Rebranding – so much more than just a name…

Navigating any organisation through a rebrand is a colossal challenge. Let it first be said though, that, a rebrand isn’t simply just about changing a company’s name or logo. Although names and visual assets are important, a rebrand is about so much more than that.

It is about shaping everything an organisation stands for, from its organisational culture, including its vision, mission and values, to its positioning in the market and its proposition to the outside world, as well as how it is viewed internally by employees.

Lisa McGauley, PR Account Manager

Lisa McGauley, PR Account Manager

Any rebrand should be designed to bring about positive change that will help to deliver an improved business identity, which should ultimately help drive business success.

There are many reasons why your business may need to rebrand. Perhaps your brand is outdated, confused, stagnated, or, perhaps your business isn’t performing as well as it could do if it had a strong, clear identity.

You also need to think about your current brand’s value. What impact would changing your brand have? Would your customers even notice, and if they did, would they even care? For some organisations brand value might be less of a consideration, but if you’re one of the world’s top three brands, change could dramatically affect your brand value. It’s safe to say that Apple is without a doubt the world’s most valuable brand, with its value standing at $104.3bn, with Microsoft and Coca-Cola in second and third place respectively at $56.7bn and $54.9bn (source: http://www.forbes.com/powerful-brands/list/)

It is absolutely critical to your business’ success to get a rebrand right first time. Believe me, this isn’t the kind of task you want to be faced with again in a year’s time, so the whole process needs to be treated very strategically, and not least because of the sheer cost of creating a new brand and implementing it.

Internal spread from brand booklet produced for Severfield employees

Internal spread from brand booklet produced for Severfield employees

Creating a new logo and changing a company’s name warrants one cost but actually rolling it out can be many multiples of this initial investment, so getting it right first time, maintaining the momentum and ensuring it is implemented fully and communicated clearly to every single one of your stakeholders – internally and externally – is critical to the process.

Lisa - Wordle

There’s also your credibility to think about. If you embark on the rebrand journey, you must see it through, from research, to concept, to rollout, every step must be carried out carefully and thoroughly. Rebranding is no flash in the pan exercise.

One of the main things to consider before you set off on your rebranding journey is resource. Who is going to ‘rebrand you’? If you don’t have sufficient skills in-house, now is the time to either appoint them or bring in a specialist agency (or agencies) to handle the process for you.

So, here are my top ten tips on rebranding:

1. Make a plan – Everyone knows the old adage ‘prior preparation prevents p*** poor performance’, so, set out your objectives for the rebrand from the outset. Be clear about what you want to achieve, who is responsible for what and when you want to achieve it by.

2. Appoint a manager – Task somebody to manage the delivery of the new brand and its implementation/roll-out. Having someone who is accountable for the whole process will allow you to concentrate on your business priorities, whilst ensuring that your rebranding objectives are realised.

3. Secure management buy-in – Ensure you take management on the rebrand journey too. With your leaders and other influential managers on board you’ll have a veritable army of brand advocates to help cascade rebrand updates to the wider organisation, at the same time as adding credibility and legitimacy to your message.

4. Engage with employees at every level in the organisation – Get a good understanding of how they feel about the current brand and what improvements they think could be made. And then continue to engage with them throughout the process.

5. Speak to your customers – Engaging with your customers will give you a good picture of their perception of your current brand and this can really help inform the process, whilst having the added benefit of letting your key customers know that their opinions and feedback matter to you.

6. Conduct a brand audit – Review the physical aspects of your current brand – where does it feature? How is it used (and misused)? Create an inventory that will help form part of your roll-out plan.

7. Create a roll-out plan – Once you have agreed on what your new brand will be and all the associated elements I mentioned before (proposition, vision, mission, values etc), get your plan down on paper. Include everything, no matter how small, from stationery to signage to the development of a new company website.

8. Launch your new brand – Communicate your new brand and vision to all your stakeholders, internally and externally. Explain – via multiple channels – why the business has rebranded, what the changes will be, what they mean for employees and what they mean for the future success of the business. Write to your customers and suppliers and explain the changes and what it means for them. Everyone needs to understand and believe in the new brand in order for it to succeed.

9. Stick to the plan – You may have launched your new brand but do not take your foot off the gas now. Commit to what you have set out to do and ensure that the new brand is implemented fully across the business. Sharing brand guidelines will empower your staff to be brand advocates by giving them the tools to work with the new brand correctly.

10. Research, evaluate and communicate – and then research, evaluate and communicate some more! These three elements are fundamental to a successful rebrand programme.

Read about how we helped the UK’s leading structural steel company, responsible for such iconic projects as The Shard, the Emirates Stadium and the Leadenhall Building (AKA ‘the Cheesegrater’), through the monumental task of rebranding here: http://www.acceleris-mc.com/severfield_2014_branding_website_communications_case_study.htm

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