Rebranding is a massive undertaking that has the potential to transform your organization for years to come. To pull it off without a hitch, you’ll need to invest significant amounts of time, energy, and money, likely over a period of years. That means it’s crucial to ask the right questions at the outset — long before you start the implementation process — to position your rebrand for success.
These are the top 10 questions every marketer should be prepared to ask and answer in order to develop and execute a robust implementation plan.
1. What business strategies and goals must our rebrand support?
Every choice you make during the implementation process can either further your organizational objectives or detract from them. That’s why it’s so important for your overarching business strategy, as well as brand strategy, to drive every decision.
Say you’re rebranding because you’re launching a new suite of products that will redefine your company’s position in the market. In this scenario, your likely business goal is to gain an advantage over your competitors. Therefore, rolling out the rebrand quickly might be your most important objective. While you can absolutely achieve a fast implementation, you need to understand that a truncated timeline will lead to a higher price tag and likely require significant external resources for the rebrand to run smoothly.
By contrast, if your business strategy is to roll out a rebrand that minimizes the financial impact, you will make an entirely different set of decisions. It all comes down to alignment between strategy and implementation.
2. When should we start developing our rebrand implementation plan?
The ideal time to start building your implementation plan is as soon as you start creating your brand’s new identity. Why? Marketing teams often dive head-first into designing their new brand. They diligently pore over every creative detail to choose just the right identity to reflect the organization’s new ethos. But they often don’t realize that every strategic choice they make will have implications for the implementation process itself.
Furthermore, planning ahead can help you build a budget that makes the most of your organization’s infrastructure, resources, and operational budgets, including CapEx and OpEx policies. This can greatly increase your chances of winning the executive approvals you need to bring your vision to life.
Put simply, start planning as early as you can.
3. Which launch strategy is right for our rebrand?
Once you’ve determined which business objectives your rebrand needs to support, you can determine how to launch your rebrand based on those objectives.
For example, if you’re rebranding as a part of an IPO or capitalizing on favorable market conditions, you may need to choose a launch strategy that makes a splash. This will require a large up-front budget so you can convert high-priority branded assets quickly and announce your brand change rapidly.
By contrast, if you’re rebranding due to an M&A or because your organizational values have evolved over time, you might want to elongate your rollout. A longer implementation period coupled with a strong communication plan gives you the opportunity to introduce your new brand thoughtfully and methodically. This can help you gain buy-in from stakeholders and make employees true ambassadors of your rebrand.
4. Can we fit rebrand implementation into our existing marketing plans?
It’s a fair question, but it’s not usually feasible to roll rebrand implementation into your existing marketing plans. For one thing, your rebrand could take multiple years to complete, and most marketing teams now chart their strategies on a quarterly rather than an annual basis.
It’s also unlikely you have sufficient funding built into your standard marketing operating budget to launch a new brand and convert all your branded assets. And your internal team will need help from stakeholders across the organization as well as agencies and vendors to handle all the ins and outs that rebranding requires.
This level of complexity requires a standalone, meticulous plan.
5. Why is it important to model multiple rebranding scenarios?
Scenario planning brings a level of rigor and reality to branding decisions that is difficult to achieve in any other way. It also helps you gain flexibility and avoid unnecessary spending by analyzing the impact of every decision you make. Are you completely repositioning your brand at a high level? Creating a new visual identity that is vastly different from the one you’re currently known for? Changing your name? Or simply evolving subtle elements of your brand colors and logo? Each of those branding decisions presents a unique set of related implications and comes with its own price tag.
Scenario planning is particularly beneficial if you’re still working with a branding agency to determine exactly what your brand change will look like. But even if you’re further along in the planning process, modeling out a variety of possible scenarios will help you build contingency plans to navigate whatever comes your way. And building projections based on a variety of assumptions enables you to make the case for the budget your vision demands — and pivot quickly if you don’t get approval for all the elements you hoped for.
6. How long will it take to fully implement our rebrand from start to finish?
Rebranding almost always takes longer than you think it will. But how long it ultimately takes is entirely up to your unique situation and is fully dependent on your rebrand’s size and scope.
Are you a digital company that is simply converting your identity on your website and in other digital spaces? If so, you might be able to roll out a fast rebrand in less than a year. But if you’re a complex, multinational corporation with hundreds of locations and thousands of physical branded assets to convert, it could take several years to reach the finish line.
It’s also important to factor in the dependencies that will affect your ability to carry out your plans. You may not have much control over elements like legal and regulatory compliance filings. They can move at a much slower pace than you’d like. Additionally, you’ll need to factor in how quickly your internal team and external agencies/vendors can complete their parts of the process.
7. How much will all this cost — and how do I build a comprehensive budget?
As with every area of your rebrand implementation plan, your business objectives should be the North Star that guides you in building your budget. Knowing what you’re trying to achieve — and gathering comprehensive data about all the branded assets you’ll need to convert — are key to developing realistic, workable financial plans.
Your implementation budget and your timeline will go hand in hand. The more money you have to spend, the faster your implementation can be. But if you’re on a tighter budget, be prepared to prioritize what needs to be addressed immediately and determine what can ultimately wait. That might mean converting high-impact assets quickly and updating others when they’re due to be replaced operationally.
8. What’s the best way to engage employees in the rebranding process?
Giving out new branded swag can be a fun way to introduce employees to your new identity. But you must engage your employees in far deeper ways than simply handing out apparel and office supplies.
Your employees are the living, breathing personification of your brand to your audience.
Your employees are the living, breathing personification of your brand to your audience. And in order for them to represent your brand consistently and appropriately, they must thoroughly understand the why behind your rebrand. Therefore, think through how to thoroughly engage your employees on the nuances and complexities of what your brand stands for.
9. Who should be on our core rebranding team?
Your rebranding team should be led by a well-connected colleague who knows your organization and is able to navigate conversations with employees at all levels. You’ll want members of your marketing and communications team to be part of this effort as well. And be sure to round out your team with stakeholders from key locations and functional areas like HR, IT, and Finance, who can help you achieve a successful outcome by bringing their subject matter and domain expertise around many organizational and external requirements.
Of course, an expert implementation partner can also serve as a liaison between your core rebranding team and the agencies, vendors, and stakeholders who all have a part to play in making your implementation a reality.
10. If my internal team isn’t equipped to handle implementation, what external resources should I consider?
By now, you’re likely getting a sense of the enormity of the task ahead of you and your team. And you may be wondering if you have the internal resources necessary to pull it off.
The likely answer? Probably not. In today’s world, your employees are already asked to do more and more with fewer resources. And you can expect rebranding to add as much as a half to full-time workload to their already full plates. So don’t shy away from engaging agencies and vendors who can supplement the talent your team brings to the table. Bringing the right partners on board could be the key to achieving a successful end result.
BrandActive knows how to navigate the many challenges implementing a rebrand brings. So if you want the peace of mind an expert implementation partner can offer, just reach out. We’d love to help.