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Rebranding Requires Change Management

Everybody seems to be rebranding these days. Staples, Coldwell Banker and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch are just a few have announced rebranding this year. True rebranding is more than a simple name change, logo and new external positioning. At its core, rebranding is the redesign of your customer promise and the customer experience, making it more relevant and differentiating to drive growth.

When your organization undertakes a comprehensive rebranding initiative to seize future opportunities, it requires significant internal change. This includes possible changes to organizational structures, processes, job roles and the types and uses of technology. It’s actually the employees of your organization who ultimately change how they do their jobs, which is why change management is critical in rebranding. When individuals don’t successfully embrace the rebranding and learn how to deliver a new customer experience, the entire effort is at risk.

Rebranding is more than a marketing strategy, it's an enterprise-wide business transformation. Based on years of experience helping organizations launch a rebranding to accelerate their growth, we’ve learned that companies seriously underestimate the change needed to deliver that new brand proposition. It’s why the change management discipline is an essential contributor to rebranding success.

Prosci, the noted change management expert, defines change management "as the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes." Rebranding your organization can only be achieved by ensuring that each individual within your organization understands the need to change and the new brand promises, shares your desire to change, knows how to deliver the new brand positioning and then adopts it. Organizations don’t change, people do, and that is evident in successful rebrands as you expect employees to demonstrate new “on-brand behaviors.”

Internal Alignment The Greatest Obstacle to Rebranding Success

Rebranding efforts can face many obstacles to their success but a 2015 research study we conducted among recently rebranded organizations found gaining internal alignment is the biggest challenge. According to survey respondents, three of the four most common obstacles encountered when rebranding were people related:

1. Engaging the necessary departments internally

2. Creating culture change to fulfill new brand promise

3. Cost

4. Engaging employees behind new brand

Everything but cost is what change management is designed to address and solve.

Change management uses key tools and discipline to ensure requirements are identified from the start and addressed in your implementation. The central tool is a change impact assessment, which identifies how the rebrand affects different stakeholders, their roles and business processes. This determines if new training is needed and how internal communications will inform, engage and drive employees to different behaviors.

Get Rebrand Ready

Rebranding can be demanding of time, energy and resources, so it is important that the organization implements a successful change program to ensure it is truly aligned on the following elements:

• Leadership is committed to the success of the effort and willing to embody new behaviors and deliver new brand encouragement.

• Department leadership is willing to support the endeavor and reinforce it among their respective teams.

• The marketing department is funded to aggressively tell a new brand story and engage audiences.

• The HR/talent team is equipped to redesign their talent requirement and management programs to support the new brand promise.

• Your customer experience team has redesigned the various touch points of the customer journey.

• Employees are willing to embrace a new customer promise and way of performing to better serve the company success.

Without change management, your rebranding might not change anything at all.

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