If your firm is considering a rebrand (or recently signed off on one), then you likely have a plethora of questions about how to get started. That’s bound to be true if, like many marketers, you are tasked with heading up a major rebrand for the first time. With a project of this scale and complexity, it can be extremely difficult to know where to start.
The following FAQs speak to marketers’ most common concerns and burning questions at the outset of a rebrand, from when to start planning to who needs to be involved and how to budget.
1. When should you start planning your rebrand implementation? The implications of any rebrand are far-reaching, so you’ll want to begin the planning process with as much lead time as possible. Broadly speaking, you should start planning as soon as you know a rebrand is in the works. The exact details of your rebrand will also impact the length of time you’ll need to plan. For example, if you are rebranding purely for marketing purposes then the level of complexity will be lower and the completion date more flexible than a rebrand attached to an M&A or a related type of deal, like a divestiture. As a general rule, many organizations often start 9-12 months in advance of your rebrand launch date. More on this topic: Planning for rebranding implementation
2. When should I start converting branded assets? Before you can truly answer this question, you need to have both a launch date and a rebrand strategy set. For example, your rebrand strategy may call for a “big bang” rebrand launch, or it may be more of a phased approach. In the former instance, all your branded assets will need to be converted by the same deadline. In the latter, you may have a set of deadlines for different asset categories or product lines or assets used in different geographical regions. Either way, you’ll need to gain an understanding of how long it will take for you to fully transition each asset type and then work backwards. Rebranding your marketing collateral will likely be a much speedier process than rebranding your organization’s signage and fleet. In some cases, you may also need to take your existing stock of certain branded assets into consideration to avoid costly scrapping. Finally, legal or regulatory requirements may factor into your asset conversion timeline. In short, you must conduct a thorough and careful asset-by-asset assessment in order to build out a realistic schedule for converting assets in time for your launch. More on this topic: Unwrapping success: top tips for rebranding your products and packaging
3. What is needed for budgeting for a rebrand? Rather than thinking of creating a single rebranding budget, you should look at budgeting as an exercise in scenario planning. Plan to prepare and compare several budgets that reflect several different rebranding scenarios. In order to do this, you’ll need an understanding of:
- Rebranding scope and logistics. Depending on your business model, this will likely include an inventory of branded assets, location lists, employee headcounts, a list of digital properties and assets, product and packaging counts, and so on.
- Your organization’s rebranding goals. For example, do you intend to change the quality of your branded assets in the process of converting them to the new brand?
- Your rebranding project timeline. When do you plan to launch the new brand, and in what manner? Is there a hard legal deadline for rebranding that you must meet (as in the case of a divestiture)?
- Your organization’s budgeting logistics. Do you operate on a calendar or fiscal year? How will the rebrand be funded? How will CapEx versus OpEx expenses be handled?
- More on this topic: Timing matters: how to build a rebrand budget that meets your organization’s financial needs
4. Why is it important to model multiple rebranding scenarios? Modeling various rebranding scenarios is an important part of the planning process. There are many ways to implement a rebrand, and they all come with different pros and cons as well as different price tags. Without modeling rebranding scenarios, your team doesn’t get the benefit of understanding the various implications of each rebranding approach. You should plan to model several rebranding scenarios to explore the scope, timing, and strategic approach of your rebrand before settling on a best-fit plan of action. More on this topic: 5 ways to get your rebranding strategy right to ensure the success of your brand rollout
5. Who needs to be involved in the budgeting process? As a marketer, you will lead the charge on your organization’s rebrand. However, the budget will go well beyond your usual requests for your own department’s spending. Because it will impact your entire company, budgeting for a rebrand is an organization-wide endeavor. You’ll need to include your finance team, executive team, as well as operational leaders in the budgeting process to secure the funding to transition every branded touchpoint across the organization. Getting the right people to review your budgets allows you to thoughtfully consider budgeting scenarios from all angles. More on this topic: Keeping your rebranding budget on target — from planning to execution
6. What’s the best way to put together a rebrand project plan? When putting together an initial rebrand project plan, executive buy-in is the name of the game. Get ahead of the conversation by meeting with key members of your brand and marketing team. Work together to develop a plan to share with your C-Suite. Make sure to also build a business case for the implications of rebranding, including the factual business, financial, and operational implications of change. If possible, present your executive team with options related to brand direction, branded asset audits, and cost estimate scenarios to allow your team to make fiscally responsible decisions related to the rebrand. By coming prepared with options, plans, strategies and costs, you secure an early seat at the planning table. And, of course, you can also hire a rebrand implementation expert to conduct this work for you. More on this topic: How to secure executive approval of your corporate rebranding plan
7. Who should be on the core rebranding team? Plan to include your core marketing and brand team as well as one exec sponsor. You will need someone who can elevate (and escalate) information to the top level of your organization. At the same time, you will also need ground support from two or three core marketing and brand people. These people will help you reach out to other divisions, geographies, and departments across your organization in order to collaborate on the rebrand implementation process. Of course, if you choose to work with a rebrand implementation specialist, they will also become part of your core rebranding team. More on this topic: Building the right rebrand execution team: a holistic approach
8. Which functional teams need to be involved in the rebrand planning and implementation processes? All of them! A rebrand will touch every area of your organization, so it stands to reason that you will need to fold all your functional teams into the project. More on this topic: How to bullet-proof your rebranding plan so nothing falls through the cracks
9. What if I don’t know the new brand or company name but need to start planning now to hit the rebrand launch date? You should be able to start planning right away even without knowing your new brand or company name. Of course, you won’t be able to finalize certain details until the new branding is complete (and you definitely won’t be able to actually transition any branded assets). However, you can start modeling various rebranding scenarios and budgets, put together a core rebranding team, and form a bridge into your operational units to get buy-in for the rebranding process. More on this topic: 5 ways to get your rebranding strategy right to ensure the success of your brand rollout
10. Why should I hire a rebrand implementation consultancy? Most marketers who are tasked with executing a rebrand are doing so for the first time. After all, companies don’t rebrand every year. In fact, the average brand’s lifespan is 10-15 years. That means a career marketer may only be involved in one or two rebrands over the course of 30-plus years. Add to this the fact that implementing a rebrand is enormously complicated, and it’s easy to see why marketers prefer to have a rebrand implementation expert on their side. Even more compelling are the financial reasons. A rebrand implementation expert can help your organization rebrand in a more timely and efficient manner — all while reducing overall rebranding project costs by 15-35%. More on this topic: The marketer’s case for a rebranding agency partner
11. My global, decentralized organization is rebranding. How can I plan and execute a rebrand effectively? Whether your organization is decentralized or matrixed, it’s critical that you establish central control of your rebrand project structure. Even in a decentralized organization, marketing should own the rebrand (with key support from finance and operations, of course). With a centralized project structure in place, you can execute your rebrand along the usual decentralized pathways. More on this topic: Centrally located: rebranding a decentralized organization with a centralized project structure
12. What are some examples of successful rebrands? Following are examples of several successful rebrands with varying dimensions and contexts:
- Caterpillar: brand unification for a complex global network
- Mercy Health: a value-based healthcare rebrand
- Unify: global rebrand with compliance requirements
- Hewlett Packard: splitting one of the world’s largest brands
- Eversource: combining six legacy utility brands into one
At BrandActive, we’ve been partnering with organizations to guide them in implementing brand change for over twenty years. Want to learn more about how we can help you navigate this complex, high-stakes project? Drop us a line.