For many businesses, their worst fear is having a rebranding project go by the wayside. This is why many leaders shy away from this altogether.
Why are you rebranding?
The most successful rebrands often come from having a deep understanding of why a company is rebranding in the first place. A change in direction, loss of market share to competitors, new services or products, not understanding who they really are, not getting or retaining qualified talent, are all acceptable and justifiable reasons to initiate the process.
On the flip side, unsuccessful rebranding projects often have no rhyme or reason to warrant a rebrand. These remarks often include statements such as “it’s just time for a change” or “we feel outdated”. And while these may be surface level beliefs that are grounds for the change or justification to drive it, if there is no value served for a rebrand, it’s going to be a difficult process to go through with any agency or freelancer. Why? Because there is often a misunderstanding of what actually goes into a rebrand. People often think that it’s as easy as dreaming up a few logo concepts based on what the company wants, tweaking and making some color adjustments, and presto! You have yourself a rebrand.
The logo is not the problem, nor is it considered a rebrand. Some of the most successful companies like Google, Facebook and Ikea use basic, elementary logos. And yet, these are three uber-successful companies in the world. So if you’re going to go through a whole rebranding process just to get a new logo on the company stationary, you’re doing it for the wrong reason.
Are you really ready for a rebrand?
A rebrand is strategic, deliberate, and carefully planned. It can be months in the making. If you’re going to go through the risk of completely changing your company, you need to make sure that you’re doing it the right way. A true rebrand means redefining your brand promise to both your customers and your employees and using design as the means to communicate that message.
What’s a brand promise? While there are many definitions that you can find, here’s how I like to summarize the brand promise: a brand promise is the statement that your company makes that connects your purpose, position, strategy, people, and customer experience.
If you’ve determined that it’s time to rebrand your company, here are our top 5 strategic considerations that will guide you through the process.
1. Start with why and tie it to the ROI
While it’s good to understand why your rebranding, it’s equally important to fully understand what your purpose is as a company. Why does your company do what it does? Why do you sell XYZ products and services? Does it help people? Does it turn them into superheros? Why is that important? Dive deep and take the time to answer these questions. You’ll also want to have goals associated with the rebranding project to determine what will make it successful or not. Understand your short and long-term goals, challenges, weaknesses, opportunities, and timelines for hitting these milestones.
2. Get buy-in from employees and customers
When you’re going through a major change that’s going to impact not just the company, but those who serve and buy from it, it’s in your best interest to get their perspectives. Why? For employees, it makes them feel valued, makes them more understanding and supportive of the change, and when employees feel valued, productivity, moral, and ownership in the day to day responsibilities increases. You want them onboard with this decision because your brand starts with your people. They are often the first person or experience that customers have with your brand, so their perspective matters. For customers, you’ll want to know and understand why they buy from you. By having an honest conversation, you’ll often uncover hidden nuggets of gold that you didn’t know existed when it comes to your brand and your unique offering that you can leverage when forming your brand promise.
3. Know your buyers— and their true experience with the company
I was once in a meeting with a business owner who insisted that he knew who his customers were and how they interacted and bought from their company. He defined them as 55-year old males that were traditional and preferred old-school business ways. The customer picked up the phone, rarely visited the website, and social media was the furthest thing from their mind. Almost everything with the company’s current marketing reflected an outdated business model tailored to that demographic. And that’s as far as they went when it came to understanding their customer. But what he didn’t see or understand was the way his 55-year old customer experienced the company. You see, his ideal customer wasn’t the one even doing the initial research. He had a tech-savvy millennial assistant doing the leg work for him by making the calls and doing the initial research. The ideal customer was just the final decision maker. The lesson learned and the gap that the particular company had was not tailoring their marketing to the gatekeeper, who was ultimately assisting with the decision-making process.
4. Think long-term
It can be a long and expensive process, so be sure that you are thinking long-term. Do your employees share the same values as the company? Do you have the right infrastructure in place that enhances both the employee and customer experience? The decisions that you are making now will likely show their impact in the next 1-5 years, so it’s crucial to take the time to make sure you are crossing all of your T’s and dotting the I’s.
5. Be Bold
It’s a mistake to try and look like your competitors, so stop obsessing over what they are doing. While it’s important to recognize what they are doing when it comes to communicating and selling themselves to prospects and customers, it’s far more advantageous to do something different all together. Because if you all look the same, feel the same, and have the same products and services, a prospect isn’t going to know who they should choose. So be bold. Be brave. And think outside of the box.
Go for it!
A rebranding is a great way to reinvent your company, and when it’s done properly can ultimately turn a company around and create a loyal customer following. Once you’ve gone through the process, be sure that the momentum doesn’t fade away. Be sure that your next steps include strategic marketing campaigns that will keep your company on the rise for years to come.