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 and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.