. If you genuinely believe in your message, keep your brand authentic and avoid these missteps, a successful rebrand is just around the corner. Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 3 years ago

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