I work with new companies and entrepreneurs. But I often get clients who are established but in need of a re-brand. This comes with excitement but also with some emotion.
Deciding to rebrand your company is a bold move. And the fact is that with bold moves often come uncomfortable circumstances. No one said rebranding was easy. But with the right preparation, the right state of mind, and a few helpful tips, surviving a rebrand doesn’t have to be a white knuckle affair. Here is some of the most important advice we share with our clients when they’re in the trenches of a rebrand.
Always Remember the Why
There’s a reason why you decided to rebrand. Usually it boils down to the fact that your brand no longer embodies your vision for the future. It’s important to remember this key pain point, especially during the difficult times you’re likely to face at some point during the rebranding process. There’s a reason why you started down this road, and when it comes to rebranding, there’s no turning back.
The rebranding journey is long and complex, with many different phases. It’s easy to get distracted and start heading in the wrong direction. All decisions should tie back to the original reason behind the decision to rebrand. Remembering why you decided to start the journey in the first place is the best way to make sure you remain on the correct course.
Be Open to Change
Seems obvious, right? The very fact that you’ve decided to rebrand should mean that you’re open to change. But you’d be surprised. Many executives are only open to the idea of change. When the rubber hits the road, however, and change is actually implemented, they balk at the new direction and send creative teams back to the drawing board.
This is because change is seldom easy, and we are programmed to fear the unknown. We find comfort in the familiar (even when it is ultimately working against us) and are resistant to new ideas. Often times, we feel a special ownership over current manifestations of our brand, which makes us even more averse to jettisoning them to the scrapheap of history. When impulses like this arise, it’s important to remember that we aren’t changing things just for the sake of change. There is research, evidence, and purpose behind the decisions in a rebrand. Which leads us to our next bit of advice…
Trust the Process
This is not the first rebrand we have conducted, nor will it be our last. The process we’ve developed over countless clients before you is in place for a reason. Each step is carefully designed to follow the previous one, and benefit from the work done therein.
A proper rebrand will begin with in-depth research to discover truths about how your brand is currently perceived by internal and external stakeholders. The work of strategy that follows is all about setting a new direction for your brand that seizes upon the opportunities revealed in the research phase. Next comes positioning, where your brand is defined in a framework comprising core messaging, personality, voice, and more. It’s only with this framework defined that efforts to craft an identity for your brand can begin; and only then that expressing that identity in assets like a website and marketing collateral can take place. The activation and alignment that are the final steps in this process are the result of each bit of meticulous work that came before them.
By trusting the process outlined above, you can be confident in the outcome: a cohesive and compelling brand that’s the product of rigorous, considered, and collective effort.
Make a Clean Break
Perhaps the most important piece of advice for surviving a rebrand relates to that critical moment when your new brand is ready to be launched. When all the preparation has been done and the time comes to finally make the switch, the best piece of advice we can give is: don’t look back.
Do everything possible to put your old brand in the rearview mirror. Shred old collateral and scrub the web of old digital iterations. This doesn’t mean you need be ashamed of your old brand—it served you well for years, after all. But only confusion can come from having one foot in the future and one in the past. And when it comes to business, confusion is costly.
Surviving a rebrand can be a daunting proposition. Even for companies who are convinced that change is necessary, actually implementing that change is rarely a comfortable and straightforward endeavor. The good news is that with the right mindset and the pointers outlined above, rebranding need not be a painful experience. In the end, we find that, when done right, it’s always worth the effort—your new brand will be painstakingly built to embody all you hope to achieve in the future.
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