No one can implement a rebrand on their own. Large corporate initiatives rise or fall on the strength of the relationships project owners forge with stakeholders and partners. And since rebranding is a significant endeavor that requires considerable resources, you’ll need a committed group of allies at your side.
Of course, the primary person you need in your corner is your CEO. Top-down support for a rebrand is the number one factor in reaching a successful outcome. If you don’t have that yet, start there.
But who are the other influencers and workers you’ll count on to make your rebrand a reality? How can you gain their support and buy-in? And what resources and information do they need in order to bring your vision to life?
No two rebrands are exactly alike. It’s important to assemble your rebrand implementation team based on your organization’s unique needs and situation. But to get started, here’s an overview of the top 5 people and groups who are crucial to your rebrand’s ultimate success.
1. Your CFO — to provide financial support for your rebrand implementation plan
Much like you need the right people on your team to roll out a rebrand, you also need adequate resources to fund your implementation budget. And keep in mind: your rebrand’s launch is just the beginning. You’ll need to develop realistic, multi-year financial projections to ensure you can finish what you start.
Your CFO may understand the strategic reasons for your rebrand. But that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically earn their approval of your implementation budget. You need to show that this rebrand is more than another expense.
To win your CFO’s allyship, be prepared to demonstrate:
- The ways in which your rebrand supports your organization’s strategic objectives
- A big picture view of your rebrand’s entire scope — and detailed information about all the costs involved
- The upfront financial investment you’ll require and the amount that can be allocated in future fiscal years
- How your organization’s CapEx and OpEx policies can make the financial impact of your rebrand more palatable
- A thoughtful, prioritized branded asset transition plan that makes wise use of each department’s existing operational budgets
- Efficiencies and cost-saving opportunities resulting from your rebrand
Your CFO is responsible for allocating your organization’s financial assets wisely and judiciously. Demonstrate that you understand the implications of what you’re asking for. And ultimately, be flexible as you work together to finalize a budget you each can live with.
2. Senior members of your marketing team — to champion the rationale for your rebrand across the organization
Your brand belongs to your entire organization. But it’s only natural that your marketing team might feel a stronger emotional connection to it than other team members. After all, they’ve thought through every nuance of how your brand represents your organization’s values. And if they’ve developed a deep attachment to your legacy brand, they may have mixed feelings about retiring it and embracing a new identity.
This ambivalence has the potential to derail your best-laid plans, especially if your marketing function is decentralized. Employees will ask your marketing leaders if they agree with your plans to rebrand. They’ll pay attention to any off-the-cuff remarks or comments that indicate your team isn’t fully on board. And they’ll follow your management team’s cues.
That’s why it’s so important for your marketing leaders to believe in your rebrand and deliver consistent top-down messaging. So be crystal-clear about the reasons for your rebrand. As much as practical, keep them in the loop as the new strategy and design are developed. Address questions and concerns long before you begin the implementation process. And make sure your marketing team is in lockstep as you prepare your organization for transformation.
3. Operational leaders — to execute every last detail of your rebrand
Your colleagues in Operations (e.g. IT, HR, Facilities, Legal, etc.) will execute the lion’s share of your boots-on-the-ground rebrand implementation plan. And as your rebrand’s project champion, it’s important to realize that you’re adding a significant amount of work to their already full plates.
These valued partners may:
- Manage the conversion strategy for the branded assets in their area
- Work with vendors and communicate across partner channels to update digital and physical touchpoints
- Collaborate with you to train employees on your brand values and guidelines
- Ensure your corporation complies with any related legal requirements (especially when rebranding due to an M&A deal or as part of an IPO)
To gain these stakeholders’ unwavering support, demonstrate that you empathize with the reality of what you’re asking of them. But beyond that, look for ways to make it as simple as possible for them to do this correctly and efficiently.
For example, consider hiring additional vendors to speed up the branded asset conversion process. And remember that a rebranding implementation partner can help your operations teams think through every detail so they don’t miss a single thing.
4. External partners — to help you introduce your new brand to the world
Introducing your new brand to the world requires thoughtful, strategic communication. Without a doubt, you’ll rely on a number of partners to help you deliver your message in all the appropriate channels. These might include:
- Your branding agency
- Creatives and graphic designers
- PR & media relations specialists
- Event planners to orchestrate your rebrand’s launch
Each partner needs to understand what all the others are working on to eliminate redundancy and maximize effectiveness.
The danger here is that each of these groups will tend to work in silos. It’s incumbent on you — or on your rebrand implementation partner — to bring everyone together and create a cohesive plan. Each individual or group needs to understand what all the others are working on to eliminate redundancy and maximize effectiveness.
We’ve found it’s particularly useful to bring all your external partners together for joint ideation meetings. Rather than solely focusing on defining each group’s responsibilities, invite everyone to share their best ideas and concepts. Then assign tasks and initiatives to the groups best positioned to carry them out.
Once your rebrand plans are finalized, share salient details about your new identity with industry analysts and investor relations representatives. That way they’ll be prepared to communicate your story to market influencers and the media, not write their own.
5. Your frontline employees — to serve as true ambassadors of your rebrand
At NASA, everyone from rocket scientists to custodial staff know that their job is to put astronauts in space by creating an environment in which everyone can do their best work. That’s a powerful example of how every role in an organization can support an overarching mission or goal.
Hopefully, your frontline employees embody that same spirit as they consistently and effectively deliver your brand promise to your audience. But if these team members aren’t on board with your rebrand, they could dilute and undermine your organizational message. On the other hand, if they’re fully bought in, they’ll go above and beyond to embody everything your brand stands for.
There are several ways to make employees ambassadors of your rebrand. Fun launch events, informative town halls, and share-worthy videos are a good place to start. Clear expectations and an in-depth overview of what they can expect in terms of when your rebrand will be rolled out are also helpful.
But remember: your employees talk to each other more than they interact with you and other leaders. So, consider creating a peer-to-peer advocate program in each of your audience-facing departments. Identify influential personalities who can cascade your message to their coworkers, thereby reinforcing the brand training you provide at a high level.
Rely on an extended network of support to roll out your rebrand
Implementing a rebrand requires strong leadership and an unwavering commitment to reaching your organization’s overarching business goals. But it also requires fortitude, endurance, and a healthy dose of teamwork. It’s up to you to provide the vision and the resources to make your rebrand possible. But beyond that, you’ll need to rely on an extended network of support to make that vision a reality.
Obtain that all-important C-suite support first. Then rally your organization’s marketing leaders, operational stakeholders, external partners, and frontline employees for the challenge that lies ahead. Together you can cross the rebrand implementation finish line.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of considerations to bear in mind and appreciate the benefits of having been there, done that many times, we’re here to help you rally the support you need. Just reach out.