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Are You Rebrand Ready? 6 Unexpected Things To Know About The Rebranding Process

Jim Heininger shares insights on how to rebrand in this Forbes story.

Rebranding strategy and process

While companies typically spend considerable time talking about the importance of creating a dynamic new brand name and identity when rebranding, there are many other considerations to take into account before embarking on this ambitious business transformation process. It isn’t easy, it takes longer than expected and it is an emotional roller coaster on which you’ll learn more about your company than you ever anticipated.

Rebranding is the process of transforming a company’s positioning to ignite growth. It usually includes a strategic update to your name, your customer promise and experience, your culture, all messaging, visual identity and go-to-market approach. A successful rebranding can deliver enterprise-wide benefits, aligning all employees behind a clearer presentation of your business proposition.

We’ve been rebranding organizations for years and have gained unique insight into the process. Before diving into a rebranding initiative, take into account the following six things.

1. Patience Is Golden

The average rebranding process takes 12 to 18 months to complete from beginning to end. That timeframe includes upfront research, name conceptualization and trademark approval, brand identity design, implementation of a thoughtful engagement campaign and then the launch. After deciding on your new brand name and identity, you then have to keep it secret during the trademark process. This will require patience. I recommend spending that time updating all of your brand assets and planning a history-making launch.

2. You Need To Have All Hands In

The effort will require leadership engagement to initially help define a differentiating proposition and name, and then to marshal forces across the organization to support the process. In fact, successful rebranding requires the engagement of a cross-functional leadership team that includes executives and the board, marketing, human resources, communications, the supply chain, operations, IT, sales and more to effectively ingrain the new brand in the company culture and daily business practices.

3. Investment Is Required

The cost of the rebranding process can range from $40,000 for just the new brand creation to hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not seven figures, depending upon the scale of the organization. Factors that can impact costs include having multiple locations (you'll need to update all of their signage and internal environments), your number of employees (especially if it's a global company) and whether you have vehicles or other branded equipment.

4. This Is Your Chance For A Cultural Awakening And Alignment

Updating your brand promise, even your company mission, means redefining your culture. Digging deep into your purpose and value to customers can produce some inspiring learnings as well as some challenges to overcome. Rebranding is your chance to make long-needed changes to your culture and align your team behind a new calling. Few CEOs we work with want to change just the company name. They look at rebranding as the opportunity to reboot their company and ignite growth, and that means reinvention.

5. Not Everyone Will Like Your New Name At First

What’s in a name? Just about everything. The most difficult part of the rebranding process is creating a name that celebrates your differentiators, is memorable with a domain to match and is trademarkable. Not everyone might like your new brand name. That’s okay. If it was purposefully designed to convey an important differentiating meaning, and if you commit to proactively marketing it, the new name will make sense as you live it every day. Distractors — both employees and customers — will come around over time if you properly engage them.

6. Change Isn’t Easy

People often focus more on what they’ll lose during a change than what they’ll gain. That is no truer than when rebranding. Longtime and loyal employees could struggle with giving up the name they invested so much time, sweat and energy promoting. It will require transparent communications, engagement and true leadership to gain their support of the new brand.

With this inside scoop, you’ll better understand what to expect when rebranding. Suit up — you’re ready to go.

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