By Ross Haxton, Creative & Brand Services Director
Recently, we’ve all received a wake-up call. For many of us it was no bad thing, our busy lifestyles gave little opportunity to think too deeply about what really matters to us.
The same can be said for businesses. For some, it’s prompted a welcome necessary gear change and an exciting new lease of life, “Why didn’t we do this before?”
For others, an inability to adapt rapidly has led to decline.
Either way, many companies are considering merging, acquiring or simply repositioning or rebranding to adapt to life post-COVID-19: remote working, changes to supply and distribution, service provision, customer relationship management, and the acceleration in the adoption of technology.
As governments assess the impact to GDP and the economy, many businesses face volatile markets and anticipate poor sales. Faced with continued uncertainty, now is the time to check the relevance of your existing business and brand strategy.
Rebranding or creating a new brand goes way beyond visual identity, it can help your company to enhance your competitive edge and visibility, drive sales growth and increase your business value over the long term.
An iconic visual brand identity is all about standout. It drives customer preference and helps build engagement and equity across the entire customer experience. In developing your visual identity, prepare to satisfy the key criteria of whether the brand achieves visual, emotional, functional and structural objectives, wherever it is appears.
Your brand is ultimately built on reputation and visibility, with your name, logo and strapline being important visual representations of your brand. They’re central to how you’re perceived but how they are managed relative to your entire customer experience is critically important.
Which approach is best – evolution or revolution?
There are different types and degrees of rebranding (evolution to revolution – a light refresh, a full rebrand or a new brand which includes naming).
Defining clear objectives and priorities will help determine what level of rebrand is needed but also provide clarity to your external creative brand consultancy and implementation partner.
See part one in our blog series: Five strategies to manage your brand during a merger or acquisition, to determine which route is best for your brand.
1. Offer and positioning
2. Marketplace environment
3. Competitor landscape
4. Customers and experience
5. Products and services
6. Culture and history
The answers to these key questions will lead to a conclusion on whether or not a rebrand is required.
Before you take the final plunge, consider some reasons why you may not need to rebrand:
If a rebrand is still the right strategic decision for your business, read on!
To begin, develop a clear plan and brief for your rebrand, which summarises your responses to as many of the above questions as possible. These drafts should be discussed with your management team and revised as required, so don’t stress too much at this stage about getting every detail perfect – they’re working documents!
Include the following steps, which will not only confirm your plans but add the necessary detail:
Many management executives are too busy to properly manage a rebrand without expert help, with considerable day-to-day responsibilities leaving little space in their diaries. The financial cost implications of the rebrand will be their priority, so establish detailed cost parameters with their input.
Their interest and attention during the full period of the strategic positioning and creative concept development stages can vary, so think carefully about how to maintain their focussed involvement in the process and keep them engaged.
There are five key steps in your future brand development plan. Work through each step with your internal team so that you can reach consensus and thoroughly brief your brand agency.
In preparing briefing information for your brand agency, it’s also important to consider early collaboration with your brand implementation partner to help audit any existing brand assets that you’re unable to manage internally.
With physical site surveys, online self-surveys and desktop research, this data can be usefully provided to your brand agency from the very start. It gives them a clear picture of the nature and extent of your brand touchpoints, so that they can be more specific with what to quote for and subsequently create. This can save a lot of embarrassment and prevents having to request extra budget later on in the process.
Implementing your future brand can be the most difficult aspect of the relaunch process and many brands opt for a phased programme, due to the volumes and geographical scope. It’s also worth reviewing progress along the way, so that adjustments and fine tuning can be introduced. Experienced brand implementation partners are skilled at the organisation and management of rebranding initiatives; with strategic, financial, vendor management and reporting tools being their core daily activities. The aim is to deliver branded asset change on-time and on-budget to a consistent brand quality that is intended.
Your brand implementation partner should work with your designers and internal resources to remove the stress of detailed operational project management and ensure that all your brand touchpoint assets transition as planned. Both physical and digital elements need consideration – building signage, wayfinding, workplace environments, fleet, workwear, administration templates, marketing collateral and online resources all need appropriate solutions to help decentralised company resources manage the governance process with clear direction and autonomy.
Seamless connection between all stages is essential – Brand Strategy, Brand Engineering and Brand Implementation. These phases require specific talent, expertise and experience in strategic, analytical, and tactical skills.
If your brand can create impact, resonate, subtly refresh and endure the test of time – you’ll look back on your rebrand journey with a deep sense of satisfaction.
Our team of rebrand specialists is on hand to help with your rebrand, from strategy through to implementation. Contact us for an initial no-obligation chat.