The Path to Rebranding Looks Different Every Time
Rebranding is an exciting proposition for any company or product. The anticipation of achieving a new look and feel is part of the process and – just like waiting for any special occasion to arrive – you want to count down to the big day. For many companies, that anticipation is part of the struggle, and many wonder: how long will this take? Do we have the time, resources and patience to do this right? What can we expect?
While a simple “logo change” for a small company could take only three months, a comprehensive rebranding processes can take 4-6 months to develop and 6 to 12 months to activate. The longer end of this time frame is often dictated by the nature and scope of the work, the size of the company and internal approval processes. How can you plan your timeline accordingly – and manage internal resources and expectations? Consider the following factors that can influence a rebranding project.
The biggest factor when determining timeline is the scope of the project. Branding processes vary from agency to agency, and it’s important for you as the client to understand what to expect from start to finish. For example, at Muse, we leverage our branding process for clients that are interested in a full rebrand. We’ve used this efficient and thorough process to help dozens of brands build confidence in the finished product. Here’s a peek at what this includes:
- Positioning 3-6 months
- Visual Identity 3-4 months
- Brand Foundation 3-6 months
- Brand Launch 1-2 months
- Content Marketing 1 month + ongoing
Looking for something less intensive? Depending on the size of your brand, smaller brand “refreshes” can happen. If you need a name and logo for a product or ingredient brand, for example, this could be completed in 2-4 months. If you need a positioning statement and visual identity for a small or mid-size brand, 4-6 months is an average time commitment.
Most companies hire an external agency to lead the rebranding process. For good reason! Agencies are primed to do the heavy lift of crafting a position, strategy, logo design, identity systems and key messaging. While an agency will do the bulk of the work and put in the hours to bring the rebrand to life, the client (YOU!) still plays a vital role. Ask yourself these questions to make sure you know what to expect and to keep the project moving on your end:
- Do you have a centralized resource to "own" the engagement? That point person can determine a small committee that supports decision making. Too many hands in the cookie jar slows the process.
- Will your centralized resource be able to allocate a few hours each week to keep the process moving? While this time commitment will vary at each stage of the process, having time is key. This person can expect to invest significant time early on during the insight gathering stage. As the project progresses, an hour or two per week for status updates and other touch-bases will be important.
- Who are the stakeholders and are they on-board with the idea of a rebrand? Rebranding often requires input and approvals from employees and stakeholders at many levels. Make sure everyone, at all levels, is dialed in to the objective and has a voice in what’s important to them. Your CEO might not be interested in the font choice for the brand, but they will probably have something to say about the mission statement or logo.
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The rebranding process doesn’t only require client availability. Agency availability is also critical. From an agency perspective, helping a company rebrand is a process that requires deep focus and shouldn't just “fit in” between other marketing projects. Rebranding is a big strategic decision that influences the trajectory of a business. A dedicated team specializing in branding is required to give this initiative the focus it demands. How can you assure you’re getting the attention you deserve? Look at the agency’s timeline and how many people will be working on your project. A large team isn’t always better, since their time can be scattered. A one-person team often doesn’t provide the varied points-of-view required to assess strategic and creative work. An agency’s timeline might be dependent on how many people are touching your project, how many other active branding projects they have, and how quickly they work.
Clients are often surprised to learn that the overall size of their organization can play a big role in the timeline of a rebrand. A full rebrand requires a deep-dive into understanding the current state of the brand – and this means asking lots of questions across an organization. The larger the company, the more research and insight there is to gather. A larger company also has more layers of decision making that can extend the rebrand timeline.
Are you based in a single state, or do you have locations around the world? Your company footprint can add a bit to your overall timeline, especially if you do business globally. Global or national operations require more upfront research to review competitors, markets, etc. When it comes to messaging, your branding agency will also need to tailor your story to different audiences. And, finally, the roll-out stage of the rebrand will take longer to complete across nation-wide franchises compared to a single location.
While many rebrands months to complete, it’s important to note that a rebrand never truly ends. Assets – like photography or website copy and content – will need to be updated to keep a brand looking fresh.
If you know it’s time for a brand refresh, the first step is often the hardest: getting started! At Muse, we take clients through this process many times every year. Our team is small but growing, meaning we can provide the varied point-of-view and expertise needed to be thorough and efficient. Plus, we can help you set your expectations based on your availability, our availability, your size, budget and capabilities.
Ready to take the first step? Reach out to the Muse team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Megan Factor is a Content Manager at Muse and a passionate creator, both professionally and personally. She developed her content marketing skills working in a wide range of industries and pulls inspiration from her diverse experiences. Her keen eye for design, penchant for writing, and love of good storytelling work together to create meaningful content that provides value to clients.
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