Re-branding the Right Way

Rebranding, is the process by which a product or service developed with one brand or company or product line affiliation is marketed or distributed with a different identity. This may involve radical changes to the brand’s logo, brand name, image, marketing strategy, and advertising themes. On the other hand, it might involve merely superficial changes. Rebranding can be applied to either new products, mature products, or even unfinished products as well as to the corporate itself. (source

Some re-branding exercises have been evolutionary, developing over time and in response to feedback and change in business requirements. But also, a lot of re-branding efforts fail, and fail expensively. Why is it that while some re-branding exercises succeed, others are left licking their wounds? The main reason for failure stems from the complexity of the task. Companies often jumps unprepared into an ill-conceived consolidation, leaving customers puzzled and business associates confused.

In re-branding there are steps to be taken, same ones needed to be follwed when a new corporate identity is to be set-up:

1. Research and recommendations

In this stage, identity, design, communications and behaviour audits conducted. There are established perceptions of the brand, its business and its behaviour.

2. Creation of the new identity

Consulting agency fulfils a brief for a new visual identity and communications strategy to introduce identity and change behaviour is developed.

3. Developing the detail

Development of credible, distinctive and coherent identity and yet, very important, consistent approach to communications throughout the organisation developed.

4. Launch and implementation

Choices made about scale and timing of change.

So what are the drivers for re-branding? In most cases re-branding is done in response to external factors, whether there is a corporate structural change, or a concern over external perceptions of the organisation and its activities. More rarely re-branding can rely on internal perceptions, like the perception of the company in relation to its competitors. This informal and internally focused approach may well produce a biased result, if the research phare is not done properly.

Next step, after the need is identified, is to set up objectives and the disparate drivers for re-branding are reflected in a diversity of objectives. The most common objective was to develop a new image or to adapt the image to the new corporate or market changes that occured.

Ascertaining the value of the new brand depends on the health of the brand’s key resources. These may be items such as product features, or the number of loyal customers, sales outlets and staff. However, companies can’t hope to sell more just because they have re-branded. Targets can be based on qualitative indicators as well, ie, perception, image, understanding, awareness as well as quantitative indicators including response rates, cost and profitability per account and life time value, among others. Qualitative indicators enable guidance at a creative, tone of voice and positioning level, whereas quantitative ones ensure that at a tactical level.

In all circumstances, it is critical to have a degree of control over consumers or trade during the changeover — either through existing distribution rights and channels, or through extensive public relations, advertising and promotion. Planning the transition is just as important; sound design and execution here can make the difference between success and failure.

The complex process of re-branding requires the involvement, not only of the project leadership team, but the involvement of staff is necessary, whether this consists in senior managers, or lower maagement levels or all staff. Also, customers should’t be left out of it.

The complexity, and therefore the resource-intensity, of the process, may require additional resources, such as external consultants. Being an infrequent process, the knowledge of experts, their dispassionate observation, and the extra hands they may be able to supply, should be considered.

Re-branding ia a complex and time consuming effort, than ussualy anticipated, thus the scale of the task should not be underestimated. Here is a list of critical success factors for the process:

  • Establish key stakeholders, both external and internal
  • Use external help to support change and to monitor and evaluate progress.
  • Include staff in the development process, to ensure commitment to the change
  • Communications must be continuous, consistent, sustained, and multilateral
  • Tailor communications to the needs of the different targets
  • Plan thoroughly; evaluate capacity and have contingency plans for potential crises
  • Equip and prepare people properly
  • Monitor and evaluate at all stages

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