Michael Halligan

When is it the best time to rebrand a start-up?

I’m not sold on our business’ name or logo. Should I wait for it to become established and then make the switch, bringing customers with me, or should I do it while not many people know about us yet?

It’s funny how quickly we can fall out of love with a business name or logo that took us weeks to put together. Once you’ve decided that a new name or logo is what your business needs, it’s hard to hold off launching straight into it.

There are four key reasons why it’s best to make the transition sooner rather than later:

1. It prevents confusion once people know the existing brand


Unless you’re a big brand with a big budget to match, it’s hard to let everyone know of your rebranding. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on ads to prepare the market, you’re bound to have customers searching for your old business name, unaware of the change.


2. Limits cost from purchasing all new signage and materials


Well-established businesses are likely to have invested in a great deal of signage, corporate stationery and promotional products. Finalising your name and logo early allows the luxury of purchasing without fear of making thousands of dollars worth of branded materials obsolete.


3. Get a head start with your SEO


It can be a nightmare changing established domain names that have a good search engine ranking. Deciding early to stick with the one brand name and domain name will mean more time to build links to your website, less confusion about what to search to find you and ultimately more web traffic.


4. Rebranding can hurt trust in your brand


Many brands have found out the hard way that rebranding can have a negative impact on consumer trust. Over time consumers develop a level of trust and familiarity with a brand name or logo. While you can let customers know of the change, it will take some time to recreate that connection with the new brand.


My advice is simple – once you’ve decided on a brand name and know within yourself that it’s the name you want representing your business for years to come, go for it. Your present customers will know that starting a new business is a learning process and will be excited to join the ride with your new brand.


Michael Halligan co-founded Engage Marketing in 2009. The agency specialises in working with small businesses to provide low-cost “guerrilla marketing” campaigns.


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