How to rebrand your startup

Sometimes you don't get your brand quite right the first time round - or maybe your brand evolves quickly, and the name, design or logo that worked so well in the beginning needs an upgrade. Rebranding can seem daunting, but it can have massive benefits. We talk to Ben Mason of Masons Beans - formerly Proper Beans - about rebranding his gourmet baked beans company.

What were the reasons you decided to rebrand?

There were two halves to our rebrand: the name change and the packaging redesign. The packaging redesign was actually way more important to us. We'd done some consumer research to see how people reacted to our product. It showed that people loved our brand; thought the product looked high-quality, organic and tasty; but they didn't know what it was. 'Is it soup... pasta sauce?", they said. Our intrinsic communication of product quality was great, but we'd failed to make the baked beans bit clear enough on pack.

The name change was far less scientific. I'd come to the realisation that the word Proper would never be ownable across the entirety of food. I saw more and more brands using it as a descriptor and I started to have doubts about how I'd feel about it in years to come. I knew we had some big publicity in the pipeline so I made the decision to change it over a weekend!


How did you come up with the new name, and was it an easy decision?

We switched from Proper Beans to Masons Beans. And Mason is my surname, so it wrote itself really. We'd considered it as an option originally so I knew I liked it. And when I Googled 'Mason's Beans', all our press coverage came up because it featured my name. So that bit was easy.

Did you change anything else apart from the name?

We took the opportunity for a full redesign of the pack. As well as making 'Baked Beans' huge, we also put serving hints on the front of pack and health claims on the back. The research showed that we needed to reassure people that they should eat decent baked beans in just the same way that they're used to eating the tinned rubbish.

What was the trickiest part of the rebrand? How did you smooth the transition?

The trickiest bit was definitely the design changes. I loved our old packaging but the research showed that it wasn't working hard enough. I deliberated over many versions because I was worried about ruining the look by bringing clarity to it. Rolling it out into store was actually very easy. We just made the change online in a defined moment. But the packs in-store overlapped a bit but that was fine - we had nothing to hide.

How long did it take you?

From research to design to live in-store took 3 months.

Any tips for businesses thinking of rebranding?

Research, research, research. You're way to close to your business. It's impossible to see it how others do. I couldn't believe that people weren't reading 'BAKED BEANS' on the front of my packs. But they weren't. 'Soup... pasta sauce?'


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