Oct 20, 2023 | Branding

Written by Stephany Damyanova

Rebranding, Halloween, and Google’s genius


As I write this, we’re more than halfway through October, AKA, the month of spooky things and makeovers. And talking about transformations, I realised that Halloween has a lot in common with the rebrands I’ve worked on so far.

It’s an odd comparison, I agree, but hear me out before you roll your eyes – rebranding is fun, creative and satisfying, but it’s also terrifying for clients and agencies alike. Look at my educational Venn Diagram for scientific proof:

And that’s not the only common ground rebrands share with Halloween. Just like you can’t keep wearing the same costume year after year, you can’t keep your branding for a decade and expect to captivate new audiences. Trends change, customers have short attention spans, and to keep them interested, you need to refresh your brand’s disguise every now and then.


Being Memorable vs. Staying Relevant

Customers need to remember you, which requires consistency. But you also need to impress them, which means you need to stand out. It’s not an easy act to balance.

While change is good, changing brands like Halloween costumes is not a sustainable solution, nor is it a cost-efficient one. What you can do, however, is build a brand with character and a visual language that can grow alongside your business.

One of the best examples of this is Google’s branding, a simple colour-based brand design that extends to their entire product suite.

It’s a genius design because it can work with any shape, icon, and topic while remaining consistently on-brand. And I doubt anyone will be able to see these exact 4 colours and think of anything but Google for the foreseeable future.

Moreover, Google has updated its branding several times without completely changing it thanks to the simplicity behind it:

How to be like Google (on a budget)

While most businesses don’t have Google’s profits or skilled in-house creatives, it’s still possible to create a lasting and versatile brand that people remember.

Rebranding is not just about changing your logo or colour scheme, it’s about defining your identity and perception to current and new clients. Let’s look at 10 of the key steps to a successful rebrand.


1. Define Your Rebranding Objectives

Start by identifying clear, measurable objectives for your rebrand. Consider what you want to achieve, whether it’s expanding your services, targeting a new market, or refreshing your image.

A rebrand isn’t necessarily just a visual change – sometimes it’s about communicating better or even changing how you do things on a large scale.


2. Know Your Audience

Just like you can’t show up to a Game of Thrones themed Halloween party dressed like Harry Potter, you can’t build a brand that has nothing in common with your customers. While you may think bright yellow and cartoons look great, they might not be the best fit for, say, a legal consultancy business.

Understanding your target audience is crucial. Rebranding should resonate with your clients, contractors, and even stakeholders. And while traditional marketing research is essential, it’s also worth looking for insights in some unconventional places.

Scour competitor reviews for key insights into pain points, dive into subreddits where your audience posts to see how they speak, and talk to your current clients to see what’s working and what’s not. This will help you immeasurably in defining your brand’s voice and personality.


3. Revisit Your Core Values

Your company’s core values and mission should be the foundation of your rebrand. Ensure that your brand’s new identity aligns with these values to maintain authenticity.

We all start with a certain perception of the business we’re creating, but it’s not always where we end up. As time goes on, your values may have changed – look back and evaluate what you stand for, then embed it in your brand communications.


4. Create a Unique Brand Identity

Your logo, colours, and visual elements should represent your company’s personality and values. I recommend working with a professional designer to create a unique and memorable visual identity.

Even if you have an in-house design team, it’s worth outsourcing this task. A designer who’s spent months or years working on your brand may struggle to come up with fresh ideas.


5. Craft a Consistent Message

Develop a clear and compelling message that communicates your ethos, values, and benefits to your target audience. This message should be consistent across all marketing materials.

If your industry allows you to be a bit more creative, try to build a story around your brand. It doesn’t always have to be real, it just needs to be immersive. Check out this analysis of The Rochambeu Club’s branding to see what I mean.


6. Website and Online Presence

Update your website and online profiles to reflect your new brand. If you’re doing a complete rebrand, always rebrand your website as well – you’d be shocked at how many businesses don’t do this. Don’t overlook your website’s copy either, if you’ve changed your brand voice in other comms, you need to change it on your website as well.


7. Content Marketing

Create high-quality content that showcases expertise in your industry. Blogs, videos, and case studies can establish your brand as an authority in the field.

If there is a knowledge barrier to entry in your industry, focus your strategy on educational content to brand yourself as a thought leader in your industry.


8. Public Relations

Circling back to Halloween, what’s a great costume without a costume competition to dominate? If you’re investing this much time, money, and effort into a rebrand, you need people to know about it. Reach out to local media and industry-themed publications to promote your rebrand and share your success stories.


9. Employee Engagement

Keep your team informed and involved in the rebranding process. They are your brand’s ambassadors and should be aligned with your brand’s new identity. Don’t forget to design a custom LinkedIn cover for every employee with your new branding and ask them to share the news on their profile.


10. Monitor and Adjust

Regularly evaluate your rebranding efforts to ensure they are delivering the desired results. Be ready to adjust your strategy based on feedback and performance data. I recommend investing in software like HotJar that can help you understand how users navigate your website and easily get feedback.


To sum it all up…

As we reflect on the (I’ll admit, slightly far-fetched) parallels between rebranding and Halloween costumes, it’s clear that change is not only necessary but can be a thrilling opportunity for businesses. Google’s example of iconic and adaptable branding gives businesses of all sizes a blueprint of how a brand can gracefully evolve while staying true to its identity.

So, if (and when) you embark on your own rebranding adventure, remember that embracing creativity and transformation can help your brand not only endure but thrive in an ever-changing market.

Be strategic, but also have fun with it – even the most serious and boring of topics can be creative. I’ll leave you with this beautiful campaign capturing a local bowls club in Kent. If you need to know anything about me, it’s that I think bowls is the dullest thing on earth. Like, worse than watching-paint-dry-dull. And yet this campaign made it look quirky, heart-warming, and even a *tiiiny* bit fun.


PS: Have you heard of Google Freightgeist?

Part of what makes Google’s branding so powerful is turning the data they gather into micro-interactions with their audience. Check out how they’ve reverse-engineered the most popular Halloween costume searches in the US into a map of trending costumes by area.

About the Author

Stephy is a copywriter and digital marketing consultant, as well as the co-founder of The Marketing Bureau. She writes about all things web and content-related and shares tips from the trade to help small business owners and entrepreneurs grow their online presence.

Need help with your branding?

We’ve worked with lots of small businesses to create powerful brands that leave a lasting impression. Book a free consultation with us to chat about what you have in mind and how we can help you achieve it.

Need help with your branding?

We’ve worked with lots of small businesses to create powerful brands that leave a lasting impression. Book a free consultation with us to chat about what you have in mind and how we can help you achieve it.

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