Don’t embark on a rebrand until you ask 5 expert-level questions

Don’t embark on a rebrand until you ask 5 expert-level questions

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022 | Philip Guiliano

Changing your brand is a strategic decision to advance your organization’s goals and objectives. As such, the implementation choices you make must align with the overarching business strategy you need to achieve.

But marketing leaders often forge ahead with their rebranding plans without considering how the implementation process could integrate with other projects and priorities. Suppose they’ve never been through a rebrand before. In that case, it’s easy to overlook ways to increase their brand’s value in the market and different ways of approaching it that may affect cost, efficiency, and risk. They may not be familiar with how to leverage rebranding to save money into the future, nor how to ease the toll implementation can take on team members.

That’s why it’s so important to lean on the expertise of an external partner who has been through this process before.

BrandActive has helped countless organizations develop their implementation plans through the lens of their strategic goals. With those experiences in mind, BrandActive partner Philip Guiliano lays out five key questions to ask early in the rebranding process so you can make the most of the opportunities brand change affords.

1. Which type of rebrand will best support our long-term strategic goals?

Rebranding shouldn’t be thought of as a short-term solution to immediate problems. Nor should current realities necessarily constrain its size and scope. Yet some organizations enter a rebrand with preconceived notions about which direction to take.

For example, your CEO might think it’s too expensive to change your organization’s name and advocate for a logo refresh as a result. Likewise, your CFO might balk at the overall price tag, not realizing how time, asset strategy and prioritization, and other factors can reduce costs while still achieving the right business strategy.

A successful rebrand is about more than converting all your branded assets on time and under budget.

If you want to tap into a rebrand’s full impact, you need to put concerns like these aside until you think through every dynamic at play.

For example, is your brand strategy geared toward:

Answering those questions is the critical first step in determining whether you should:

  • Completely overhaul your existing brand, which might include changing your organization’s name
  • Refresh or otherwise modernize your logo to express your brand identity better
  • Elevate your positioning and messaging to communicate your brand promise
  • Update or reorganize your brand architecture to increase brand value and market share

The point here is that business strategy should drive the desire for change. With that clear, a rebrand implementation partner can help you model different scenarios to achieve that objective within your operational, financial, employee, and market realities.

2. How can we balance brand impact with our organization’s financial constraints?

Investing in the right brand strategy will drive significant growth and revenue opportunities. These will benefit your organization far more than the cost required to achieve those aims. That’s why your budget should not be the deciding factor when making strategic business decisions.

Still, your CEO and CFO will need to understand the financial implications of your rebrand. And, especially if your organization is preparing for negative economic headwinds, they’ll expect to see that you’ve weighed various options to minimize the impact on your bottom line.

BrandActive can lead you through scenario planning exercises to explore questions like:

  • Are there large-scale initiatives (e.g., a new building project, hiring initiative, or data conversion project) we plan to undertake in the next one to three years? If so, are there opportunities to integrate them with our rebrand to make wise use of shared resources?
  • What are the high-priority branded assets that must be converted before launch as opposed to those that can be transitioned over time?
  • When do departments typically order or update the assets under their purview (e.g., fleet vehicles, workwear, documents/collateral)? Could we tap into these operational cycles to avoid rebranding assets twice?
  • Are there opportunities to take advantage of our organization’s CapEx policies to classify expenses strategically?
  • Could we save costs by reevaluating the level of quality we expect for certain assets?
  • Are we sure the vendors we use are providing the best service at the best price?

The earlier you can model these scenarios and use them to inform your implementation plan, the more cost-effective and strategic your rebrand will be.

3. What constitutes success for our rebrand?

A successful rebrand is about more than converting all your branded assets on time and under budget. Yes, those are desirable outcomes to strive for. But to accurately measure your rebrand’s impact in terms of your business strategy, you need to clearly define what big-picture success looks like.

This ties back to your overarching business goals. Are you embarking on a rebrand to acquire customers? Achieve market growth? Stop a decline in your business? Prepare for an acquisition? Migrate your sub-brands into a cohesive brand architecture? Whatever the case may be, do you have the quantitative and qualitative data you’ll need to measure your performance against your goals?

Be sure to carve out time to gather all the salient data you’ll need long before your rebrand begins so that you have the right data prior to rebranding to measure the baseline. That way, you can compare each metric before, during, and after your rebrand’s launch to tangibly measure your success along the way.

4. How should we approach our rebrand from a change management perspective?

Gaining buy-in from internal stakeholders is integral to your rebrand’s success. After all, you expect your employees to live out your brand’s values every day. Therefore, it’s essential to carefully consider how your brand change will impact and affect these potential ambassadors.

Whether your organization approaches change management using a top-down communication style or a more collaborative approach, it’s important to be as open as possible about projects involving large-scale change. True, you may not be free to broadcast your intent to rebrand in the earliest days of the planning process. However, you can still bring your organization along and prepare your team for the shift to come.

For example, you might:

  • Share reasons why it’s time to reevaluate and strengthen your market position
  • Provide a high-level overview of the strategic objectives and goals you’re trying to reach
  • Invite employees to share candid perceptions of the current brand
  • Conduct surveys or hold focus groups to discuss unmet audience needs and opportunities to fill those gaps

Giving employees a voice is a powerful way to prepare employees to accept — and even embrace — organizational change.

5. How can we streamline brand and marketing operations during rebranding?

Rebranding is the optimal time to improve business processes and boost organizational agility. Why? It reaches across every facet of your organization and impacts each person and element of your business.

Put simply, rebranding gives you a unique opportunity to evaluate what you do every day, how you do it, and who you do it with. At a minimum, explore questions like:

  • Is it time to centralize (or decentralize) our marketing shop?
  • Are there processes and controls we need to document to improve brand consistency?
  • Do employees understand their roles and responsibilities? Have we created decision trees to help them function as autonomously as possible?
  • Are we ready to invest in emerging technologies such as asset management systems or workflow tools?
  • Are employees across the organization empowered to create their own assets? If so, have we provided adequate brand training and support?
  • Do employees know which vendors to use when replacing or updating branded assets?

You need your team to execute your brand strategy for the long haul. To make that possible, optimizing your brand and marketing operations must be a vital part of your rebrand.

Seize your rebrand’s strategic potential

Your rebrand can only make the strategic impact you envision if you implement it thoughtfully and thoroughly. Doing so requires you to build an implementation plan that aligns with your business strategy and accounts for every operational detail.

This is too critical of an endeavor—with too many complexities—to go it alone. BrandActive knows every question to ask and every scenario to explore. We’ve helped hundreds of clients roll out strategic, operationally sound rebrands — and we’d be delighted to help you, too. Let’s talk.

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