Undertaking a rebrand requires more than budget and the right partner. It calls for intense collaboration, especially in ways that you might not foresee during the first optimistic moments when you are crafting that perfect RFP and dreaming of a new, bright future for your brand.
As we often remind clients, your brand is not just “marketing’s problem.” Brand touches every part of your organization; it should capture the true essence of your company, inspire your employees, and clarify your story for customers and partners.
A Guest Post by Lara Fischman of Siegel+Gale.
Cooperation and commitment from across your company – in advance and throughout the process – is critical to any successful rebranding initiative. Below are some tips to consider when you are ready to get started:
1. Be clear from the outset.
The need for a brand overhaul isn’t always obvious to everyone. What’s driving it? A change in business strategy? A change in focus? A need to alter perception of the brand in the marketplace? Articulating why you are undertaking this work will help when you begin drafting your RFP, when earmarking budget, when engaging stakeholders, and, ultimately, when making decisions with your branding partner.
2. Form your core team and ensure that everyone understands the mission.
We often work with client teams who have never worked together before. Indeed, sometimes the teams had never met each other before kicking off a program with us. This can certainly foster new relationships and cross-functional collaboration, but conflict and friction can occasionally get in the way of a productive process. Make sure that roles and responsibilities are clear right upfront, and that everyone is aligned to the same objectives.
3. Identify your stakeholders.
Just like with any project, having a stakeholder list and conducting a stakeholder analysis will not only ensure that you have the right information and input, but that you are engaging people along the way whose buy-in will be important later on. Who has skin in the game? Who has the subject matter expertise necessary to inform the work? Who’s the long-tenured vet who has seen it all and knows the organization inside-out? Who can be influential when it comes to winning hearts and minds? And, who are the external stakeholders – key customers, board members, partners – whose alignment can help overcome any potential skepticism?
4. Who’s making the decisions, and how?
More often than not, we see work held up by misalignment among key decision-makers. What kind of data does your organization need to make decisions? Are you a shoot-from-the-hip kind of company or do you need hard facts before moving forward? The needs and styles of decision-makers impacts whether and how much research you do, both when getting input for the development of your brand and in testing key elements during the process.
5. Most important: Stay the course!
Your project will endure unforeseen hiccups along the way that impact your team and the project. People changing roles or leaving the company, ongoing business decisions, and budget cuts are all part of our reality. If your team is strong and you have laid the groundwork with a clear process for the work, you will be able to weather these storms with minimal disruption.
Laying the groundwork for your rebrand can seem like a project in and of itself. But when you have a team to turn to as obstacles arise, when you feel confident you have aligned with key stakeholders and constituencies, and when you believe you are launching a brand embraced by your employees and customers, you will find the effort to be well worth it.