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February 19, 2020

Reality Check: When is it Time to Rebrand?

Jane Pfeiffer

What’s the one thing Apple, Nike, Target, and Google all have in common? You could say it’s the size of their bottom line, but financial magnitude didn’t come first. The answer: they all started small. Their development of a relevant, engaging, and impactful brand identities distinguished them from competitors and fueled their journey.

Say the word “brand” and many people simply think of a logo, however, it is so much more. A company’s brand represents who they are, what they believe in, and how they wish to be perceived by consumers. It’s the face, personality, and values of the business and the promise to those they serve both internally and externally. A brand encompasses both the visual identity and the intangible feelings that come along with it. These “feelings” may seem irrelevant to an evolving business but the emotions connected to your brand are as important as the product or service you sell. Start-ups and established companies must invest in their identity or face the friction that comes with a poorly developed or ignored brand.

At the start of 2020, Fieldtrip defined 20 reasons to re-evaluate your brand’s impact. As we outlined the brand guidelines, it became apparent just how many of these obstacles our agency faced prior to our rebrand as Fieldtrip. The agency began with a focus on media services, under the name strADegy, with one employee and two clients. It was a name meant to convey our emphasis on metrics, analytics, and achieving the highest return on investment for our clients. When I started, those metrics and media services were everything while the agency’s internal branding process amounted to a 30-minute naming brainstorm.

Fast forward nine years and our services looked vastly different. While we still had a strong media presence, we had built up a much larger team with a wide variety of abilities and projects ranging from branding and websites to murals and videos. After working on a few key branding projects such as Ale-8-One, SAM (Sharing America’s Marrow), and National Stem Cell Foundation, more and more of our projects began to focus on branding, while utilizing our media foundation on the back end to bring these new brands to life in a holistic and measurable way. As we became known within the market for our branding expertise, the perceptions of the original strADegy brand did not match the new reality of our capabilities and aspirations.

After a long look in the mirror and a lot of persuading, I agreed to a rebrand. Using the same tried and true process we applied to our clients, we debuted our new brand, Fieldtrip, in 2016. While sometimes challenging, this rebranding process was indispensable to everything Fieldtrip now stands for. It allows us to attract the right clients, the right team members, and to set a new course within our industry.

Over time brands can lose touch and become outdated, or maybe they missed the mark from the start. Reexamining your identity is vital to staying relevant, and while we constantly explore every angle for our clients looking back, we should have rebranded ourselves sooner. I often refer to the rebrand as, “The best business decision I never made.” The team we had built was able to put emotions aside and see the big picture in a way that I, as the owner, had not. Having been through this process it is obvious now that this was the right path for the agency. Rebranding is a daunting task, however, it comes with amazing rewards while pushing it off only makes it more costly. It takes tenacity, an outside perspective, and a vision for your company. It’s a continual effort that evolves as your business grows and you can’t get there alone. We believe in challenging expectations and creating work that works. As brand experts, we work with businesses just like yours and are eager to help you take your brand to the next level. You’ll only wish you’d done it sooner.