You are facing a rebrand. The next question….should you manage it yourself or outsource the programme?
On average a company will face a rebrand every 7 to 10 years, whether it’s a brand repositioning exercise or the result of a merger or acquisition. I have personally worked on many rebrands, both as an in-house marketer and more recently for GLIMMA.
Having been on both sides of the fence, I’d like to share some insights that may help you to decide your best route.
KNOW YOUR CHALLENGE
There are varying speeds and scopes for a rebrand. To keep it simple, I’ll use two scenarios (but there are many in between):
SCENARIO ONE: a full corporate identity change that comes into effect on a single launch day – this is the most challenging from an operations point of view.
SCENARIO TWO: a phased approach which may even include some transitional branding, with a land date for the rebrand to be completed some time in the future. This buys you more time to engage with stakeholders and plan your strategy and implementation.
Faced with scenario one, invariably it works out best to use a rebrand specialist, especially if the scope is global and speed is essential.
In scenario two, it can often work out best to adopt a combined approach, for example use a rebrand specialist at certain stages (develop your strategy or manage the implementation) as you will have more time to engage and train your employees to manage the rebrand.
THE BENEFITS OF OUTSOURCING
01 EXPERTISE: without doubt the main benefit is that you are buying expertise, a ready made experienced team which you can simply plug and play, meaning you can hit the ground running without impacting too much on your day-to-day operations. Often a specialist is placed within your organisation to manage the launch from within, helping with engagement.
02 SPEED: a rebrand is not a ‘business as usual scenario’ so whilst you may have a fantastic team of brand specialists, they all have their day jobs too. An outsourced team is ready to go and does not face a rebrand learning curve – they already know exactly what needs to be done and how to do it.
03 COST: despite the upfront cost, it can definitely be more cost-effective in the long term to use external resource, particularly for global rebrands. Firstly expertise means ‘getting it right first time’ and avoiding costly mistakes. Secondly, economies of scale can be achieved more readily, for example in the purchase of materials or logistics. Finally, by keeping your team focussed on their day jobs, there is no negative impact on your daily operations and bottom line.
04 GLOBAL REACH: drawing on an existing network means that your rebrand is fully scaleable, can reach all parts of the world and all suppliers are pre-qualified to guarantee quality. A centralised international team means that you don’t have to stay up until 1am to catch the morning call with your Project Managers in Singapore!
THE BENEFITS OF KEEPING IT IN-HOUSE
01 COST: for smaller scale rebrands it simply isn’t always cost-effective to buy in external support. Provided you get the right team together with the right mandate and a clear scope of work, then it can be managed quite easily from within.
02 STRUCTURE: a rebrand is a company-wide activity and requires engagement from every team – Legal, Finance, HR, Real Estate, IT etc. You know your company best – the structure, the teams, the personalities and should be able to mobilise the right team from within.
03 ENGAGEMENT: a rebrand is an opportunity to build relationships across all departments and functions. It can be used to break down silos and improve communication, helping to reset your company purpose or vision and reignite passion within your employees.
DON’T LEAVE IT TOO LATE
Many companies will often start out on the rebrand journey, with a view to managing the entire process in-house, mostly with cost in mind.
With increasing time pressure and a growing realisation of the complexity of the rebrand programme (how do you find a quality assured supplier in Bermuda?!), some resort to buying in expertise at a later stage. This last minute panic is not the ideal scenario for a strategic and cost-effective rebrand implementation.
With the benefit of experience, I am genuinely convinced that an early understanding that investment in some external expertise really can pay dividends in the longer term.