Adapt or die

It’s the most basic tenet of evolution, but a hard pill to swallow. There can be a lot of attachment surrounding a tried and trusted brand strategy. However, a hard conversation needs to be had when the needle isn’t moving forward anymore.

Maybe the current brand makes the company look dated. It may not reflect the flow of the industry. It might not match the ethics of the organization. And that’s when the “R” word gets dropped into the discussion.


Rebranding conjures up violent images of throwing a baby out with the bathwater. That’s not the intention—nor the basis—of a successful refresh. The main reason for a rebrand is to realign with the original values and ideals of your company and see if it has kept pace with the times, both in terms of aesthetics and operation.

Redesign the wheel. Don’t reinvent it.

What worked? There’s something resonating with your audience, otherwise, your organization wouldn’t exist. Dig deep, find the core of what your brand is doing well. Ask your team questions about the identity of your company so everyone is on the same page moving forward. Some of the answers might be challenging and hard to hear. That’s okay: rebranding is not always a comfortable process. What’s important is that it works in favor of your company’s long term goals. Here are a few thought-provoking questions to get you started:

  • What do we think people say about our brand when we’re not in the room?
  • Are we solving the same problem for our customers that we were when we started this company?
  • What organization is doing what we do better than we do it? What do we have that they don’t?

All hands on deck.

There’s more to rebranding than sketching up a new logo and calling it a day. It’s a multifaceted process requiring many different approaches. To show what it takes to successfully pull one off, The TJA team discusses how each department contributes to making a rebrand that flies instead of flops.

Creative: Important considerations include what the ultimate goal of the rebrand is. Are you trying to put life into a tired brand, or is the company shifting its focus, or expanding or narrowing their services? Always pay attention to the equity of the existing brand and the perception that it holds—Do you want to keep that, leverage it or erase that from the conversation?—Darren Simoes, Art Director 

Organic + Paid Social: Organic social can provide the perfect way to roll out the rebrand by updating your profile images, cover photos and posts on feeds and in stories that tease, boast and boost the new brand. Paid social, with other paid media, offers an even larger reach with the ability to customize your target audience to those who have remained loyal to your brand through specific website behaviors, engagement on your page and past interactions with your brand, as well as reaching new audiences you’re wanting to bring into the loop. —Jamie Schelling , Social Media Manager

Public Relations: Our job in public relations is to give your rebrand the announcement it deserves. How that announcement looks varies client-to-client, and it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all approach. From newsletter teasers to grand reveal parties, your company’s rebrand will depend on the ones who matter most: your customers. As marketing professionals, we understand your customers, and as communications professionals, we understand how to deliver your message to them. Bottom line: PR is the cherry on top of a rebrand sundae. —Keller Perry, Public Relations Account Manager

Promises made, promises kept.

Rebranding, at its core, is about keeping promises. Your business is offering consumers something that makes them feel like they’re a part of something bigger, better, prettier. With an outdated approach, it’s harder to deliver on your commitment to move your customer closer to their best self.

A successful rebrand needs to resonate with organizational goals, have a positive impact on public response and enhance the product or service. It needs to be in alignment with the goals consumers have when they reach for your product or service. It also can’t fly under the radar. A huge part of a successful rebrand is awareness. PR and media involvement play a massive role in allowing your business to strike while the iron’s hot, and garner a positive public perception of your company’s transition.

If the alchemy of all those elements is there, you’re well-positioned for a successful refresh. 

TJA has had the privilege of directing the rebrands in multiple industries, including real estate, food + beverage, travel + tourism and more. If you’re looking for some inspiration for where to start with yours, check out some of our work.

Success stories


"The James Agency presents an innovative approach to staying ahead of the competition: Adapt or Die. Discover how to outsmart competitors by embracing change! "
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