The Rebranding Marketing Strategy

Let’s take a minute to talk about the Rebranding marketing strategy. It’s important and taken too lightly, in  my opion.

Do you remember the New York/New Jersey MetroStars? Well, neither do I. But the New York Red Bulls sure got my attention when they rebranded it. 

What is Rebranding?

Rebranding is a marketing strategy used when we need to attract a new audience or change a company’s message.

A service, program, product can also be rebranded, but we usually see this strategy happen on a company as a whole.

Rebranding can happen partially or completely, in which case, the company will adopt a new name, concept, message, and a whole new identity to support the new brand’s strategy and make sure the company is attracting and connecting with its audience, as planned.

Summing it up:

The rebranding marketing strategy consists of developing a new concept, identity, and strategy, to imprint a new message into the audience's eyes and minds.

What Rebranding Is Not

Rebranding is not a redesign. This is a huge misunderstanding, provoked by the fact that people tend to boil branding to visual identity design.

If a brand gets a new logo and new colors, chances are they are just getting a refresh on their visuals. Like Google updates their logo every so often, but their messaging and mission remains the same, meaning they did not rebrand.

Because branding is a strategy, for a rebranding to happen, more than a visual identity refresh needs to be involved in the process.

The Times I Rebranded...

I started my design studio as Kelly’s Design Studio, back in in early 2000’s. It was a thing at the time, for designer’s to name their business as “Blah blah blah Design Studio.” A few years into it, things picked up fast and the business grew considerably. In all honesty, that name started feeling cheap. It made me feel like just another local designer studio -which worked fine, when I was selling digital downloads at the dawn of WordPress and Etsy days. If I wanted to stand out, I had to create an unique presence.

After a little research of trending names (please don’t do this, I was in my first years of business and yet to study branding), I chose the pompous and hipster name “Pink + Lola”. Was short, catchy, and had a plus sign. I mean, can’t get much cooler than that, uh? Well, it was a hit. But, of course, people started calling me “Pink” or “Lola,” as I should have expected. Two years with that name, business booming, I rebranded.

I rebranded poorly, without strategy, and nearly broke my business. In fact, it took years until my business was that strong again. Not only I didn’t not have a rebranding strategy, I did not prepare my audience, but the name “Kelly Brito” was completely disassociated from “Pink + Lola.” That was in the years we did our best to keep our photos and real names OFF the internet, afraid a psycho would do their best to find us and kill us.

Brand naming was never my forte. I still have the hardest time choosing names for products, coaching programs, etc. So, I’ve been “Kelly Brito” and specializing in branding (with focus on personal branding since 2019). Just makes it all much easier. So, my advice to you is:

If you are a personal brand, just do business under your name. Chances are the domain and social media handlers will be available and it will just make that part of business much easier for you.

Back to the MetroStars

Now, after this good insight into the rebranding marketing strategy, why do you think the Red Bulls renamed and rebranded the MetroStars? Well, because the Red Bull company is a sports powerhouse and likes to carry their name all over, yes. But they have Toro Rosso and Alpha Tari on F1 racing, so they could have done the same with soccer (not actually use “Red Bull”).

But some sort of rebranding would have to happen on a team half-forgotten like the MetroStars. So, if a rebranding would have to happen, might as well go full service on it. Naming is just the cherry on the top, being that anyone, anywhere recognizes the name “Red Bull.” But the whole thing changed: concept, naming, audience, message, mission statement… A new purpose, altogether.

First of all, they are located in Harrison, New Jersey, but totally ditched “New Jersey” from the name (who likes NJ, anyway? PS: I live in NJ, so I’m just kidding, folks). Instead, they went with the much fancier “New York Red Bulls.” And guess what? On game days, the PATH train is packed with NYC fans coming to Harrison to watch the games! I mean, packed! The Red Bulls created a brand that is passionate and fun, attractive to the young people, who come from NYC with flags, and banners, and scarves, and jerseys… singing soccer chants (sea shanties? haha) through the streets of Harrison.

Rebranding mission successful! I dare you to try and drive through Harrison on a Red Bulls game day.

Reasons To Rebrand

  • New company philosophy
  • New purpose and message
  • Renewed market positioning
  • Different target audience

Well, those things kinda go hand-in-hand. But I thought it would be useful to highlight them in one place.

Steps To Take When Rebranding

  • Redefine the audience
  • Update the values, promise, mission, and vision statements
  • Consider naming carefully (check if it is registered, domain availability, etc)
  • Create a tagline/slogan that represents the new brand purpose and goals
  • Work on a new brand identity design



If you are new to branding, checkout my first podcast episode on BRAND, BRANDING, AND VISUAL IDENTITY.

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