Ready, set, rebrand: 3 steps to prepare your organization for transformation

Ready, set, rebrand: 3 steps to prepare your organization for transformation

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Wednesday, January 5, 2022 | Andy Pollock

When your organization’s next chapter calls for a rebrand, it’s natural to start asking tactical questions. How do we build a realistic budget? What’s the best way to inventory all our branded assets? How soon do we want to launch? And how long will it take to implement our rebrand from start to finish?

Answering these questions is important, but before you dive headfirst into your implementation plan, it’s crucial to take a step back and assess your organization’s overall readiness for change. How well you’re able to carry out your best laid rebranding plans depends greatly on whether you have the right resources lined up to ensure a successful outcome.

To that end, you’ll need to assess and strengthen several key areas within your organization before you can begin rolling out your new brand in earnest. Take these three steps to prepare for the exciting transformation your rebrand will bring.

1. Secure and communicate executive buy-in for your rebrand

The ultimate success of your rebrand hinges on everyone in your organization (not just the marketing department) fully embracing all that your new brand stands for. If you want your employees to step up as champions and ambassadors of your rebrand, they need to understand why your organization is making this change.

As such, it’s critical for the CEO and the entire executive leadership team to understand and communicate the reasons for the rebrand and the benefits your organization stands to gain. How does the rebrand support your overarching business strategy? In what ways might it position you to edge out the competition or achieve higher levels of market success? What does the change mean for product lines, services, and the ways in which you deliver your brand promise? And what are you ultimately hoping to achieve in terms of propelling your brand forward?

Executive leaders, such as the CMO or CEO, should communicate the rationale for the rebrand and signal their support for the initiative early and often. Furthermore, they should communicate clear expectations regarding what each department’s role will be in the implementation process. By doing so, they’ll reinforce that the brand belongs to everyone.

2. Align with stakeholders across your entire organization

Rebranding success begins with executive buy-in, but it doesn’t end there. You can’t accomplish an undertaking of this size and scale without the support of stakeholders across your organization.

Do your counterparts in other departments understand the operational and logistical impact of making a brand change? Are they aware of what the implementation process will require of them and their teams? Have they carved out adequate time to devote to the project? Do they have the resources to pull off the change? Think through all the dependencies that will impact your success and be sure you bring all necessary parties to the table early in the process.

At a minimum, you’ll need the support of:

  • Your internal marketing team — to carry the day-to-day responsibility of shepherding your rebrand forward.
  • The CFO and the finance area — to evaluate and approve your implementation budget and help you factor in ways to make wise use of your OpEx and CapEx policies.
  • Operations and facilities team members —  to help you take a detailed inventory of all your branded assets and work with you to convert them when the time comes.
  • Digital, IT, and web teams — to achieve brand consistency in all the digital spaces where your brand appears.
  • The legal/regulatory compliance department — to keep you on track with legal filing requirements for M&A-driven rebrands, name changes, and considerations if you are rebranding as part of an IPO.

Rebrands are time-consuming, intense, and complex. You don’t want to risk running out of steam and stalling out before you cross the finish line. So be intentional about reaching alignment and building relationships with stakeholders across your organization. Make sure everyone is aware of — and ready for — the scope of the project coming down the pike.

3. Evaluate and bolster the internal and external resources you’ll need to implement your new brand

Rebranding is a perfect opportunity to assess the strength of your internal team, your agency partners, and the vendors you engage to carry out your vision.

Round out your marketing team with new roles and skills

You need to be sure your brand is positioned for success in an increasingly digital-first environment.

The marketing landscape continues to change rapidly. To effectively support your new brand both immediately and in the long run, identify the skills and roles you need to add to create a well-rounded marketing team. From data analysts who can help you implement a data-driven rebrand to marketers adept at navigating a host of new channels, you need to be sure your brand is positioned for success in an increasingly digital-first environment.

Audit your agency and vendor partnerships

Agency and vendor partners augment your team’s bandwidth and bring niche expertise that can help drive your business forward. But it’s easy for large organizations to lose track of the number of contracted services they’re managing if they aren’t constantly taking stock.

Rebranding is a good opportunity to review your agency and vendor relationships, rationalize which ones to keep and which ones to let go, and optimize performance across the board.

To accomplish this, ask stakeholders across the organization:

  • How many agency partners are you working with? Are you content with those relationships?
  • Are you seeing the value you expect from each agency you are working with?
  • When was the last time you evaluated KPIs related to agency performance?
  • Are you confident in each agency’s ability to deliver your brand promise?
  • How many vendors do you work with to produce branded assets? Are there any areas to eliminate redundancies and reduce costs?
  • When was the last time you compared vendor pricing?
  • Do all our vendors continue to deliver the quality and consistency we expect for our brand?
  • As we roll out a rebrand, should we hire any new agency partners to help us achieve our objectives and reduce the burden on our internal team?

Take time to thoughtfully fill in any gaps in your internal and external teams long before you launch your rebrand. Doing so will increase your chances of rolling out your implementation plan without a hitch.

Complete thorough pre-planning before you approach the rebrand implementation starting line

A runner wouldn’t show up for an important race without completing months (or even years) of intensive training. In the same way, it’s important for you to spend considerable time and energy preparing for rebrand implementation — long before you approach the official starting line.

Assessing the current state of your organization and factoring in all your dependencies is key to not only starting well, but finishing well. Embrace this important part of the rebranding process to give your rebrand the best chance of reaching a successful outcome.

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