When you’ve rebranded as many companies as we have, you start to notice certain patterns. There are some approaches to corporate rebranding that time and again pay valuable dividends. And then there are some that (despite our warnings and predictions) lead inevitably to costly failures at some point down the road.
If you’ve decided to embark on a corporate rebranding initiative, let us first say: congratulations! You’ve made the right decision and we can assure you the investment will pay off many times over. Next, we suggest you familiarize yourself with the following “dos” and “don’ts” of corporate rebranding. They may just save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation when all is said and done.
Corporate Rebranding Dos
Do Thorough Brand Research
If there’s one thing every corporate rebrand can benefit from, it’s brand research. Thorough research gives you critical insight into the way your customers experience your brand. It helps you identify your ideal customer so that you can craft targeted messaging that’s uniquely compelling for your most valuable audience segment.
Do Differentiate Your Brand
The whole point of branding is to separate your company from the competition. But the reason you stand out should be authentic. This is what we like to call “meaningful differentiation.” Determine the unique value propositions only your brand can offer and meaningful (and valuable) differentiation will follow.
Do Create an Unforgettable Tagline
There’s nothing like a great tagline to ensure your audience remembers you. Clever, pithy, poignant or powerful, taglines speak volumes with just a few words. Talk about an economic use of words. Beyond conveying a unique value proposition, there’s one thing every tagline should be in the minds of your audience: sticky.
Do Define a Brand Compass
A brand compass is the most valuable branding tool there is. Working to define each element of the brand compass is the most fundamental part of the corporate rebranding process. Only by understanding and clearly articulating your company’s purpose, vision, mission, values, and strategic objectives will you be able to position it for success within the competitive landscape.
Do Define an Authentic Brand Personality
Your brand’s personality is central to attracting the right types of customers—and keeping them. Customers relate to brands they identify with. Understanding your brand’s behaviors and characteristics enables you to craft an authentic and relatable personality that your target audience will naturally gravitate toward.
Corporate Rebranding Don’ts
Don’t Skip Internal Brand Research
You might think you know how your employees feel about your brand, but the reality may surprise you. Internal brand research gives you a comprehensive look at how your employees interact with customers—and with each other. Since they are quite literally the face of your brand, it’s important to know whether or not your employees are aligned with your culture and values.
Don’t Overlook Brand Architecture
Mergers and acquisitions are commonplace these days, and each one has unique branding challenges. The brands that come out the other end with a unified, cohesive narrative are the ones that took the time to carefully engineer their brand architecture. Those that don’t are destined to deal with the consequences of confused customers and frustrated stakeholders. Even if you’re not in the midst of M&A activity, you should always consider what a corporate rebrand entails for your brand architecture.
Don’t Make a Promise You Can’t Keep
Your brand promise is a fundamental commitment to your customer. There are many qualities that make a brand promise great—authenticity, uniqueness, believability—but the most important part of your brand promise is that you keep it—every time. When customers trust you to keep your central promise, brand loyalty is sure to follow.
Don’t Forget to Establish Brand Metrics
They may not be the sexiest part of the corporate rebranding process, but brand metrics are the most tangible way to measure your rebrand’s ROI. Three types of metrics are important to track: Perception, Performance, and Financial. Each type provides different insights into your brand’s performance, allowing you to make course corrections for future performance.
Don’t Haphazardly Roll Out Your New Brand
Months of diligent work and emotional energy go into rebranding a company. Yet when they finally get the chance to unveil it, many companies think the work is done. It’s not! A great new brand deserves a proper rollout, which involves advance planning, strategic unveiling, and coordinated events. A well-executed roll-out will ensure you get the most out of your new brand.
With all the things to consider when planning a corporate rebrand, it’s not a project your internal team can handle on their own. Not only is rebranding well worth doing, it’s well worth doing right. Our final piece of advice is to research, vet, and select the right branding firm for the job. Since corporate rebranding is always a collaborative process, you can bring your newly learned “dos” and “don’ts” to the table and make sure your rebrand is done right.