Caitlin Stanway-Williams
03.10.2019

What is a rebrand? (And what is it not?)

I sat down with our Marketing Director to discuss what a rebrand is, what goes into a rebrand and how Datasine approached the project.

You may have noticed we’re looking a bit different of late. Recently, we’ve implemented what’s been in the works for months now: a full rebrand of our look, feel and, consequently, who we are as a company 

The process has been a challenge for us all. But it’s also been an incredibly satisfying journey, and we’re thrilled with our new ‘do!

Yet it’s brought up a lot of questions around what the exact meaning of a rebrand is, and when and how a company should approach undergoing one.

I sat down with Datasine’s Marketing Director, Cornel Lazar, to find out more about what a rebrand is – and what it is not.

rebrand-cornel-lazar

Caitlin: What does ‘rebrand’ mean and what elements go into rebranding?

Cornel: It’s not just new funky colours! It’s applying focus and giving a statement of intent. 

Like every person, every brand has a personality. Brand personality is not necessarily what you, your CEO, your investors or board want it to be. It’s about your wider culture, your people, your mission, your product, your industry – to name just a few elements.

To implement a rebrand, you must really understand who you are as a brand and what your brand’s ‘DNA’ is. This goes right back to ‘why’ your CEO or Founder started the business in the first place: what drove their ambition? 

You could get the world’s best designers working on your rebrand, and they may come up with a great-looking brand, but if it’s not authentic to your company and your culture, you’ll  soon find it was an expensive waste of money. 

When rebranding, I find Simon Sinek’s ethos: “Why, How and What” – The Golden Circle useful, whereby an organisation must identify first and foremost who exactly they are, and, more importantly, why they exist.

rebrand-cornel-what-is

Caitlin: How is rebranding different from just refreshing a logo, for example?

Cornel: Refreshing a logo is just that: refreshing the logo. The logo is only one part of a bigger picture. A full rebrand is about identifying and formulating your DNA and mission statement.

A new logo is often an early manifestation where a rebrand is heading and takes the form of the ‘North Star’ for everything else, but anyone who claims they rebranded with a new logo has not rebranded.

Caitlin: When did we decide to rebrand?

Cornel: Previous Datasine brandings were either accidental (our CEO Igor designed the first logo and site) or generically applied to fit into an industry category. 

Differentiation and personality were certainly not part of the previous brand incarnations, yet Datasine is all about personalising how brands communicate with their audience, and that was missing from our own look and feel. That’s why I agreed a rebrand was needed. 

The brand concept we came up with is called “Connecting the dots”. It represents our mission of building authentic, personal connections between brands and their audience.

what-a-rebrand-is

Caitlin: Who are the stakeholders in a rebrand?

Cornel: It really depends on the organisation. At Datasine this included the leadership team of our four founders, our Art Director, Stephen Taylor (Heat Design) and the branding agency, Thin Martian, who executed the brand concept into a living brand. 

In this setup, I identified that my role as Marketing Director was not to impose my thoughts and ideas but to act as conductor between our Art Director and leadership team, and bring in guidance in the decision-making process. 

Caitlin: What questions do you need to ask yourself before you rebrand?

Cornel: Do we really (REALLY!) need a rebrand? The answer is 9 times out of 10 is: ‘no’. 

I’ve found that, from my own experience, in most instances adjusting and implementing an existing branding is the answer. Leadership teams also often don’t appreciate or understand the extend of a rebrand, assuming that they can do it themselves when in reality rebranding is one of the toughest projects a Marketing Director or CMO can be tasked with as it impacts every aspect of the organisation. 

The Datasine founding team was excellent to work with as we fully agreed on the need and approach for the rebrand, and involved the whole team. We even had an office vote on our name. We obviously ended keeping Datasine, but our product changed from ‘Pomegranate’ to ‘Connect’, a name that better reflects our mission to get brands communicating better with their customers. 

datasine-rebranding-Connect

Caitlin: What did you learn from the rebrand?

Cornel: One thing I take away is this: make sure you as the Marketing Director (or whatever role you have when tasked with the project) don’t end up also being the Project Manager. You need someone dedicated to project manage this monster of a project. 

Also, practice patience and transparency regarding the length of the project. Startups never have time, but a rebrand will almost certainly take longer than initially projected. We were given four weeks and it took about three months in the end. The result was worth it though. 

Why not check out our rebranded AI platform Connect

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