As competition heats up and sales start to stagnate, companies often seek to breathe new life into the brand through rebranding. In all too many cases, however, those expensive rebranding efforts fail to yield the desired business results.

Here are some of the key reasons rebranding often fails. More than executional mistakes that blunt the effectiveness of rebranding efforts, these are critical errors that almost always lead to failure.

Lack of True Change

Sure, sometimes rebranding is done solely to sharpen the image of a company or brand; after all, periodically things need to be freshened up. However, unless you operate in the world of packaged goods, don't expect great things from launching some new designs and fresh copy.

Rebranding signals change. A new image will cause people to take a fresh look at you—and people's primary motivation in taking a new look is to see what's changed. If you're the same old place dressed up in new wrapping and ribbons, you'll merely confirm the existing position you own in their minds. You'll have wasted a valuable opportunity to change their perceptions.

There are only so many times your prospects are going to reconsider you. Use them wisely.

Making Too Big a Leap

Rebranding should be about truly changing perceptions in the marketplace—changing the position you own in people's minds. That position, however, isn't dictated by you. It's based on what others believe about your company; it's something granted by those in the marketplace.

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Galen De Young is managing director of Francis SEO (, a Michigan firm specializing in B2B search engine optimization.