Rebrand vs. Redesign–What’s the difference?

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Rebrand vs. Redesign–what’s the difference?

Whenever a potential client approaches me with the statement, “We just need a new website,” or “We need a redesign,” I can’t help but cringe a little. The reason behind my reaction? I can’t help but equate it to putting lipstick on a farm animal – a futile endeavor that wastes time, effort, and money.

The idea that an organization would entertain the thought of rebrand vs. redesign without conducting competitive research, SEO analysis, and formulating a comprehensive positioning and messaging strategy seems preposterous. Aesthetics alone cannot carry the weight of a brand.

Sure, your new website may be “pretty,” but… 

  • Is it resonating with the right audience? 
  • Does it communicate a compelling message that attracts and retains your prospective customers? 
  • Does it showcase the exact mix of products and services your target customers desire? 

If you’re struggling to answer these questions (or worse) if you’re not entirely sure who your ideal customer is — then why are you focusing on making things “pretty”? Remember, you have a mere five seconds to capture and retain anyone’s interest on your website, and without a clear direction, you might end up attracting all the wrong customers.

At our firm, we only engage in website development as part of a larger branding, messaging, and positioning initiative. We don’t offer websites “a la carte” or as standalone projects. Why, you ask? Because we’ve noticed while clients may initially think they just need a new website, they often realize their messaging is outdated, irrelevant, or untimely. They haven’t done the necessary research or analysis.

When you’re meticulous about your positioning and messaging, everything else naturally falls into place. A strong brand line, often referred to as a tagline, succinctly and unambiguously communicates what your organization does, offers, and stands for. If it fails to do so, your marketing partner or the internal brainstorming sessions you’ve held haven’t delivered the goods.

Consider the following brand lines we crafted for our clients, which should help illustrate this concept:

The Phoenix Center: Preparing students for life outside the classroom

Number8: The Americas’ Best Software Development Consultants

Cohere: Cyber Security*Compliance* Managed IT

2050 Partners: Decarbonization Experts

LSTA: Advancing the Corporate Loan Market

EIMC: Global Supply Chain Experts

ACS: Commercial & Residential Flooring Specialists

Austin-GIS: Digital Transformation-as-a-Service

onDemandCMO: Insightful & Impactful Marketing

On a side note, onDemandCMO just underwent its own rebranding… take a look. It identifies the important stuff: what we do, who we do it for, how we do it, and makes it easy to check out our content/philosophy by downloading a free eBook. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. It’s something the sweet spot clients we serve appreciate because their products and services are complex. Therefore, we provide value out of the gate. We’ll both know if we are a fit for one another after you spend any time on the site.

The next time someone in your organization says, “We JUST need a redesign” or “We just need a website,” ask yourself whether they have accounted for the other aspects of the rebranding process I’ve outlined above. 

At the end of the day, I’m reminded of two apt adages: “There are no shortcuts” and the French expression, “On ne fait pas d’omelette sans casser des œufs” (You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs). So, go ahead, do the right thing, and commit to a holistic rebranding strategy. You’ll be pleased with the results.

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