3 Biggest Rebranding Blunders to Avoid
The potential is so promising: a striking new name, a more relevant promise to customers, the greater ability to enter new markets. All these outcomes can be achieved with the rebranding of an outdated or past-its-prime image.
Rebranding should be viewed as a strategic growth driver. It’s the ability to reposition your business or organization to better capture new growth, attract better talent or more easily globalize is an investment in your future. We’re seeing an unprecedented number of companies, destinations and even sports teams embarking on efforts to gain this differentiated edge. But regretfully not enough rebranding efforts stick or are successful. Our experience suggests these are the three biggest blunders company’s make and that you can avoid with proper planning:
A half-way commitment, not embracing the full potential of rebranding. Rebranding is more than a new logo, that’s called refreshing your visual identity. Rebranding is resetting your core promise to customers, your brand essence. This is your chance to embrace the future, not just bring your organization into the present day. Failing to be aspirational now will only require you to revisit this process when your new positioning becomes restrictive again. This is your chance to face forward, strategize growth and new revenue streams. Your new brand should give you the elasticity to experience unrestrained growth.
Poor leadership. One of the most informative academic studies on rebranding – Corporate Rebranding: An Integrative Review of Major Enablers and Barriers to the Rebranding Process by Miller, Merrilees and Yakimova of Griffith University – reviewed 76 different rebranding cases identifies six enablers and five barriers to successful corporate rebranding. According to the study, “Strong rebranding leadership heads the major enablers, and is characterized by the strategically relevant experience and commitment of leaders.” The study points out that positive rebranding outcome with strong rebranding leadership are more likely to have one or more of the other five enablers: developing brand understanding, internal branding activities, continuity of brand attributes, stakeholder coordination and an integrated marketing program. Our front-line experience in rebranding multiple organizations supports their assessment. Not only do you need accomplished rebranding process expertise to design and lead the effort – whether it is your senior marketing officer or an outside consultant – but you need all leaders of the organization aligned behind and visibly championing the initiative. Organizations rebrand from the inside out, and top down. Your leaders play critical roles embodying on-brand language and behaviors for employees to follow.
Not investing fully – either time or resources. Expect rebranding to cost more than you originally assumed, both in terms of time and money. Let’s start with money. Training, communications, collateral updates, new marketing materials, even signage at all your properties and transportation vehicles. Your brand is expressed in many different ways and places; they’ll all need to be updated plus you’ll want to proactively communicate the great news over a continued period of time. All these should be exhaustively budgeted for so that leadership has a full grasp of the cost of the effort and minimize spending surprises. Then, rebranding successfully takes time. Stakeholders won’t immediately embrace and deliver your new brand proposition. You need to communicate consistently and repeatedly with them. And individuals who have no invested interest in your organization will take considerably longer to jump on board. I don’t know how many clients will comment that the mechanic that fixes their car still calls their company by the old name. Unless that mechanic has repeated encounters with your brand and is a key stakeholder, they might never catch on, because it’s not on their radar screen. You’re not trying to impress and educate the individuals who don’t matter as much. Plan on the process taking longer than expected.
So avoid these missteps and you are more like to create a forward-facing organization loaded with opportunity.