If I learned anything from taking upper-division college courses back in the day, it's that prerequisites exist for a reason. You don't take German III without having first mastered German II. Philosophy 450 is a lot harder if you haven't already been through 101. As entrepreneur Henry Helgeson writes over at Mashable, the same applies to making major decisions about the future of your company. Helgeson focuses in particular on rebrands, the Extreme Home Makeovers of the business world. It's important when considering an identity shift, he writes, to make sure you've dotted all your i's and crossed your t's before taking the plunge:

"A rebrand is not something to be taken lightly. You should only do it if you have a very good reason. So what constitutes a good reason to change your name or your brand’s aesthetic?"

The first law of rebranding is "don't rebrand," at least not if you don't need to. To answer Helgeson's rhetorical query, apt motives for a rebrand include attempts to keep up in a transitioning industry, efforts to disassociate yourself from newfound negative connotations, and forays into new arenas vis-a-vis mission and market. Each of these is in one way or another a reaction to shifting market perceptions. A rebrand needs to serve as the Hydro Thunder boost that propels you toward the front of the pack in a move for first place. 

Another prerequisite for making the rebrand decision is to investigate and understand your brand equity. How much value does your logo/name/reputation currently hold and what do you risk losing if a switch doesn't go as planned? You should also think about what parts of your current brand resonate well with customers and fans. There's no point in replacing what's working. 

Another good idea: survey your workforce. Helgeson writes about how important it is that your rebrand reflects company culture and that your employees are on board with the shift. 

"Never underestimate the importance of clearly and positively communicating the new identity to your employees and showing how it will benefit them. Rebranding, when done right, can help the whole company rally around an exciting future, while still staying true to the company’s foundation and core values. It gives everyone a fresh company description to be proud of too."

Take a look at Helgeson's full piece to learn more about what goes into a great rebrand and why it pays to be thorough when working toward a change.

Read more at Mashable.

Photo credit: Kasza / Shutterstock