When the start-up phase is over

When to rebrand and decide that the first growth phase of your business from plucky little start-up is over is a tough decision.
Having written a piece on Outgrowing Your Brand it was interesting to see this week that Receipt Bank had rebranded precisely because they were no longer the same business as when they launched. This extract from their MD Alexis Prenn says it all:
“Branding and logos should reflect the company they represent. Applying the branding that was honest & representative of the plucky little start-up to the ReceiptBank of today is misleading. 
Misleading because the ReceiptBank of today is no longer a start-up because our ambitions to innovate, to professionalise, to recruit and develop have changed out of all recognition.”
Good thinking and we use their software!
A large proportion of the rebranding work that we do is bringing client brands in line with their business. So often business owners focus on building sales and meeting their growth ambitions that they do not have time to bring their brand on the journey. Then they reach a point where they stop and realise that their branding is not representative of who they have become. This is a natural development point in many businesses. It may come after four or five years or it can be over ten years for some businesses. There is no set time when a change needs to be made (like the change your mattress every eight years messaging), it is when it is right for each individual business and what matters to you.
Business brands should embody the ethos, values and style of the business, which is seen not just in logos but importantly in the visual imagery you use on your website and marketing materials, your overall look and feel especially in the way you are perceived in your marketplace; and in the way that you talk about your business captured in your brand story, main messaging and tone of voice. A rebrand should never be purely a design exercise, a facelift; it needs depth and meaning so the thinking and strategy is equally critical alongside the creative execution. Too often rebrands are a design-led project that while they may look great are wide open to the “so what?” response. If you cannot explain why you have made the change and the benefits it will bring, then don’t do it.