Relabeling vs. Rebranding: What is the Difference?

September 29, 2023

Relabeling and rebranding are two very important marketing processes that a company can embark on. Each involves rethinking the way your company visually presents itself. However, that is where the similarities stop. Beyond graphic design, the difference between relabeling and rebranding can be defined in the target, the goal, and the outcome.

Relabeling: Giving Your Offering a New Look
Relabeling occurs when you design a new look for your brand’s products or services. You can do this to target a new market, refresh an outdated design style, or advertise new and appealing features. Relabeling gives you the chance to change the appearance of your branding without actually changing your brand. Look at how Burger King’s logo recently changed or how Pepsi changed the look of its products. In many cases, relabeling can help your brand stand out, giving it a more definitive and recognizable design that will cause customers to reach for the box or click the digital icon with confidence.

Relabeling can also give you a chance to customize branded lines of products, giving each type of product its own unique identity within the family. Color and symbol recognition is a powerful tool and help to distinguish related products or services under a unifying branded style.

Rebranding: Redefining Your Identity
Rebranding is when a company completely rebuilds its identity. It often comes with a name change, a new visual design, and even new company values. The transformation of “Twitter” to “X” under Elon Musk is a recent example. Rebranding is far more drastic than relabeling, though relabeling is often a side-effect of rebranding if the company has products on the shelf or in digital marketplaces that need to match the new brand.

Rebranding occurs for a number of reasons. Startups often rebrand as they grow because their business grows beyond their original concept. When a company is purchased, it is sometimes rebranded to suit the new owners and their vision for the future. The same is true if the current business leaders decide to take the company in a new direction. Companies may also rebrand to leave an undesirable or unpopular brand behind without rebuilding the company itself from scratch to course correct.

When to Relabel vs. Rebrand
Rebranding is something a company takes on to reinvent the way the public views them. It is only necessary if your goal is to give the company a completely new face, identity, and possibly even a new way of doing things. Even companies that go through massive internal changes do not necessarily choose to rebrand.

Relabeling, however, is something that brands do on a regular basis. Every time a cereal box gets a new design, this is an example of relabeling. Brands can redesign labels for both physical and digital products to improve visibility, market positioning, and audience appeal.

Rebranding and Relabeling with Oxford
Is your company considering a rebranding campaign? Are you preparing to relabel a product or service? The best results come from working with a marketing team that understands your brand, audience, and the splash you plan to make in the market. Whether you are looking to reinvent your brand or present existing products in a new light, Oxford Communications can help you craft a new signature identity.