Is there a ‘right’ moment to rebrand? As surprising as it may sound, this fundamental question is seldom asked. 

Let me preface this by saying there is no one correct way to answer this question. But we’ve seen many rebrands pushing through and going live during less-than-ideal moments. Hence, this blog. 


"The ‘why’ of the rebrand often dictates the urgency of the project – and some situations are more urgent than others."

Rebranding: the ‘why’ and the ‘when’ 

There are several internal and external factors that determine whether the timing of the rebrand is desirable, optimal, or even necessary. The ‘why’ of the rebrand often dictates the urgency of the project – and some situations are more urgent than others. In brand name changes, for example, the changes have to be implemented across all processes and systems as quickly as possible – ideally overnight – to minimise disruption. The purchase journey cannot involve two legal entities, so the transition to a single entity must take place smoothly and immediately. Because of its intricacies, the brand name change needs to be done separately from a legal entity change.

In mergers, splits, or spin-offs, there are contractual and/or business-driven reasons to set a specific date for the rebrand. The lead-up to the merger or demerger almost always takes longer than desired, meaning the rebrand must be sorted out immediately after the deal closes. This significantly shortens the project timeline. There’s no other way around it except to make a backup plan and get to work. This often requires settling for a smaller goal – like a logo swap. (I will divulge more on this in the section on MVP.) In such cases, it is best to focus first on integrating and disentangling secondary units – IT, Facilities, HR, etc. – if possible. A brand change can then be initiated from this new foundation, as implementing brand and organisational changes simultaneously can bring additional challenges in terms of management and staffing.  

Besides these, there are several other scenarios and reasons for rebranding, each requiring different levels of urgency:  

  • Acquisition  
  • Change or revitalisation of business strategy  
  • Brand strategy refresh 
  • Redefinition of brand architecture  
  • Digitalisation  
  • Visual identity refresh  
  • New leadership 

When a rebrand takes place for any other reason, and there is no ‘outside-in’ urgency to realise the brand change quickly, it’s best to take your time.  

Rebranding scenarios 

Generally, when initiating a brand change, there is a preference for one of the following scenarios, roughly categorised as follows: 

  1.  Sudden, behind-the-scenes, externally focused Big Bang launch
  2. Big Bang launch, but with a transparent, visible build-up and implementation towards the launch date
  3. Phased introduction

 At the C-level, there is usually a preference for the first scenario. But while a Big Bang usually results in a lot of excitement on the market, organising one is exceptionally challenging. These types of rebrands have become less popular, as many decision-makers find themselves reconsidering once they learn what these types of projects entail. A combination of the latter two scenarios is by far the most common approach. One perfect example that comes to mind is the rebranding of the Dutch energy company Nuon to Vattenfall. The old website,, was completely rebranded to on the launch date, while physical assets like vehicles, clothing, and signage were changed gradually over the medium term. 

It’s easy to see why many organisations choose to phase their rebranding programmes instead of going for the Big Bang; among them:   

  • Logistics. It is virtually impossible to rebrand hundreds of locations and thousands of brand touchpoints in one day or even over a short period.  
  • Capital/Investment. Going for the Big Bang change would mean purchasing new branded items (e.g., clothing) before the end of their economic lifespan or starting new contracts (e.g., lease cars) before the original contract ends.
  • Overburdening your organisation. The urgency of a Big Bang rebrand may result in undue strain on your workforce as employees may have to prioritise rebranding tasks over other urgent tasks.  

The rebranding and introduction of Rabobank’s Senses is an excellent example of a successful phased  implementation approach. The CX/online interaction site was changed gradually over a span of several years and made available on the public site in sections. Customers were probably unaware of the transformation, experiencing it without much inconvenience and, if anything, benefiting from it. 

"It is crucial to analyse the MVP ambition from the perspective of the customer’s experience and not just the individual project results."

MVP (Minimum Viable Product)  

Regardless of whether your rebrand launches in an attention-grabbing way, the big question with a phased implementation approach is whether or not the impact is sufficient to ensure a successful – and, therefore, profitable – brand transformation. This is difficult to determine, as the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) may be too limited. The strategy needs to balance change and familiarity to ensure minimal disruption to the customer journey and prevent a negative brand experience. That is why it is crucial to analyse the MVP ambition from the perspective of the customer’s experience and not just the individual project results. 

The same applies to lowering the ambition to meet a set launch date. Launch dates are often arbitrary, so there’s always room to reschedule to a more appropriate moment. This would be preferable to compromising brand performance. 

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The importance of internal activation 

Brand change can only truly succeed when it is activated internally. This means that your employees should have already undergone and embraced the transformation, and the organisation should have adapted its processes and systems accordingly. If this has been achieved, you’re on track for the best possible start.! And this, perhaps, is the best way to answer the question, “Is there a ‘right’ moment to rebrand?”