Rebranding: a how-to

Chatting about what went well (and what didn't) with Vivian McCormick of Wilet.

Vivian McCormick - CEO of Wilet

Get people on board, prepare for the unexpected, and start with the right stuff.

Rebranding is a big decision, particularly if you already have an audience with years of goodwill built up. Luckily, we've been down this road a few times and went straight to the source - our latest rebrand client - to ask what went well and what didn't.

We recently added Wilet to our portfolio of wicked clients doing incredible things. When they came to us for a rebrand, we'd already worked with them on ad creative and asset design for years, so we were well acquainted with them and what they were all about. Heck, we could probably even tell you their coffee orders.

We've been privileged to work on many brand identities, whether they were a rebrand or not, and how the Wilet team managed the rollout of their new brand had us beaming, and if we had gold stars to give out, they'd get them all.

After discussing the rollout with Wilet's CEO, Vivian McCormick, she was able to distil it down to the following.

The wins.

1. First, take a step back

“We considered everything we’d done in our five years in business. Our approach was to strip away all the layers and look for the purpose we had at the very beginning, which was to solve our problems surrounding rest. The vision for Wilet to be a leading rest-focused lifestyle brand is the evolution from our original purpose to now address a broader cultural shift in the elevated importance of rest.”

Thoughts from Grant:

As we're all well aware of, a brand isn’t just a new logo and colour palette. They dug REAL deep into why they started this business in the first place and were very clear on where they wanted to take the brand. Everything we created was born from their mission to Make Room for Rest. For a rebrand to be successful, founders need to give their mission and vision the proper attention and consideration. A superficial rebrand won’t have the required impact, and that’s just not what we’re all here for, is it?

2. Find the right partner

“Working with Grant was the best decision, especially given our tight timeline for the project. Clear scope, transparent pricing and articulating a process that we were confident we could work well within set everyone up for success.”

Thoughts from Grant:

Right back at you, Wilet. This made us feel all the warm fuzzies to read, and we can’t emphasize enough that it is SO crucial to choose a team that feels like a fit. Choose a group with similar values whose work you LOVE, and cultivate a healthy partnership with them. The best work comes from passion - so get your design team hyped about your business and mission before starting, and keep that fire going all the way along.

3. Build out loud

“We took our audience along on the rebrand journey with us. It was executed beautifully, and those who followed us were invested in the new brand even prior to launch.”

Thoughts from Grant:

And did they ever. Whether it was behind-the-scenes filming of our very first meetings, running new name options past their core demographic (and filming it - VERY fun!), or posting sneak peek updates of new messaging + colours, they brought their people along for every step of the process. Their community was on board before we reached the logo phase, which was vital for a well-established brand with a significant reach.

What didn’t go so well.

1. The slow climb back to decent SEO

“It was hard to appreciate before the launch how affected our digital presence would be when we rebranded - building back up on Google has been a slow climb and no matter how much you think you tell people about changes, there is so much noise out there that it could still be missed by our customers.”

Thoughts from Grant:

No matter how much warning, prep, and transparency you give your audience, the Google machine is hard-wired to reward long-term traction, so starting from scratch can be a real struggle. This isn’t necessarily as impactful if a brand isn’t renaming - especially if you’re updating your existing site to reflect your new identity. If you’re in it for the complete rename + rebrand, prepare yourself and your team for a significant drop in traffic until you build it back up.

2. Unexpected surprises

“This wasn’t a function of the rebrand but more poor timing - after we cleared out a lot of inventory before the rebrand, we were out of stock on core items and then hit by the Vancouver port strike, delaying our new Wilet branded products.”

Thoughts from Grant:

From an outsider’s perspective, Wilet handled this hit very well. They consistently communicated the delay, what was happening, and what folks could purchase. That being said, having the product you need post-launch to capitalize on all the juicy buzz you’ve created is ideal, and the universe made this a real challenge for our linen friends.


And that's a wrap folks. Thanks to Viv and Wilet for sharing their wisdom with us!

Let us know what insights you want to see from the Grant team!

View full Wilet project