It’s a new year and many people might be considering shaking things up with new branding. Clients usually come to PR firms, especially around this time of year, for help creating a new logo and developing a new brand identity. While it might seem new and exciting, there are times when changing your branding might not be a great idea. Here are four reasons why rebranding can be a bad idea:

“Just because” is not a good reason

Companies sometimes just get tired of their logo and branding so they think it’s time for a fresh look. However, if you don’t have data to support your decision then, “just because” doesn’t seem like a great reason. Creating a strong, trusted and recognizable brand takes a lot of time and effort, and therefore making a change can be harmful to the relationship that your brand has built with its customers.

Before making this decision, analyze your current position and customer attitudes towards your branding. Use research to determine how customers feel about your business and use those findings to decide whether it’s time for a change.

Risking brand equity

When you change a brand logo and identity, you are risking elements that connect your brand to its customers. A good logo and brand identify invokes positive experience and expectations from customers. Our brain is geared towards shortcuts, so a logo can be a shortcut to a symbol that customers relate to and find comfort in.

The familiarity and comfort that customers equate with a brand logo and identity helps customers choose your product or service. However, changing your branding can disrupt this connection as a result of both conscious and subconscious reactions.

Loss of loyalty

Once you’ve developed a connection with your customers through your brand, it leads to a relationship based on trust and loyalty. However, when you change your branding, customers will question why you did so. A good example is when GAP changed its very familiar logo, there were a lot of unhappy customers who felt betrayed by the company. The company suffered as a result and quickly abandoned its new logo. Even after backtracking, customer loyalty wasn’t fully restored.

“Lack of publicity” is not a good reason

If you’re business is not getting a lot of publicity and you want to create some buzz, then that’s not a good reason to rebrand. This strategy can sometimes backfire as rebranding sometimes doesn’t create much news at all unless you’re a big organisation and on top of that, there is also the risk of backlash, which happens in many cases of rebranding.

That said, there are many good and valid reasons to change your branding. Maybe your branding doesn’t accurately reflect your company’s business and purpose anymore or maybe you’ve gone through a restructuring or merger that requires rebranding efforts. When required and necessary, rebranding efforts can be a great way to boost your company.

-5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.