The rebrand. Perhaps the greatest project a marketing department can take on, and certainly one of the biggest opportunities for it to step up and shape an organisation’s direction. Done well, a rebrand will bring about an organisation’s future success. Done badly, it can spell the beginning of the end.
So how do you ensure that your rebrand is a success? This article will give you plenty of useful tips on how to maximise your chances, including a great way to ensure you ace the most fraught and critical part of all: the roll-out of the new brand.
But first, an important question: why rebrand?
What’s the reason for the rebrand? Is your organisation fairly young and has outgrown its original branding? Is it changing the product or service it offers? Is it moving into a new market, or hoping to attract a new customer demographic? Or has its style simply been left behind by changing fashions?
If you are unable to pin the reason for the rebrand on a convincing “why”, then you may as well forget the whole thing and spend the colossal amount of resource required for a rebrand on something else altogether.
Why? Because the “why” is the bedrock on which every decision relating to the rebrand will be made. Not only that, it’s also how you will justify or explain the rebrand to your existing customers. You can expect stakeholders to be a lot more receptive to a rebrand when they understand the reason behind it.
And “colossal” is no overstatement for the potential cost of a rebrand: BP’s 2000 logo change cost a reported $211 million. While the BPs of this world are few and far between, even smaller companies should prepare for a five- or six-figure bill. Rolling out a new brand is a costly exercise.
A goal without a plan is just a wish
Once you have established that a rebrand is a good idea – with a robust business case – it’s time to plan. Consider what the rebrand will entail. It’s a lot more than simply a logo change. A brand encompasses an organisation’s entire external appearance, and it should be cohesive and consistent.
Just as the clothes we wear give others an impression of who we are, your brand should reflect your organisation’s character. A modern, vibrant logo will look plain wrong if it’s paired with a website populated with stuffy, formal copy: the brand equivalent of rocking trainers with a cummerbund.
Look at your organisation’s mission, visuals, tone of voice, positioning and everything in between. Consider how each element should be changed to match the objective you identified at the “why” stage.
Establish your budget and a realistic timeline for the rebrand, including major milestones. A good rule of thumb is to expect everything to take roughly twice as long, and cost twice as much, as you initially think it will. As Hofstadter’s Law says, “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.”
The more you know
Plan in place, step one is to speak to stakeholders. Interview customers and staff. If resource allows, ask an external agency to carry out a brand audit. Consult as many people as you can on what your organisation means to them and what its current branding says, and identify any discrepancies between the two.
Don’t expect to incorporate all this feedback into the rebrand: trying to please everyone is a sure way to please no-one at all. But the more information you have on how your organisation is perceived, the better equipped you will be to identify how the brand needs to change.
Pitfalls, and how to avoid them
When planning your rebrand, bear in mind that your customers probably don’t really care too much about your logo or graphics. What they care about is what your rebrand means for the service or product you provide. How will it positively affect their experience of your organisation? Why should they care?
Crucially, be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater by doing away with the things that brought your customers to you in the first place. Explain how your organisation’s new direction will still deliver the service or product they love, but will now be able to provide even more besides.
Most rebrands are designed to attract new customers, but don’t let that come at the expense of alienating your current ones. Plan to cater for them too – reinvigorate their interest in your organisation.
Making it happen
Okay, so you’ve established your vision, hatched your plan and listened to your stakeholders – now it’s time to execute.
Get everything ready behind the scenes, ready for launch day. Keep communication channels with your customers open and be sure to let them know if the changes mean they have to update any processes themselves, such as amending invoice details.
Keep internal communication channels open too: every member of staff should feel invested in the rebrand, and keeping them informed on its progress is essential to that. The personality of an organisation, as reflected by its branding, rubs off on its staff. Your colleagues will be the main ambassadors for your new brand.
Minimising the limbo period
And now for the really scary part: launch day. It’s time to roll out the rebrand. Your number one aim here is to move from old to new as seamlessly as possible – the last thing you want is legacy assets with your old branding existing alongside your new materials, confusing your customers and diluting your brand identity.
Ideally you will have prepared a new website (whether fresh or based on a clone of your existing one), and will be able to simply switch over to it. You will have recalled or deleted all your old corporate literature and templates, and be poised to roll out all the new-look materials at once, ready to be put into action right away.
Reality, however, is rarely ideal. Especially for larger companies, such as those with networks of branches or shops, recalling all those assets which have suddenly become obsolete is easier said than done. You can remove them from your server, and communicate to your staff to only use new materials, but if there are versions stored locally you can be sure they will somehow live on.
Rolling out a new brand, the easy way
Fortunately, there are systems available that can make this decidedly unsexy part of the rebrand process a lot simpler and less of a headache. An online marketing portal like ROI360 is designed to support the rebrand roll-out by serving as a unified source for all branded materials.
Artwork, invoice templates, terms and conditions, social media banners, adverts – everything that carries your branding can be controlled and located in a single place, accessible to everyone across your organisation’s network. No more local copies. No more concerns about version control. And no risk of your old branding living on to confuse existing and potential customers and make your organisation look unprofessional.
An opportunity for change
A rebrand is the perfect time to introduce new systems and smarter ways of working, and a marketing portal has the power to completely transform how your organisation does marketing. From day one, everyone with access to the system – your whole network of marketers, promoters, branch managers and more – will be using your fresh materials.
As they work with the new materials within the portal, customising templates and saving their creations, your central marketing team will be able to see what’s being produced. You can expect your new brand to inspire creative new ideas, and a marketing portal serves as a crowdsourcing platform for collating these ideas from across your entire network. You can then share what works across the rest of your organisation.
ROI360 is designed to take the stress out of the rebrand roll-out, but that’s just one of its applications. To find out how else this marketing platform can deliver smarter ways of working, set up a free demo account and have a look around. No trial, and no credit card required. Just an opportunity to see how the platform works.
If you’re unsure whether your organisational model would benefit from a marketing portal – because not every type of organisation will – you can also quickly obtain your Marketing Portal Suitability Score by answering a few quick questions.
Planning and rolling out a new brand is a seismic task and, sure as eggs is eggs, there will be hiccups along the way. But by keeping the above in mind – and considering specialised software to automate the trickiest part – you can give yourself the very best chance of making it work. Now go forth and nail that rebrand!