27 April 2020 | 13 Comments
This is a bit of a weird topic for me to write about, as I haven’t ever rebranded a company, nor do I have any plans to rebrand Stonemaier Games. But I find the idea of rebranding interesting, and it was recently brought to my attention by Cody at Gold Nugget Games, as it’s something he’s considering.
What Is Rebranding?
In general terms (I’ll get more specific in a moment), rebranding is the process of changing or refining your brand identity. This often manifests in a new logo, slogan, or even a new name.
When to Consider Rebranding?
There are a variety of possible reasons; I’ll name just a few of them here:
- If your original branding is outdated as compared to your current identity. Sometimes companies become more focused over time (see Overworld Game’s rebranding to Pull the Pin Games); other times they grow to include product categories that weren’t in their original vision (see CMON).
- If your branding is confusing. Do people know what you’re selling based on your name or logo?
- If your current graphic design isn’t ideal for retail shelf presence. That was the impetus for Pandasaurus’ rebranding.
- If you spent too little time or money on the original and now you have more resources at your disposal. Stonemaier Games would fall into this category. We started the company in 2012 with a $2400 investment in art and graphic design (mostly for Viticulture, but also for the logo). I actually like our logo–Christine has touched it up over the years–but it’s always bothered me a little bit that the company acronym is SM instead of SG. It’s not Stone Maier; it’s Stonemaier Games.
- If your original branding is now offensive, inappropriate, or offputting in modern times. There may have been a time when the name Washington Redskins was politically correct (I can’t imagine why or when that was okay, though). I struggled to conceive of how that continues to be true. I also wonder if Corona beer will consider rebranding (through no fault of their own).
- If you want to sell merchandise. Plenty of sports franchises update their uniforms and logos every few years, at least partially in the hopes that fans will buy the latest merchandise.
- If you want to hide past mistakes. I won’t use any examples here, but I can think of a few companies that were mired in issues and controversy. Instead of fixing those problems, they simply changed their names.
What Are Some Potential Issues?
- Expense. Paying for graphic design and consulting can be expensive, both in terms of money and time.
- Confusion. Just as rebranding can solve confusion, ineffective rebranding can cause it as well. People who once looked for your brand may no longer recognize it.
- Perception. Your fans may prefer your original branding, so you might get some backlash over the updated version.
- Impact. How many people buy by the brand? Yes, there are amazing fans who closely follow Stonemaier Games and are at least intrigued by every product we release. But for the majority of people, how many of them walk into a game store and say, “Show me everything from Stonemaier Games!” Okay, that’s a bit dramatic–there’s still value in someone realizing that Game A is made by the same company that made Game B.
How to Actually Rebrand?
I came across some articles that describe the process much better than I can, especially given that this is a process I haven’t tried. I’ll link to them below:
- The Ultimate Guide to Successfully Rebranding in 2020 (Top tip: “Take a look at who’s actually buying from you–and who they’re buying from, instead of you. Comparing this against your initial target market and audience might reveal some stark differences.”)
- The 8 Must-Follow Rules for Rebranding Your Company (Top tip: “Give your brand a story. Find out what makes your product resonate with your audience.”)
- How to Rebrand: 19 Questions to Ask Before You Start (Top tip: “If we were starting our business today, would this be the brand solution we would come up with?”)
- Rebranding Is More Than a New Logo and Some Marketing. Here’s What You Should Expect (Top tip: “Saying you provide outstanding quality is a waste of time unless you actually provide outstanding quality. Do that, and your company’s brand speaks for itself.”)
Have you observed or participated in a rebranding? What did you learn?
Also read: Picking the Right Name for Your Project
If you gain value from the 100 articles Jamey publishes on his blog each year, please consider championing this content!