Reading time: 6 minutes
Published: 2019 | Author: Anne Casey
The reasons often given for wanting to do a re-brand can range from our brand is tired, to we’ve evolved and have extended our services beyond what the market thinks. While a good re-branding strategy can work wonders, the important question is, do you really need to change the brand?
The spectrum of “change” can be as minor as a slight tweak of the logo to a total change of name, logo and company image. At which end of the spectrum should you engage? How do you know that you’ve gone far enough or too far? Here’s what you need to do …
The Re-branding Strategy Checklist
#1: Ask the right questions. Why a re-brand in the first place?
Re-branding can be an expensive exercise if carried out for the wrong reasons or with a bad re-branding strategy the first time. It can confuse your audience and deter your selling process if it is not on mark. This means that the right questions have to be asked up front in order to maximize the returns on the re-branding. Some of these questions include:
• What problem are we attempting to solve?
• Are we pigeonholed as something that we have outgrown?
• What do we want to convey? To whom?
• Why should anyone care about our brand?
• Is our brand out of step with the current needs and desires of our customers?
• Is the goal of this re-brand a stepping stone (evolutionary) or a milestone (revolutionary)?
• Will this solution work in 5, 10 and 15 years from now based on what we can anticipate?
• If we were starting our business today, would this be the brand solution we would come up with?
• Do we have the means and resources to do this?
• What is our biggest fear?
#2: Find out what your customers are looking for
A company’s brand identity is at its maximum impact when its value proposition is aligned with the demands of the customers and their drivers. All of us get bombarded daily by different brands and companies. What is it that will make a potential customer sit up and give you their 3 seconds of attention?
You can explore with some of these questions:
• What are they saying about your company right now?
• Do they comment about your current brand? If yes, what do they say? If no, you’re probably blending in.
• What do they value right now in the space that you’re competing in?
• If they were to paint a picture of an ideal provider, what will this look like? What colours would they use?
• How would they describe the “personality” of the brand?
From here, you will know if you need a total re-brand (if what your customers believe about you is very different from what you want them to believe) or just a tweak to freshen up (the messages customers are getting are right but the description of your company shows that you’re not what they would like you to be).
#3: Check out your competitors
No product is truly unique and nothing is worse than blending into the crowd. Check to see how your competitors are positioning themselves and what are their key messages are, their brand colours and how they are differentiating their brand. Marketing Minds can help you with this competitive analysis. Remember, colour is one of the strongest elements in differentiating a brand. This will help you to determine your marketing action plan. You can evaluate key attributes you want your brand to communicate which are different from your competitors, and determine the territory you want to be positioned in.
#4: Is the creative brief accurate, detailed enough yet inspiring?
Now that you know why you’re re-branding (or refreshing), what your customers want and where and how you want to position yourself, you can then write up a creative brief for your creative to work on. This is where the re-branding strategy comes in. It is known in the creative world that great creative work comes from a thorough and inspiring brief. So get the brief right!
Your brief should cover:
• Background on the company, why the re-brand, challenges
• Who is/ are your target market(s)?
• Your unique selling points
• The single minded proposition (if there is one thing a potential customer will remember of your brand, what will it be?)
• Market findings- customer wants, needs, competitive positioning
• Parameters to work within- budget, colours, font types- don’t be overly prescriptive yet be directive enough so that time is not wasted on what you absolutely do not want to see.
• Any examples that may resonate with you or your company already
• Timeline and contact people
#5: Check that your brand message has the right persona that resonates
Once you’ve received the artwork back from your creative, the next step in your marketing action plan is to test the design with selected people. Nothing worse than not testing the impression on the brand before signing it off!
Often, people don’t have the time to figure out what your brand is trying to solve, so the best thing is to make sure that your target audience thinks that your brand is straightforward yet forward-thinking and resonates with them.
An online survey is a simple way of carrying out a survey and analysing the results.
#6: Make sure that your staff and stakeholders are ready
Changing the logo and colour is only scratching the surface of the potential of a re-brand. Your staff are your biggest brand ambassadors and should be taken on the journey from early stages. In fact, it is often a good re-branding strategy to involve them in the process so that you get their buy-in from the start. Re-branding can revitalise the staff and their performance at the same time. At the critical yet most basic level, keep them in the loop.
To celebrate the re-brand and create some buzz you can also do little things for the staff such as, cupcakes with the new branding on them, right through to more elaborate activities such as a launch party or redecorating the office in the new brand image.
Don’t forget your suppliers, shareholders and business partners too. They definitely do not want to be last to know. Present and engage them at the appropriate points of your re-branding process and they will be with you on the journey as well as a great aid in helping to amplify your company changes.
If it is appropriate, you can also include your key clients or customers in the process. Often they can be your biggest advocates and will feel valued to be part of your extended “family”. Consider running design contests or ideas as creating the fun and engagement with them.
#7: Have a project timeline, budget and a comprehensive communication plan
A re-branding is an opportune time to gain the desired exposure and interest for the brand. A good re-branding strategy can make this very effective. On the other hand, if it is not managed properly, it can conjure dissension internally and create more damage than good.
In order to launch this effectively and gain the maximum advantage from this, you need a sound marketing action plan and re-branding strategy. This includes:
• Creating a checklist of what needs to be re-branded e.g. new website look, collateral and manuals
• Identifying the touch points, timings and resources including the budget required. Often, this can end up costing more than you anticipated.
• Defining a well planned launch and roll out communication strategy. This can include PR, advertising, social media, email communication and more.
#8: Make sure that your ship is in order
With all the work that you have put into creating a re-branding strategy and a new or refreshed brand to create the right first impressions, you have to make sure that you can deliver on your company’s brand promise. The brand with all its glamour is nothing without the goods or service supporting it. So after your brand has opened up doors and created the attention you’re after, it is up to you to do the rest.