Editor's Notebook

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Editor's Notebook

Is It Time To Rebrand?

Originally published
Originally published: 9/1/2023

Is It Time to Rebrand?

Every competitive brand will have, as part of its success, a strong brand identity. Often the brand story is accidental – built through the audience over time – but it can also be established at the outset. If an entrepreneur starts a company with a strong brand identity, especially one that has worked well, there may be resistance to change. It can feel like abandoning the loyal patronage that built the company from the ground up. Or there can be fear around change. Will it work to go in a slightly different direction or to completely rebrand altogether? But like any relationship, if there is no room for growth, it can’t be sustained.

Great Brands Change with Time

If you are in business long enough, rebranding on some level is inevitable. As a company evolves, it is essential to review its branding periodically. Ask questions like: Is the branding still fresh? How well is our marketing delivering? Do we need to invest in fleet design or a brand-new design for our old fleet wraps? 

Our 20Q column this month, with Aaron Gaynor, is a must-read on the topic. Not only did he start over twice, but he grew a business from nothing to a multi-million-dollar entity and always looked at branding – from color schemes to messaging to customer base – meticulously.

Once you can answer the relevant questions, decide, and stick to a plan. It may take several years to get the brand working the way you want.  But I think the end of the year is the best time to take personal and business inventory. Notably, the decision to overhaul a brand shouldn’t be based on the length of time you have had the same message. It should be based on audience connection. 

Great brands change with time. Well-known brands like McDonald’s, Microsoft, Netflix, and Apple have all changed their brands (and logos) over the years to better connect with their customer.  If you do decide it is time to rebrand, make sure the priority is customer-focused and connected. Show your team how the change will be better for them too.  It’s not an easy process and needs to be well thought out. 

Approach Rebranding as Diligently as a Business Plan

Rebranding can be the exact boost a company needs to find new life. Make sure you’ve based your branding on research, strategy, and great execution.  Without these key elements, customers find your new messaging confusing or acomplete departure from what worked about the brand in the first place.

Remember rebranding should add life to an already successful brand. Surveys are a good way to start if you aren’t certain whether it’s time. When we launched the new HVACR Business website, we asked our readers what worked, what didn’t, what they liked, and what they wanted us to add. We evaluated our site against dozens of others, some of which were successful consumer brand sites with millions of visitors. We wanted to understand how they built that traffic.  Readers have come to rely on a certain voice, tone, and content delivery. So, when we launched the new site, we still stayed true to the brand. And if you’ve visited the site, you know we significantly improved the navigation and organization of the site. The important message is often you don’t have to start from zero, but you do have to continually improve and evolve to meet customer needs and expectations.

Here are signs to look out for when considering a rebranding:

    Expansion. Expanding into a larger market may require you to strengthen your service offering.
    Updated Digital Marketing. If your online presence is weak and does not deliver traffic or leads, it needs updating.
    Dated. The look of your branding, colors, design, or marketing is dated. 
    Distinct. Customers should be able to distinguish your brand from the competitor. If you’re getting lost in the mix, trying too hard to be “the other guy”. 
    Consistent Messaging. If you recently launched a new fleet wrap design and did not update the site, or you took over a legacy company but left the old 2010 web design, it’s time to redesign with an updated brand. Your messaging – uniforms, trucks, website, and story, should be consistent throughout.

Heather Langone is the Managing Editor of HVACR Magazine. For comments and feedback, email

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