Rebranding: Don’t be the same. Be Better.

In the last year, we witnessed numerous rebrandings. WeWork changed its name to The We Company, LimeBike became Lime and the career-oriented social networking site Xing SE changed its name to New Work SE.

Changing your brand image, however, involves many uncertainties. When should a company invest in a rebranding and what consequences will this have on the business? We accompanied the rebranding process of our client Omio, formerly GoEuro. Any company considering this exercise should take note of the following six helpful tips that will guide you through a successful rebranding.

What does “Rebranding” actually mean?

A rebranding is like a new coat of paint, like fresh colours for a different atmosphere in a room, but the room, or the core of the brand, often remain the same. As the name suggests, rebranding is about “rebuilding” (= “Re”) the brand image (= “branding”).

Most commonly, there are two types of rebranding, either the image of a brand is partially changed or completely revised. A partial rebranding, for example, concerns the change of the corporate design, the brand appearance or the logos, whereas the complete rebranding means the redefinition of the entire corporate identity.

Recently, the Berlin-based start-up GoEuro decided to redefine its brand identity in the course of its global expansion. “Our ambition goes far beyond the European continent. Global transport is not yet offered in a single product,” says founder and CEO Naren Shaam. GoEuro became Omio.

Six valuable tips for rebranding

A rebranding means a high expenditure of time and money. Therefore, an analysis of the brand core should be carried out at the beginning in order to find out which parts of the brand identity need to be updated and which should remain.

When Omio decided to grow internationally and offer its travel platform outside Europe, the company had to  face the challenge of integrating their international growth plans into its brand identity and thus communicating them to their target groups. So before the actual rebranding, it is first of all important to analyse the current situation precisely, and identify the reasons why the existing brand doesn’t work anymore.

The GoEuro brand was following the vision of facilitating travel in Europe – whether by train, bus or plane – for millions of people. In the future, this vision is no longer limited to Europe but will be expanded globally under the new brand name Omio. In this process, it is important to keep an eye on the costs and to weigh up the opportunities and risks. For Omio, global expansion came with a lot of changes. They not only needed to find a new brand name, to revise and change the corporate design, to deal with the technical challenges of changing the website as well as app; they also had  to adapt their marketing strategy.

Brand name.
With the international brand orientation GoEuros, the previous name did not fit anymore to the new ambitions. Finding a name was an unexpected challenge. There were over 200 names to choose from. “For months, before falling asleep, I had been thinking about the name over and over again,” founder and CEO Narem Shaam told the Tagesspiegel.

The difficulty in finding a new brand name lies in the complexity of its requirements: on the one hand the name has to match the product, and on the other it has to embrace the corporate culture. It should be catchy and easy to pronounce at the same time. It must not infringe any existing name rights and should work in numerous languages. Last but not least, all domains like Facebook names and Twitter abbreviations should still be available. Clarifying these points is usually more decisive and time-consuming than visually translating the new name into a logo.

With Omio, GoEuro has created a short, catchy brand name. The double “O” in the name stands for both the beginning and the end of a journey – and is reminiscent of the original name GoEuro.

Corporate design.
Rebranding does not necessarily mean ‘finding a new name’. Often a rebranding is also reflected in design elements meaning to adapt the corporate design at all brand touchpoints, i.e. every point at which a customer or potential customer interacts with the brand. A list of all corporate communications materials helps keep track of which channels need new branding. This includes flyers, websites, business cards, signs, blogs and posters.

Whether you make big or small changes, every time a new design is experimented with, it is to question whether it fits the new brand strategy. Sometimes, it may even be worthwhile to give the office or business premises a new ‘look & feel’.

Technical requirements.
One of the most important and often underestimated steps in the rebranding process is the technical side. With a new brand name a new web address must be used. But also a new logo or title pictures for the social media channels, videos on YouTube etc. must correspond to the new formats. It can also be useful to establish a redirection opportunity from the old to the new web page.

Moreover a change of the web address has to assure that all possible domains are globally acquired. In the case of Omio, they had to buy more than 80 domains. They also had to make sure that these domains were visible in search engines, social media and various online listings.

A storytelling concept should prepare the background of the rebranding in a personal story – a fruitful way to inform the target groups about the changes. Omio, for example, framed it with new experiences and new possibilities to travel the world. Founder Shaam expressed his vision: “We are convinced that travel planning will be a completely different experience in the future from what it is today. Instead of going to train stations or airports, people will be looking for destinations. No one will have to queue to buy a paper ticket or need an extra ticket for each stage of the same journey. The means of transport will be tailored to the needs of consumers; and Omio will be a pioneer of this change”. In this way, Shaam openly explained to the media, shareholders and customers what changes are to be expected in the future and which specific benefits each target group can expect.

In Omio’s case, the brand promise has multiplied positively for customers and investors as a result of global expansion. Omio’s success story therefore not only delighted customers and B2C/B2B travel magazines, but also business and financial media.

Your rebranding. Your chance.
There are many reasons for rebranding. The decision to change the brand, however, should be considered extensively. The redefinition of a brand is a high temporal and financial expenditure, which can bring many advantages. A new image can have a positive effect on the expansion of the target group. New brand promises set new accents, increasing opportunities for new and existing customers.

The following applies: the target group should be taken into account in all decisions, because often a new brand appearance leads to positive resonances in the target group development. A rebranding is successful if the core message of the brand is communicated authentically, evokes emotions and creates identification.