The decision to move forward with a rebrand shouldn’t be taken lightly. First of all, it requires a substantial investment - both time and money - and a refresh of your physical and digital assets. Second, the process often causes a shift in your current value system and processes, causing a trickle-down effect on your people. Hence, it’s important to be as prepared as possible.
If you’re ready, let’s start with a straightforward question. Do you need a simple refresh with a clear message or a substantial transformation to your brand identity? Many of our clients seek a brand evolution – a level up with a deeply connective message and modernized visual identity. To arrive at the right solution for you, ask yourself (and your team) important questions such as:
- Who is our audience? How have their needs/interests evolved and stayed the same?
- Who are our competitors? Has the market become more saturated?
- Have our sales close rates or sales bounce rates slowly decreased over time?
- Has there been a substantial industry trend that has impacted our business?
- How does our audience perceive our brand?
Does our current brand purpose and messaging give us optimal position in our market?
The answers to these questions often reveal the appropriate next steps. Aside from talking to your team or executive board, consider gathering insights straight from your consumers through a brand survey or add brand-related questions to your next customer satisfaction survey.
Important lessons learned
Once your objective is clear and you’re ready to dive in, take some of my own lessons learned from the process. I’ve walked down this road many, many times with our clients and our own Muse rebrand last year.
Here are my top recommendations for an effective rebranding process.
1. Start with an open mind. And keep it.
You know your history, process, and people better than anyone. However, trust your agency to take your inputs and create something meaningful. Look past the color you can’t stand or the serif font when you expected sans. It takes exploration to get to the final product. After all, you are paying professionals to do this work. Let them guide you.
2. Encourage your team to get involved
Rebranding is a huge decision with many reverberating changes (and costs). Lean on your trusted leadership team and key employees to help direct the process.
We most often initiate an internal brand committee with 6-10 members, including a mix of managers and front-line employees. This allows for a healthy balance of strategic perspective and realistic action. This committee also serves as your brand champions - the people responsible for decision-making, internal communications and the rollout plan (see more details in Step 7).
3. Provide constructive feedback
Explain why you like one option over another. Dig deeper than your gut feelings to validate your direction. Discuss your creative feedback in person or over the phone. If you feel like you’re striking out, consider information that you may have left out or miscommunicated. Is there a minor but essential detail to your business that you haven’t shared with your agency yet?
4. Don’t lose sight of your key audiences
While many rebrands occur with the goal of attracting new audiences, don’t forget about your existing loyalists who may be attached to the old way.
Use data and audience personas to focus on your key targets. At Muse, we segment audiences by job titles and value-based triggers, then bring these profiles to life by defining their motivations. For instance, we enjoy working with visionary leaders who seek transformation. This focus impacts how we identify and speak to prospective clients in the sales process.
5. Prepare for the chain reaction
Whether you update your brand position or your visual identity (or both!), your channels need to reflect your new direction. Think through your website, social media, packaging, business collateral, uniforms, partnerships – essentially, everywhere you need to express your transformation. Evaluate the investment for these assets, internally or with your agency partner, and build a prioritized timeline. And, don’t forget about printing/production costs!
6. Dedicate time to a rollout plan
You shouldn’t expect an immediate adoption of your rebranding efforts. Build a brand rollout plan to avoid confusion and backlash, starting with your internal team’s buy-in. A soft launch can provide insightful lessons for the big announcement to your external audience. Depending on your company’s size, your rollout plan should account for up to six months of preparation.
7. Explain your rationale with confidence
When you’re ready to re-introduce your brand, communicate why you made the change and what it means for others. Inform consumers if your new look or position changed your product/service, in a more meaningful way than the classic “New Look, Same Great Taste!” sticker. Monitor your communication channels for feedback and actively respond to questions and comments.
8. Measure your results
Smart marketers follow the cycle of test, learn and optimize. Gather insights directly from your buyers or initiate a brand perception survey with a focus group. Ask a variety of subjective multiple choice and open-ended questions to analyze your brand’s effectiveness.
Congratulations on taking the first step in the rebranding process – realizing it’s time for a change. If you’re mentally and financially prepared for the deep dive, contact our team to uncover the possibilities in your first whiteboard session.
About the Author
Lauren Konst is an Account Executive at Muse. With a strong background in integrated marketing and communications, advertising and events, Lauren pitches grassroots marketing ideas and creative solutions to support clients’ business objectives. Throughout her career, she has worked with notable clients including Cleveland Clinic, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Destination Cleveland and Greater Cleveland Food Bank.