Rebranding or Website Redesign? How to Tell If You Need One, Both or Neither

James Richter headshot

Something’s wrong, but you’re not sure what. Your product/service is as good or better than anything else on the market. Your customers love you, but the sales pipeline is drying up and revenue growth is flagging. What’s missing?

In cases like these, the usual suspects are your brand and your website. They are both crucial to the success of your business. But it can be difficult to tell which one deserves an overhaul; if one is off, the other can suffer as well.

Before we help you decide whether your business needs a website redesign, a rebrand or both, let’s discuss what website redesigns and business rebrands actually are – and what it takes to see each project through.

What is a business rebrand?

When a business rebrands itself, it changes the way it presents itself to the public through every channel (not just the website). A rebrand can impact the design of the brand (logo, color palette, typography, photography, icons, etc.), as well as the messaging of the brand (company name, value proposition, slogan, content, voice and tone, etc.) to more competitively position itself in the marketplace.

Like website redesigns, company rebrands are initiated and shaped by business goals and market realities. After tobacco products were exposed for their inherent health risks, Philip Morris realized that its brand was as toxic as its cigarettes. The company underwent a full rebranding when it changed its name – and accompanying design and messaging – to Altria Group in 2003.

Philip Morris logo


Altria logo


Contrast that case with Google, which has essentially retained all of its design and messaging since emerging as a search engine, despite growing into a company that today has a hand in cell phones, home systems, business applications, cloud storage, driverless vehicles and more. Google’s periodic rebrands have included type changes and tweaked color palettes to keep up with design trends, along with other updates like redesigned favicons and new sub-brands to support products like Gmail.

1998 version of Google logo


2007 Google logo


2017 Google logo


A rebrand as subtle as Google’s can also be referred to as a “brand refresh,” but it’s important to remember that all rebrands exist somewhere on a spectrum. The elements that you reinvent, scrap, enhance, or keep as-is should always be considered within the context of your business goals.

Your corporate rebranding can enhance brand equity if it succeeds in attracting and retaining more customers, bolsters brand loyalty, and improves brand recognition. The rebranding decisions you make along the way will no doubt impact the design and/or messaging reflected on your website, but rebranding your business is not the same as redesigning your website.

What is a website redesign?

A website redesign is more than a new look. It’s a re-engineered website that is written, designed and developed to help your business accomplish specific goals. Priorities vary across businesses, but they can include:

  • Driving more traffic
  • Increasing user engagement
  • Generating more and/or higher-quality leads for your sales team

Clearly, these are KPIs that every business would love to see improve. Unfortunately, website redesigns don’t happen overnight. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of what our own website redesign process looks like:

  • Stakeholder Surveys and Interviews
  • Competitive Analysis
  • UX and Information Architecture
  • Design and Content Creation
  • Programming and Implementation
  • Analytics and Marketing Automation Setup
  • Optimization for Search Engines
  • Final Go-Live Checklist and Launch

Each of those phases requires meetings, informal communication, research, management responsibilities and sub-tasks. The time it takes to complete any given website redesign project depends on a number of factors such as website size, number of stakeholders and technical complexity. But when your business is counting on a more productive website that supports business goals, the investment of time and effort is worth it.

Take the CloudCraze website redesign for example. Walker Sands Digital redesigned the e-commerce company’s website after they had just completed a rebranding. (Note the different logos.)


old cloudcraze website circa 2015



Before the redesign, the CloudCraze website had a busy design, complicated user paths and a relatively slow load speed. After the redesign, the CloudCraze website was clean, easy to use and fast to load. If you’d like the full story on how we did it, we encourage you to read the case study.

So, how do you tell if your business needs a rebranding, website redesign, or both? Here are a series of questions to help.

Does your business need a rebrand?

If you suspect that it’s actually a rebranding that your business needs, then ask yourself these questions:

  • Have the products or services we offer significantly changed since our last rebranding or inception?
  • Has our target audience evolved (demographics, perceptions, goals, budget, etc.)?
  • Is our brand out of step with current design trends and market expectations?
  • Is our messaging and/or design aesthetic inconsistent across channels (e.g., website, sales materials, business cards and email signature)?
  • Does our business lack a strong point of view?
  • Are our key audiences unable to understand what we do?
  • Are our key audiences unable to understand what we stand for?
  • Are our employees unable to consistently and succinctly say what it is that we do and the value we offer?
  • Are our internal marketing and sales teams asking for brand assets and guidelines to communicate with external audiences?
  • Is it difficult to distinguish our business from our competitors?
  • Is our brand more of a liability than an asset?

More than three yes’s indicate that you should probably consider a rebranding for your business.

Do you need a website redesign?

If you wonder whether it’s time to update your business website, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have we redesigned our website within the last three years?
  • Do we ever hear compliments about our website?
  • Does our website compare favorably to other websites in our industry?
  • Have we seen traffic to our website steadily increase over time?
  • Do our website pages load in 3 seconds or less across all devices?
  • Is our website mobile-friendly?
  • Does our website have SSL or HTTPS security?
  • Are visitors finding our website on search engines?
  • Are visitors converting on our website (e.g., submitting forms)?
  • Do our visitors convert at or above industry averages?
  • Is our website easy to navigate?
  • Are visitors staying on our website and clicking around?
  • Am I proud to share our website with prospects?

As you review your answers to the questions above, any more three no’s should have you considering a website redesign.

Check the foundation once more

After you ask yourself these questions, it’s important to consider whether the challenges you’re facing are related to your website, your brand, or your actual business. Your website and brand are both extensions of your core business, but rebranding and/or redesigning your website will have very little effect on your bottom line if fundamental business shortcomings are left unaddressed.

Gain new perspectives from colleagues

If your answers to the above questions have you leaning toward either (or both) a website redesign or a rebranding project, then it’s time to begin the conversation inside your organization. Canvas your colleagues across departments and levels of authority to get a sense of how important those initiatives are to them, and what they would want a website redesign or a rebranding to achieve.

Connect with the right partners

As consensus for a website redesign or company rebranding project builds, open up conversations with digital agencies and/or branding agencies. Ask them questions about their processes, experience in your industry, and how they measure success. This will get you started on the path to finding the right partner that can help you execute the right project. The investment of resources will be worth it, as it will allow you to best position your business for success in the years to come.

Looking for some inspiration?

Check out some of our favorite website redesigns and rebranding projects in our gallery of client work. If you’re interested in how Walker Sands Digital can help you reach your business goals with either a website redesign, rebrand or both, then you can get in touch with us here.


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