How to approach a rebrand

17 Mar 2014

There are many reasons why you might consider rebranding. Perhaps your brand identity looks dated and no longer reflects your current business model, or it’s driven by a need to compete with larger competitors. Whatever the reason, you will eventually face the question of how to do it in a way that achieves your business objectives.

If you’re thinking about undertaking a rebrand but are unsure as to whether you can justify the investment, then hopefully our article Is it time for a rebrand can offer you an insight and go some way towards helping you make the right decision.

Where are you now?

Once you have made your business case, it’s time to conduct the required research to get an objective understanding of your current brand perception and competitive advantage. Interview your clients, potential clients and employees. This will help you to assess the brand’s strengths and weaknesses and spot possible opportunities and threats. Use this time also to find out how open the people in your company are to the prospect of rebranding. Involving employees from different teams within your business at this early stage will help internal engagement once your new brand is launched.

Where do you want to be?

Use your research findings to redefine your brand proposition and key messages, if necessary. This will uncover the essence of your brand strategy and where you fit into the marketplace. You now know how your brand is currently perceived; does this fit with where you want to be or would you like to change this? For example, estate agent Frank Harris & Co have recently adjusted their positioning, as part of a rebrand, to a high-end boutique brand in order to distinguish themselves from larger chains.

With a thorough understanding of where you sit in the marketplace and what changes are required, you will now be able to define where you want to be. Clear, measurable objectives will help you to justify the investment you require when pitching your business case to your board. We recently covered this in more detail in our article
How to sell a rebrand to your board. You might find that your objectives can be achieved without completely overhauling your brand. For example, if research suggests confusion amongst your audience because of a lack of brand consistency, this can easily be rectified by implementing a brand management portal such as Flex.

Building your brand identity

This is the part where you develop a visual identity that is reflective of the market positioning that you wish to convey to your audience. Ensure key decision makers are involved from the start of this process so that they fully understand the rationale for decisions and recommendations and they have the opportunity to get their thoughts, beliefs and theories on the table.

A brand identity is a visual shorthand for your brand. It comprises the brand name, logo, colour palette, imagery, tone of voice, fonts, and the like. Your brand design agency will translate your new positioning into these elements and will provide you with guidelines to ensure your brand is implemented consistently across your business. A rebrand encompasses all brand touchpoints, ranging from your website, newsletters and office interior to presentations, proposals and corporate brochures.

Maximising your investment

Once you have a new brand identity, it’s time to communicate to your stakeholders what has changed and what hasn’t changed as well as the business reasons behind these changes. For example, Jones Lang LaSalle recently launched their new identity JLL alongside the phrase ‘Different name, same values.’ Your brand design agency will be able to advise you on the internal and external launch that best suits your business and marketplace.

Achieving employee engagement will be easier if employees have been involved in the research phase. Some of our clients also ask for their feedback at concept stage. After all, as David Schimmel, CEO of And Partners, nicely summed up: “If they birthed it, they can’t kill it.”

And it doesn’t stop once your new identity has been launched; a successful rebrand requires an ongoing marketing communications plan, tailored to your target audience. A well-positioned business that clearly communicates its brand through the channels that allow it to engage with its audience – whether that is email, events, advertising, direct mail, social media or web content – will experience the benefits of brand success.

By Judith Jansen, Marketing Manager at Workbrands