The “safe” choice for your rebrand actually holds a ton of risk

Courageously choosing a brand that sets you apart is not easy. Even if your stakeholders agree that it’s time for a bold change, there still might be the feeling of being unsure how it will be received.

Will our audience hate it? Will it be too out there? You might weigh the options of spending on focus groups. You might present the new brand concept to your board or investors to get their feedback. You show it to a broader internal group to get feedback. Everyone has an opinion. Some absolutely love it. Some are impartial. Others want to see what alternative options there were that lead you to this choice.  

Caution: This is where dangerous decisions are made. 

In some instances, in business and relationship building, it’s great to compromise. It’s great to meet in the middle, find common ground and please as many people as possible. In other instances, it waters down strong approaches. Chris Voss champions this concept in Never Split the Difference.

When it comes to branding, the truth is, you don’t need everyone to love it. You need a group that loves it. You need a loyal following that will help spread your brand organically. You don’t need everyone to be on board. If they “love” it, it will be because they relate to what you’re trying to do. They will be excited that you “get them.” This is true internally too. Employees that grab on to your brand will help your business grow much faster than employees who “are fine with it.”

As the old marketing adage goes, “appeal to everyone and appeal to no one.” If we’re taking stock of the risks of growing a business, “appealing to no one” should be high on your list of pitfalls to avoid.  


If you compromise and settle on a brand strategy or visual identity that is safe… it will inspire no one. Instead of a core audience who organically promotes your brand because they strongly relate to it, you’ll have a larger number of people feeling mediocre about your brand… and that’s the riskiest move you can make.

2 comments on “The “safe” choice for your rebrand actually holds a ton of risk

  1. Linda Souza on

    Spot on. Many people don’t embrace change from the outset, so you’ll often get knee-jerk reactions when going through a rebrand. It’s still good to get feedback along the way so people feel that they are part of the process, but opinions should be treated as data points, not directives.

    • Jen Derks on

      Yes! Thanks for weighing in Linda! We absolutely love client feedback/interaction if it’s coming from a strategic mindset, and a “yes, and” mentality. We also advise keeping review to a core group that have been involved in the whole process, from strategic discussions to visual refinement. Change can be hard, and rightfully so! We like to hold space for that discomfort, and redirect energy toward the possibilities and excitement. There’s more to gain from a bold change than there is to loose, especially if it’s rooted in strategic concepts that the team can explain and stand behind confidently.


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