8 Bad Reasons to Justify An Association Rebrand

Posted by Kelly Sutter on Apr 23, 2014 12:56:00 PM

Whether it’s a new haircut, outfit or pair of shoes, feeling like you've spruced up your look can feel good. And it can feel tempting to think we might feel the same way by updating the look of our organization through rebranding.

As a marketer for about a decade, I've heard a lot of scary reasoning behind both clients’ and peers’ decisions to rebrand - everything from “it’s just time” or “I’m bored with the current brand,” to “a competitor recently rebranded.” However, it is important to realize that regardless of whether or not it feels like the time is right, the choice to launch a brand identity overhaul is an all-encompassing process that should be done for the right reasons.  With this in mind, you and your team need to be able to identify both the good and the bad decisions in order to ensure you are making a choice that is in the best interest of your organization. 

Here are 8 Bad Reasons to Rebrand:


  1. Your boss/board/sales team doesn’t like your current brand. This alone isn't a good reason to rebrand because those within your organization are usually not your target audience. If you’re getting complaints internally, ask questions. What is it that they don’t like? How do they feel the current brand is not working for members? Get to the root of their issue before considering a rebrand.
  2. Leadership change. Sometimes when a new executive joins the organization, they immediately want change. But if you aren't changing the purpose or value proposition of your organization, you probably don’t need to rebrand.
  3. Your brand is “old.” It is possible for a brand to feel worn-out and seem tired. But rather than doing a complete rebrand, you may be able to reinvigorate your brand without throwing it all away. A few modern tweaks to your logo, website and collateral materials can go a long way.
  4. You think that rebranding is just a new logo. When rebranding is done right, it takes significant time and resources. It’s more than just a logo; it’s what people think of when they hear your name. A logo is what people see, but a brand exists in peoples’ minds. Simply changing a logo will have very little impact in the minds of your members; however, updating your brand and its identity will have an immense and lasting impact. Rebranding is likely something you can’t do internally and can get expensive. Be sure you understand the rebranding processes and have the resources to commit to it. Also, don’t forget about each internal and external element that a rebrand will affect. Everything from communicating the new brand to your members to business cards to your website will need to be updated in order to keep your imagery, voice and personality consistent.
  5. You’re looking for a change that will fix your internal issues. If your organization has a lot of internal issues, sometimes you’re just looking for something to blame. But if you try to portray your organization as something that it’s not, existing members and prospective members will see right through it. Get your internal issues worked out and be authentic. Your organization needs to be healthy on the inside before even considering a rebrand.
  6. You just want a change. If your brand is an accurate reflection of what you do, and members like/understand what you represent, there likely isn’t a reason to make a change. Consider if and how your organization needs to evolve before actually making a change.
  7. You think your members will easily follow you through a rebrand. If you make a change, you’re going to have significant work to do when it comes to your membership. They know you for who you are now and a rebrand can cause confusion as well as members feeling as though you are no longer a good fit for them. What your members will think should be at the forefront of your rebranding efforts. Never lose sight of how this will affect them, and the communication efforts you’ll need to retain them.
  8. Everyone else is doing it. Just because a similar association rebranded or a big company’s rebrand recently made the news, doesn't mean a rebrand is right for you.


The bottom line? Rebranding takes time, planning and a significant amount of research and resources. If you think your organization needs a new brand identity, make sure to justify your reasoning before you make the hefty investment.  


Topics: Association Marketing Strategy