When to Rebrand: 5 Signs Your Agency Needs a Fresh Identity

When to Rebrand Your Agency Hero Image


Rebranding your agency updates its visual identity, messaging, and marketing materials to align with market demands and attract your target audience. It’s necessary when brand confusion occurs, competitors have a stronger presence, or there's a strategic business shift. This article explores key indicators and strategies for successfully rebranding an agency.

Chances are, your agency has conducted rebrands for many clients. As you know, their reasons vary–while one client isn’t ecstatic about their logo font, another has undergone a complete business strategy shift. 

That said, it’s an entirely different feeling when your agency is the protagonist in a rebranding story. Perhaps your competitors look more swanky than you on social media. On the other hand, potential clients may be confused about your service offerings or what you’re all about.

Whatever the case, deciding when to rebrand isn’t a straightforward formula. Considering all the moving parts involved–creating a new logo design, defining your brand voice, and updating your collateral–it must be done carefully. 

It’s tempting to wonder if it’s really worth it–we get it. However, think of it like this: A rebrand is a way to revamp your presence, iron out any previous confusion, and attract the right type of clients. 

There was a period when our incoming leads were for work we didn’t want. We were well-known as a social media company and really needed to correct that messaging since it’s not all we do. Rebranding was a way to shift that community perception. Now, our market has a pretty clear idea about who we are.

Lane Anderson, Founder, London Road Marketing

In this article, we’ll explore exactly how to tell it’s time for a rebrand, the right motivations for doing so, and how to put your plan into motion.

What’s the Difference Between a Refresh and a Rebrand?

The terms “refresh” and “rebrand” appear similar at first glance. However, they’re distinct processes and should be treated as such. 

As a reference:

A refresh is an update of your agency’s current brand identity, maintaining its essence but with a renewed look. This may include changes to your logo, color palette, messaging, and marketing materials. It’s a way to adapt to market changes and remain relevant, all while ensuring brand recognition. 

For example, consider a well-established agency that’s been around for 20+ years. Despite having a market stronghold, their logo font and online presence feel dated.

Instead of doing a brand makeover, they’ve opted for a subtle refresh and a more contemporary look. In doing so, their image feels more up-to-date while still keeping their signature classic feel. 


A rebrand is a complete brand overhaul. It involves reworking your visual identity, messaging, marketing materials, and all associated elements. It’s a way to offer a fresh perspective, introduce your company’s mission, target new markets, and differentiate from competitors. 

Take the previous example–say this legacy agency was drastically losing clients to more innovative competitors. A rebrand is an opportunity to redefine their target market, recreate the brand’s image, and revamp all service offerings. 

By doing this, they’ll attract potential clients more effectively and improve brand perception.

A Real-Life Example of Agency Rebranding in Action

Even if change feels uncomfortable, sometimes, it’s necessary. 

Take Distl, an Australia-based agency that offers a broad range of services, including branding, web development, and SEO. 

Before Distl, there was BirdBrain–an agency that offered SEO and other digital marketing services. While they built a solid reputation over time, Founder and Managing Director David Metcalf noticed a disconnect. The agency name didn’t quite reflect their business trajectory, nor did it capture the overall brand sentiment. 

BirdBrain felt like a juvenile brand. It felt very raw and organic and had a casual tone. The term ‘bird brain’ has the connotations of being humorous and light-hearted. This was fine, but we felt like we outgrew it.

David Metcalf, Founder and Managing Director, Distl

In 2020, the company decided to rebrand BirdBrain as “Distl.” This resulted in a full-blown revamp of their brand image, including their logo, messaging, and everything in between. It was a way to reintroduce their existing brand, create a better marketing strategy, and appeal to their target audience. 

bird brain vs distl rebranding

After rolling out this brand strategy, Distl experienced business growth and attracted new customers. Over time, it also led to increased brand recognition.

The type of client that comes to us now is just a bit different. We now have clear personas for the people we want to speak to, and we’re also finding that the inquiries are from clients who want a full suite of deliverables rather than just SEO services.

David Metcalf, Founder and Managing Director, Distl

As Metcalf and his marketing team recognized, outgrowing your brand identity isn't a setback. 

It’s an opportunity to evaluate your existing brand, redefine the company vision, and create an image that truly resonates.

Read More: Rebranding With a Purpose: Scaling an Agency Over Three Decades

The Top 5 Signs It’s Time to Rebrand Your Agency

Whether it’s updating your services or targeting a different market segment, rebranding breathes new life into your agency.

Here are some signs it’s time for a brand makeover.

Sign #1: Your Brand Identity Is Outdated

Your agency’s brand identity is the gateway to first impressions. It’s a way to communicate your aesthetic, professionalism, and value proposition.

Even if you’ve got the best services in town, an outdated brand presence hurts the chances of attracting new business, partnerships, and employees. Plus, consider your current clients–they need to know they’re investing in a marketing partner with the most up-to-date solutions. After all, they have plenty of other options available.

If you’re wondering whether your brand is outdated, here are some common signs:

  • A website with an old-fashioned design, poor navigation, and slow loading time.

  • A logo or visual identity that looks like it belongs to a past era (e.g., outdated fonts, colors, or graphics).

  • Content that hasn't been updated in years, along with jargon or phrases that are no longer relevant.

  • Branding that fails to reflect diversity and inclusion.

  • Reliance on traditional marketing (e.g., radio advertising) without integrating digital services (e.g., PPC ads).

  • Branded materials that look unprofessional (e.g., end-of-month reports made up of Excel screenshots).

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Sign #2: You’re Targeting a New Niche or Target Audience

Creating a brand goes beyond visual identity–it’s a way to attract the right type of client. 

Rebranding is a way to broaden your horizons and appeal to clients in other industries (even if you’ve got a stronghold in a particular niche). 

We wanted to expand beyond the automotive niche. Not because it isn't important to us or financially beneficial, but because our team wanted to push the boundaries.  We wanted to explore more creatively and use our skill sets differently. In 2012, we took risks and rebranded our name and image. This has been a win for us internally, resulting in new client relationships.

Laura Fleischer, President, Orange Media Group

It's also a method to expand your services, ensuring your brand identity doesn't obstruct growth.

For example, say you own an agency called “XYZ SEO” that serves the broad retail industry. As time passed, you’ve added more services like programmatic advertising and web design. Interestingly, many luxury retail brands are showing interest, highlighting an opportunity to focus exclusively on this niche.

While you’ve acquired word-of-mouth referrals, it’s been challenging to get more clients. In fact, your staff often spends a considerable amount of time explaining your brand name in sales pitch presentations. It’s counterproductive, time-consuming, and leads to confusion about what you offer.

To top it off, your brand logo has a more playful feel–it doesn’t mirror your often understated luxury brand clients.

To address this issue, you’ve decided to:

  • Rebrand to “ElevateLux Marketing,” which removes the service specialization from the brand name. It also suggests a promise to “lift” luxury brands to new heights, capturing the essence of what this niche seeks.

  • Redesign your website to include a comprehensive list of services, in addition to testimonials from existing clients.

  • Change the fluorescent green brand color to a more subtle palette. It’s a way to convey elegance and sophistication (much like your clientele).

That said, there may also be situations where the opposite happens. An agency might incorporate a specific service into their name, which is appropriate if it aligns with their long-term vision. 

Before seoplus+, co-founders Eddy Abounehme and Brock Murray started Spin Web Solutions–a company focused on web design and development. However, they quickly realized that many potential clients already had visually appealing websites but struggled with driving traffic to online platforms.

Upon identifying this gap, they rebranded to seoplus+. There’s often confusion within the SEO industry, where companies often fail to provide clear insights into their work. This led seoplus+ to stand out and become an extension of their clients' marketing teams. 

Alexa Rees, SEO Manager, seoplus+

Regardless of the reason, ensure that clients and prospects know exactly what you’re about. That way, they'll have more confidence in your agency and trust you to deliver results. 

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Sign #3: Your Agency Needs a Point of Differentiation

With so many options on the market, agencies must have a way to stand out. 

It’s important to build an offering that’s unique and offers real value to your clients. Make it clear what you provide, how it’s different from competitors, why it’s valuable, and why clients would want to work with you. 

David Metcalf, Founder and Managing Director, Distl 

Think about it: Many agencies offer the same services. What sets them apart? The right strategy, website, marketing efforts, and (you guessed it) branding. In fact, consider these the core pillars of any standout agency. 

A graphic representation of the Four Pillars of an Unstoppable Brand

To understand how this works, say you’ve got a well-established, 15-year-old agency called “Creative Solutions.” Over the years, you’ve specialized in traditional advertising methods, like billboards and print.

Even after offering digital services, it’s hard to shake off the well-cemented brand perception that you’re only about old-school marketing. It was amusing for a while, but now, it’s leading to client churn

Instead of withering in the face of competition, here are some solutions: 

  • Rebrand as “Hybrid Marketing Innovators” and use a more modern logo. It emphasizes your dedication to blending traditional and digital marketing strategies.

  • Create content that emphasizes this fusion, which doubles as a point of differentiation.

  • Source testimonials from your long-standing clients. This is also a way to build trust and position your agency above newer competitors.

Looking for another way to create a unique identity? Here’s an overlooked tactic–personal branding. 

For agency founders like Dan Delmain, personal branding is a way to endorse and show confidence in his business. In fact, his agency name “:Delmain” has a visual twist if you look closely–there’s an often unnoticed smile emoji (“:D”) at the very beginning. Over the years, it’s become a conversation starter, all while showing some brand personality. 

What’s more differentiating than that? :D 

I chose my last name because I wanted to build our reputation around me. It starts with me. It permeates through my organization. So I thought, why not stand behind my name?”

We invested a lot of time and money into rebranding–changing the colors, typography, messaging, and the logo itself. One thing that came out of it was an “Easter egg” moment where some people see the “:D” in our name, and others don’t. It’s always interesting being asked about it. 

Dan Delmain, Founder, :Delmain

Read More: Growing an Agency by Turning Adversity Into Opportunity

Sign #4: Your Agency Is Undergoing an Acquisition or Merger

Agency growth comes with big decisions. 

An acquisition or merger may make business sense as you move further along the agency life cycle. It’s sometimes easier to join forces with a similar or larger agency, which creates a stronger market impact.

More specifically: 

A merger is the consolidation of two agencies into a single, unified entity. It’s a way to create a strengthened market presence, enhance service offerings, pool resources, and achieve a better competitive advantage. 

On the other hand:

An acquisition happens when one marketing agency buys another, taking over its resources, team, and clients. This strategy aims to grow the buying agency’s services, customer base, and market share. 

In any of these scenarios, a rebrand is a way to create shared values and form a cohesive identity. It also eliminates confusion from multiple logos and collateral.

For example, say there’s an enterprise-level agency with operations in the US and Europe. They’ve been in business talks with an experienced Latin American agency as part of their expansion efforts. 

Joining forces with this Spanish-speaking agency is a way to communicate effectively, navigate cultural nuances, and source local businesses. For the Latin American agency, partnering with a larger agency diversifies their portfolio and helps them reach global markets. 

In this scenario, there are a few possible outcomes: 

  • If these companies merge, it’s an opportunity to create a fresh, unified brand identity. It opens the doors to collaboration, ensuring that both agencies collectively decide on the brand identity, values, and messaging. 

If your agency's core mission, vision, or target audience has significantly changed, it is likely time for a rebrand. It’s not just a change to visual identity; it’s a transformation of the entire brand. It’s a way to connect with audiences, reflect the company's evolution, and reposition in the market.

Joshua Kimmes, Owner and Head of Business Development, Bear North Digital

  • Under an acquisition: 

    • The Latin American agency may be assimilated and adopt the acquiring agency’s name. It’s a way to ensure consistency and strengthen brand reputation in the region.

    • A rebrand may not be necessary if the Latin American agency already has substantial brand equity. Instead, they may operate as a sub-division (perhaps with a mention of the acquiring agency) to leverage their existing presence. 

When making this type of decision, carefully evaluate all the moving parts (especially cultural considerations). After all, it’s about moving your agency forward in the best light. 

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Sign #5: You’re Recovering From Negative Brand Recognition

There’s nothing quite like a public relations crisis.

For example, say your Creative Director was involved in a large-scale fraud scandal that received national attention (much to your surprise). Now, your agency’s name is ringing through the press, but for all the wrong reasons.

While it’s often said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” a circumstance like this may taint your agency reputation and result in lost business. While some initial disruption is expected, it's problematic when this situation is like a stubborn stain that just won’t come off.

In this situation, a rebrand is a way to: 

  • Create a new identity. This helps move away from any stigma or negative associations with your original brand.

  • Demonstrate updated brand values and explain any new initiatives you’ve implemented. This may include:

    • A more comprehensive Code of Ethics.

    • Internal training for employees.

    • Your no-nonsense policy for any violations.

  • Communicate these changes by briefing clients, internal and external stakeholders, and the broader public (e.g., through a media release announcing your brand change). 

Remember–a rebrand shouldn’t be used for every fork in the road. Instead, it’s a good option to recover from catastrophic or unforeseen situations, rebuild trust, and improve public perception. 

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5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Rebrand Your Agency

As we’ve covered, the rebranding process is extensive–it shouldn’t be done lightly or on a whim. 

Here’s a breakdown of when not to rebrand your agency (and why).

1. You Don’t Have a Rebranding Strategy

Like all things in marketing, rebranding requires a strategy. Anything else is just a shot in the dark. 

The absence of a brand strategy leads to a disjointed experience. Imagine your client’s surprise upon seeing an entirely new name and logo redesign without forewarning. Suddenly, there’s a marketing report from “Snickerdoodle Solutions,” and they have no idea who that is!

For prospective clients, a poorly planned rebrand has the potential to influence their perception of your agency. You don’t want them to immediately say “no” to your proposal following a rebrand with some bizarre name or out-of-touch brand messaging. 

Simply put, a half-baked rebrand will harm your agency's reputation. It’s definitely not an ideal scenario, especially when you’ve worked hard to solidify it over the years. To avoid any hiccups, here are some steps to execute a seamless rebranding strategy. 




Define Your Objectives


Determine why your agency is rebranding. Your goals may include rolling out new services, targeting a different demographic, or refreshing an outdated image.


Research and Insight Gathering


Analyze competitors and branding trends. Gather feedback about your existing branding (e.g., focus groups with staff and existing clients). Use this to gauge perception and look for areas of differentiation.


Determine Your Ideal Client


Clearly define your agency's niche and service offerings. Then, use these insights to create an ideal client profile, including their needs and pain points. These insights will guide your brand tone, messaging, and value proposition.


Decide on Brand Values


Determine what’s most important to your agency and your company’s mission. For example, you may include values centered around innovation, creativity, and client-centricity.  


Develop Your Brand’s Identity


Create a new identity that encapsulates your values, services, differentiating factors, and overall essence. This includes a new logo, a distinctive color scheme, and a unique tone of voice. 


Create a Brand Guidelines Document


Compile a detailed brand manual for internal and external use. This includes the use of your new logo, color palette, typography, and imagery. This ensures consistency in client proposals, presentations, social media posts, and other marketing materials.


Plan Your Rebrand Launch


Organize an internal briefing to ensure everyone is on board. Then, plan an external launch (especially if you’re at the enterprise level). This may include a press release to marketing publications, a write-up on your website, and a debut on social media.


Implement the Rebrand Across All Touchpoints


Update all client-facing materials, including business cards, email templates, pitch decks, and social media profiles. Ensure your agency's website has an updated design and content. 


Monitor, Measure, and Adjust


Monitor website traffic, engagement rates, client acquisition rates, and feedback from sales pitches. Use this data to gauge the effectiveness of your rebranding efforts. 


Communicate Continuously


Keep existing customers informed about the rebranding process, the reasons behind it, and any benefits (e.g., new add-on services). Use blog posts, case studies, and success stories to showcase your agency's new direction. 

2. You Don’t Have Enough Capital or Resources

Think of everything that goes into rebranding. It involves conceptualizing a new logo, updating your messaging, keeping clients in the loop… the list goes on. 

Needless to say, it’s a resource-intensive exercise. If your internal team is handling the rebranding process, it gives them less time to focus on other pressing matters, like fulfilling deliverables and finding new clients.

On the other hand, you may decide to outsource this to freelancers or a branding firm; it makes sense if you don’t have the bandwidth. However, you know what that means–additional costs. If you’re not careful, it could dent your agency’s cash flow. 

So, before undertaking a rebranding exercise, ensure your agency is positioned to do so. To guide your decision, here’s an approximate timeline for each of the strategy elements we previously outlined.

Keep in mind–your agency's size affects the rebranding timeline. For example, smaller agencies may rebrand faster due to fewer approvals, while larger ones face more complexities.

  • Define Your Objectives: 1-2 weeks.

  • Research and Insight Gathering: 3-4 weeks.

  • Determine Your Ideal Client: 2-3 weeks.

  • Decide on Brand Values: 1-2 weeks.

  • Develop Your Brand Identity: 4-8 weeks.

  • Create a Brand Guidelines Document: 2-4 weeks.

  • Plan Your Rebrand Launch: 2-3 weeks.

  • Implement the Rebrand Across All Touchpoints: 5-12 weeks.

  • Monitor, Measure, and Adjust: Ongoing.

  • Communicate Continuously: Ongoing.

3. You’ve Already Got Strong Brand Equity

As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

If your agency has solid brand loyalty, a rebrand could jeopardize this. For example, your legacy clients and employees may feel strongly attached to your old brand. If you don’t have their buy-in, it could lead to friction and put a serious dent in your branding efforts. 

If you don’t absolutely need to do a complete rebrand, don’t. In these instances, a brand refresh may be a better option. It’s a chance to update brand elements without dramatically changing your identity that’s already known and loved.

One of our biggest challenges is maintaining brand equity. We're still on the smaller side. So, when making changes, we need to be strategic and ensure we're continuously moving in the right direction. In the agency space, things are evolving and growing so fast. It means you may need a brand refresh more often than in a more "stagnant” industry. 

Joshua Kimmes, Owner and Head of Business Development, Bear North Digital

4. You’re Feeling Pressured To Do More

Maybe I should revamp this brand font.

That competitor’s branding looks cooler than ours.

Our logo looks too old school.

Sound familiar? It's perfectly normal to experience these thoughts and the occasional bout of Impostor Syndrome. At times, though, it’s in your best interest to tune out this chatter, especially if you’re already crushing your internal OKRs or KPIs.

Not all motivations for a brand refresh are strategic or beneficial in the long run. You shouldn't be following trends blindly, copying competitors, or making updates just because you're bored. Make sure you're undergoing a refresh for the right reasons!

Joshua Kimmes, Owner and Head of Business Development, Bear North Digital

The trick here is to remain mindful of your progress without resorting to rash decisions. When in doubt, conduct a brand audit to evaluate your assets, market positioning, online presence, and competitor activity. If your agency has significant areas of weakness, then opt for a rebrand. 

This method ensures your actions are intentional, not merely reactionary responses to external factors. Remember–you’re probably doing better than you realize!

A lack of confidence often leads a person to doubt their abilities and constantly question themselves. Taking time to reflect on my achievements and skills helped me significantly.

Anatoly Zadorozhnyy, CEO, Marketing1on1

Even if you’ve got the most compelling reasons for rebranding, it won’t make sense if it results in legal problems. 

Rebranding your agency should involve legal consultation to avoid red tape or inadvertent compliance issues. The last thing you want is a lawsuit over a logo or a trademarked tagline. 

These situations are avoidable with the right approach. Here’s how to conduct due diligence and avoid legalities when rebranding your business.



Tips for Prevention


Trademark Infringement


Your agency’s new branding is too similar to existing trademarks. This could lead to consumer confusion. 

Tips for Prevention

Conduct comprehensive searches (e.g., use search engines and local directories). Consult with a trademark attorney for further investigation. 


Copyright Infringement


The unauthorized use of copyrighted material in rebranded materials (e.g., images, text, and designs).

Tips for Prevention

Create original content or ensure proper licensing for copyrighted material. When outsourcing, ensure your agency has full ownership of all assets.


Contract Breaches


Conflict with the terms in existing agreements (e.g., agency-client contracts, brand partnerships). 

Tips for Prevention

Review all clauses that are affected by rebranding. When necessary, consider amendments or renegotiations.


Regional and International Considerations


Legal nuances across states, regions, and countries (e.g., differences in how a rebranded agency can be advertised). 

Tips for Prevention

When rebranding outside your area of operation (e.g., acquiring an out-of-city agency), be aware of any local-specific legal regulations.

Use a Rebranding Strategy To Revamp Your Presence

As we’ve explored, rebranding isn’t a passive exercise. When used correctly, it’s a powerful way to rework your agency’s image, update your offerings, and create more favorable market positioning. 

Needless to say, it’s a lot of work. From updating your marketing channels to keeping clients in the loop, rebranding has a trickle effect on all aspects of your business.

Here’s another part of the equation to consider: Reporting. Successful rebranding is one thing; keeping clients is another. Reporting on their results solidifies trust and gives clients the confidence to invest in your agency. Therefore, it’s something you need to consider in your rebranding efforts.

No need to manually update reports with new brand collateral–simply use the white-label feature in AgencyAnalytics! It’s a one-time, upload-and-set process that makes reporting a breeze. 

Whether you’re creating a new monthly report or sharing a dashboard, your branding remains intact. That means less hassle, less assets to update, and less billable time wasted.

AgencyAnalytics has completely transformed our reporting process, making it more efficient and professional. We love the ability to white label reports with our branding and colors, and the ease of use has been a game-changer. Overall, the platform has been a huge asset for our agency.

Adam Binder, Founder & CEO, Creative Click Media

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Faryal Khan

Written by

Faryal Khan

Faryal Khan is an experienced marketer and brand photographer with a passion for content creation. She creates value for brands through storytelling and captivating visuals.

Read more posts by Faryal Khan ›

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