What to expect when you’re expecting a rebrand: your guide to successful implementation

What to expect when you’re expecting a rebrand: your guide to successful implementation

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Friday, September 17, 2021 | Kavya Paul, Adrea Fink

When you’re in the early stages of planning a rebrand, it’s normal to have more questions than answers about how to proceed. And that’s especially true if you’ve never been through a rebrand before. It’s hard to fathom the enormity of the challenge ahead of you — let alone accurately estimate how much it will cost and how long it will take to complete.

The truth is a rebrand almost always costs more than you think and takes longer than you anticipate. Engaging an experienced implementation expert can help you navigate this uncharted territory. A good partner will help you stay organized, identify and address the risks that could derail your best-laid plans, and complete your rebrand on time and under budget.

To help you understand the intricacies a rebrand will entail, we’ll walk you through the first six months of what a typical engagement with BrandActive looks like. This will enable you to imagine the scope of your upcoming rebrand and determine what it will take to achieve a successful outcome.

Phase 1: Understanding your rebrand’s strategy and scope

A successful rebranding implementation requires understanding the overarching reasons for why you’re embarking on this endeavor in the first place. Therefore, in the first 30-60 days of a new client engagement, we hold kickoff meetings to understand your rebrand strategy and gather high-level information from key functional areas to better understand your organization and the situation.

Defining your rebrand strategy

There are three tiers of strategy that will impact your rebrand implementation plan:

  1. Your overarching business strategy. This is the high-level strategy that is fundamental to your organization’s business goals. And it’s usually the trigger for the decision to rebrand. To understand your big-picture objectives, we ask questions like: What are your long-term business goals? Where are you going? What is your position in your market? How will your rebrand help you reach these objectives?
  2. Your brand strategy. This strategy defines your goals for your brand as a whole. To understand this part of the equation, we ask: What do you want your brand to stand for? What message does your brand convey to your target audience? How do you plan to use your rebrand to propel your brand forward? (You’ve likely worked with a brand strategy agency to answer these questions.)
  3. Your rebrand strategy. Every rebrand is different, but it is common for your brand strategy to be worked on concurrently with your rebrand strategy (and 100% after your business strategy). Marrying these two steps allows you to think about both where this change is taking your brand, and how you are going to actually implement that change.

Reaching alignment across all three tiers of strategy is critical so that we can create an effective and realistic implementation plan.

Exploring your rebrand’s dependencies and scale

During a series of kickoff meetings, interviews, and scenario planning workshops, we gather data to understand your project’s dependencies and scope. In these sessions, we delve into questions like:

  • Which stakeholders need to be part of this process? Who has the autonomy and authority to make decisions? Are there influencers who can help make recommendations along the way?
  • What are the biggest obstacles to your success? Are there sticking points you’re worried about?
  • Who are the vendors you currently work with to produce assets, collateral, signage, and other branded touchpoints? Are there any redundancies that can be identified and eliminated?
  • Does your organization struggle with brand consistency? If yes, in what ways and in what areas?
  • How many branded assets will be converted? Do you have a comprehensive inventory already? If not, who will we work with to gather a complete list of all touchpoints?
  • Who manages your branded assets across various departments and locations?
  • Do you have records of how much it costs to brand your assets? Can we compile invoices or budgetary reports to estimate the total cost to rebrand everything?
  • Are there legal implications we need to keep in mind for this rebrand? For example, are you rebranding due to a merger or acquisition and, if so, what does the deal specify in terms of timeline and compliance?
  • How do you want to launch your rebrand? Do you want to make a big splash or roll it out more methodically?

From here, we create workgroups to gather available data, formulate a preliminary plan and cost estimate, and develop an appropriate implementation strategy. And if data isn’t available, we make assumptions based on the benchmarks we’ve developed over the course of hundreds of rebrand engagements. This phase typically takes around eight weeks to complete.

Phase 2: Finalizing a concrete rebrand implementation plan and budget

On or about the 60-day mark, we shift our focus from high-level strategies to tactical planning. This is when we lay out your launch strategy, create a roadmap for converting your branded assets, and build an implementation plan and refine initial cost estimates into a formal budget.

During this phase, we work together to:

  • Finalize your launch strategy and accelerate planning for anything that needs to be completed prior to the launch date.
  • Prioritize which branded assets need to be converted prior to launch.
  • Identify the vendors and stakeholders who will execute the transition.
  • Establish governance guidelines to facilitate a more efficient rebrand process that can help ensure better brand consistency over time.
  • Meet weekly or bi-weekly with workgroups to develop all elements of the implementation plan and keep the process on track.
  • Create metrics that will help you demonstrate your rebrand’s ROI.

Converting all your branded assets is likely to be the most complex and expensive part of your rebrand. But rebranding is a great opportunity to simplify and rationalize your current processes and take steps that will lead to better long-term brand compliance across your organization. Furthermore, it’s a great time to tackle projects that elevate your brand with your audience.

For example, say you’re a healthcare organization working toward enhanced, patient-centric care. Perhaps you’ve considered implementing a new scrub color program so that patients can quickly identify team members’ roles based on the color of the scrubs they wear. A rebrand is the perfect time to roll this out. Since you’ll need to replace all your branded uniforms as part of the implementation process, you can implement the scrub color program as part of the rebrand. No extra cost is incurred.

We love helping clients identify opportunities to increase the strategic impact of the rebranding implementation process.

Phase 3: Launching your rebrand and rolling it out holistically

Around the 180-day mark, most clients have launched their new brand (or are about to). So, phase 3 is largely focused on rollout — and it’s when you’ll begin to see your new brand come to life. All the plans we’ve put in place take shape, and our goal is to keep everything functioning like a well-oiled machine.

To keep things moving smoothly, we serve as a liaison between marketing, IT, HR, facilities, and outside vendors to ensure a seamless transition of branded assets. This includes overseeing the conversion of signage, fleet vehicles, uniforms, badges, print materials, website, and more. The workplan during this phase is highly customized to optimize your organization’s execution strengths, and fill in the gaps.

And of course, we continue to communicate regularly with workgroups to keep everything on schedule, address any roadblocks or issues as they arise, and report progress to executive leadership.

Ready to get your rebrand moving in the right direction?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed now that you have an idea of your rebrand’s massive scale, remember: you don’t have to do this alone. We’ve been down this road before. We know how to plan for every contingency, develop a realistic and comprehensive budget, and take your rebrand all the way across the finish line.

Ready to get started? We’d love to hear from you.

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