What are you looking for?

Why Rebrand? The Seven Most Common Reasons for Updating Your Brand

Posted by on February 1st, 2023
Posted in Blog, Nonprofit Branding, Nonprofit Communications   

A checklist being checked off.

Your brand is one of your organization’s most valuable assets. The strength of your reputation enables you to form strong partnerships, nurture valuable financial support, and retain talented employees. 

But what do you do when you’re no longer recognized for the incredible value your work delivers every day? How do you respond when things change for your organization?

Here are the top seven reasons your organization might consider rebranding:

1. You are misunderstood

Being misunderstood can take various forms: everyone on your team has a different way of describing your work, your prospective supporters don’t know how you differ from peer organizations, or your community doesn’t have a clear picture of your values and the work you do. Or all of the above.

Being misunderstood is a result of an unclear organizational brand. When this happens, you run the risk of others defining your brand for you, and this can create a reputation that is neither authentic nor accurate.

[check mark] Time to rebrand.

2. You have changed direction or focus

If your organization has made a significant strategic pivot, you need to make sure that your brand reflects that change. Have you shifted from land conservation to environmental justice? That’s a big shift and that means your brand voice will have a different tone, and your messages will need to tell a different story. 

Just approved a new strategic plan that lays out ambitious new commitments for the future? It’s time to make sure that your brand has kept pace. 

And if your organization has established new values and policies, such as adopting an anti-racism standpoint or ensuring work-life balance, then your brand should reflect those commitments as well.

[check mark] Time to rebrand.

3. You have a new leader

Strong brands should transcend the people who run them, so updating your brand isn’t a requirement when you hire a new leader. Who is the current CEO of the American Red Cross? Many people don’t know that Gail McGovern has led the organization since 2008, but regardless of its leader, millions of people donate to the Red Cross. The brand of America’s most well-known charity is larger than its CEO.

If your brand is deeply linked with your founder or a beloved, charismatic leader, you may have trouble sustaining support during a leadership transition.

Nevertheless, a new executive director may coincide with other big changes. If a new leader means a major pivot in direction, see above. Otherwise, question whether this means you need a new brand. 

[check mark in a different color or only halfway] It may be time to rebrand, but pause and ask the hard questions first.

4. The landscape is changing

Do you have important stakeholders telling you, “We still don’t understand what differentiates you from your competitors?” 

That can be tough to hear, especially if you are proud of the great work you do. But the world is rapidly changing. New organizations are emerging, new approaches are being developed, and societal expectations can cause seismic shifts beneath your feet. 

When the world changes around you, you need to make sure you’re clear about why you’re still relevant. What’s the fundamental challenge you address? What’s the fundamental challenge that needs to be addressed? Is there still alignment? A rebrand can signal that you’re ready to meet the moment. 

[check mark] Time to rebrand.

5. You made a big mistake

It wasn’t that long ago that Meta was known as Facebook. Do you remember the headlines the week they announced? Facebook was under fire for misinformation. While the rebrand for the social media giant was long in the works, the timing of the announcement helped shift attention away from its failures with the allure of something shiny and new. 

We see this often. Organizations with tarnished brands attempt to redirect their failure through misdirection. As someone who believes that brand should be an authentic reflection of your organization’s good work, I’m disappointed when an organization attempts to change its veneer without addressing the issues at its core. After all, when done well, a brand should be reflected in how you look, how you sound, how you act, and what you do. To do otherwise gives branding a bad name. 

Far more impressive is an organization like Livestrong.org. When its founder was accused of cheating, the organization focused on its values, said goodbye to its famed spokesperson, and leaned into the power of its brand, eventually becoming a stronger organization.

[no check] Time to rebrand? Find a better path by doing the right thing.

6. You want to reach a new audience

The more clearly you can articulate the value of your work to your audiences, the more connections you’ll have of every kind. But just writing new copy isn’t enough. The benefits of a strong brand are many, including making it easy for donors to recognize your value and want to give. A strong brand creates a relationship with your donors beyond the fundraising interaction. A positive, familiar brand makes it easy for audiences to say yes when you ask them for support.

[Check] Time to rebrand? Yes.

7. You’ve merged with another organization.

Brand is one of the most powerful tools for making a merger succeed. And it’s not just about a new name. The branding process helps you align values, messages, and culture. Whether you adopted the brand of the other organization or vice versa, your merger will benefit from an authentic and aspirational brand strategy. 

[Check] Time to rebrand? Yes.

If any of these situations sound familiar, we’re here to help! Having a strong and sustainable brand will help align your community and attract the support you need for mission success.


Zach Hochstadt is a Mission Minded Founding Partner and runs Mission Minded’s Denver office, leading the company’s creative teams in the areas of message development, writing, graphic design, and web design and development.

See all posts by