Re-Branding? Here’s What NOT To Do

Re-Branding? Here’s What NOT To Do

A big part of small business branding is clearly and concisely communicating what you offer. When people ‘get’ you, they less likely to forget you. They may not recall you right away, but when they do, they recognize what you do instantly.

The Story of a Horribly Executed Rebranding

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Have you ever heard or participated in a conversation that goes something like this?

“Do you know Sarah Brown?”

“Oh yeah! She’s that interior decorator who specializes in vintage decor.”

If you were Sarah, you should be very pleased because people can put your name, profession, and specialty together. On the flip side,allow me to share a story about Valerie (not real name).

I’d known Valerie for years. We travel in the same circles online. Because of that, I didn’t expect to have a tough time looking her up.

Since she had a pretty common name, a simple Google search didn’t work. Usually, in this situation, attaching the person’s profession, industry or job title to the search helps tremendously. I thought I knew what her business was but after several failed searches, I realized I had no idea what she does!

The next step was to look her up in the forums and groups we participate in. To my surprise, all the searches turned up empty. I had to really dig in. After lots of attempts and finally finding her, I realized the reason it was so difficult, was because she never signs her posts with her real name. She also used a nickname that didn’t have anything to do with her business or name.

Sadly, that wasn’t the end of the story. The website in her signature was very old. It was clear from the look of the site that she no longer offered those services anymore. There was no link to direct me to what she might be mastering today. Through some miracle, I found a newer website of hers. It was a completely new business that didn’t have much to do with the old one.

A few months later, Valerie surfaced again and this time, she was announcing yet another brand new business. Again, she said the old business (which was the newer one) didn’t fit her anymore. The latest business venture wasn’t even close to the last one – again.

Needless to say, I was very confused about her brand. If she even had one at all. My original intention on locating her was to figure out if she was a good candidate for me to refer prospects. No surprise, the conclusion was a big no.

This isn’t saying you can’t re-invent yourself. Sometimes, it takes a few tries before we “find ourselves”. And, as entrepreneurs, it is common for us to move from one interest to another. However, most re-inventions remain within the same industry and the most successful brands attempt to stay true to their core offerings. Should you absolutely need to do a complete makeover, get professional help. If you can’t afford that, ask seasoned entrepreneur friends.

At the very least, leave a message on your old website. Tell people why and how you can now better serve them – if the audience overlaps. Give them a way to reach you at your new site. Have a plan to wind down the old website so as not to confuse more people going forward.

Finally, try not to re-brand as often as one changes clothes. That’s not a good way to build any business. It is terribly confusing and only makes you look unreliable.

Lynette Chandler
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  1. Being a company with many hats but only displaying one is often the most difficult part of branding. Many businesses excel at many things and want to illustrate them all, dont.

  2. Rebranding for most businesses can be a scary approach. However, it’s one of those things that needs to be done. It’s all about innovating your brand. Often times there is nothing wrong with a current brand but small iterations can help new organic growth.

  3. Thank you for a great article Lynette. I see this a lot as well, and definitely see the value in staying true to your brand’s core. It seems “Valerie” could also use a few tips on SEO on how to be found on the web. Building a solid brand takes time, and every time you re-brand you have to start all over, not to mention the re-design of your logo and marketing materials every time.

    • Hey Jennifer! Thank YOU. Haha. You are right on the SEO part. It takes so much energy and resources to build a brand. It’s a huge waste. I get that for those new, we don’t know what we want to do. I sometimes question myself if this is what I want to do sometimes. But at the same time, I also see a lot of people not giving a business enough time or a good solid chance. Chasing shiny objects is not going to move us forward.

  4. As an entrepreneurs, we know it can be hard to find what works for you. I have heard stories similar to Valerie’s. Great article Lynette! Thanks for sharing!

    • Yes. I questioned myself putting up this post because, on one hand, I think it is more than OK to say, this is not working for me. I need to find something else. I truly believe we need to be happy doing what we are doing. I’m certainly not questioning that here. Only… whatever we move on to, it’s good to leave a trail.

  5. A great read Lynette, thanks for taking the time to share the importance of clarity in your message. I often find that entrepreneurs are obsessed with themselves and it comes through in their blog, and they don’t care about their audience or take the trouble to connect with them. You’ve shown them the way though

    • Thank YOU for taking the time to share your thoughts, Tracy. I think it’s pretty common to come from me, my company, my product vs audience and buyer first. At times, even I still struggle with this. For me, remembering to step back and re-focus helps.