So you’ve decided to rebrand your company. Preparing for that rebrand is an exciting if albeit daunting time. If you’re going to invest the time and money into rebranding your company, it’s worth it to do it right. And to do it right, preparation is essential.
As is so often the case in business, the more groundwork you do in preparing for a rebrand, the more efficient and impactful the process will be. The following are 5 internal steps to take before kicking things off with your branding firm.
1. Get Leadership Buy-In
This one might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised just how many rebranding initiatives are the brainchildren of marketing departments who just assume (or hope for the best) that upper management will understand the necessity and value of the rebranding process. Convincing the C-Suite of the ROI of rebranding is something that should be done before, not after, the project starts.
Beyond understanding the value of your rebranding project, upper management should be willing to play an active role in the process. The most impactful brand strategy is devised and implemented from the top down. You can’t expect your frontline staff to be aligned with your brand if your leadership team isn’t aligned first.
2. Build the Right Internal Team
Just as important as the outside firm you hire to conduct your rebrand is the internal team you assemble as its counterpart. Rebranding is nothing if not a collaborative effort. You will be thinking critically about the positioning, personality, and trajectory of your brand, so you’ll need team members who understand it at the deepest level. You’ll be helping with the creation of core messaging, so you’ll want representatives from marketing, sales, human resources, and any other relevant departments.
Just as important as assembling the right team is ensuring their availability. Make room on team members’ calendars for important rebranding meetings. A team is only a team if they can all be in the same place at the same time, focused on the same goals.
One final note about your internal team: Don’t forget to give your sales and marketing teams the heads up. A looming shift in brand strategy isn’t something that your entire organization needs to be aware of, but sales and marketing are the types of departments that should always be apprised of the plan.
3. Define Your Goals, Budget & Timeline
As with any project, it’s critical to set specific, realistic goals when preparing for a rebrand. Leadership should be well aware of these goals so that metrics for the project’s success are in place. You should clearly articulate the outcomes you expect to achieve with a successful rebrand, and put those objectives in writing.
It’s also important to determine a realistic budget and timeline for the project. How much a rebrand will cost and how long it will take are different for every brand, but largely depend on the size and complexity of your organization as well as the nature of your products or service. Establishing sensible projections on how long each phase of the project will take based on internal and external factors is important as well.
4. Gather Existing Marketing Assets
An essential part of any rebrand is the brand audit. This process takes an in-depth look at the current state of your brand to determine how it’s perceived both internally and externally, and where it’s positioned within the competitive landscape.
Central to the internal brand audit is an analysis of your brand’s existing marketing collateral. Items that you’ll want to round up and secure in a central location include logos, letterhead, brochures, flyers, newsletters, annual reports, photography, video, employee communication, and signage. These various expressions of your existing brand will be indispensible for your branding team to review. Only by understanding where your brand is currently can they effectively plan for where it will be in the future.
5. Find the Right Branding Partner
Arguably the most important step in preparing for a rebrand is the decision as to which firm you should work with. There are a lot of branding firms out there, and the unfortunate reality is that not all of them are capable of effectively rebranding your company. Some are skilled at strategy, others are great when it comes to creative execution, but rare is the firm that has the right mix of both of these capabilities. That said, here are a few questions to ask to determine if a branding firm is right for you:
Does your branding partner…
- have values and culture that align with your own?
- guarantee senior-level talent and expertise?
- demonstrate deliberate and methodical strategy?
- have a process founded on rigorous objective research?
- have a track record of success borne out by detailed case studies?
- practice what they preach and have a brand of their own to prove it?
- excel at creative execution in a variety of media?
- have a proven ability to leverage advanced technology and design?
- seem nimble and adaptable to the inevitable changes that will arise?
The success of any rebranding initiative is largely dependent on your commitment to prepare for it internally. The more groundwork you’ve done in preparing for a rebrand, the more efficient and impactful the process will be. Remember, rebranding is a collaborative effort. The internal team you assemble is just as important as your branding firm’s team. By following the steps outlined above, you’ll set yourself up for a rebrand that’s as successful as you hope it to be.