Brand investment will always be vital for growth, competitive advantage and shareholder value. A carefully executed rebrand can yield many benefits, such as re-establishing brand relevance, increasing awareness among target markets and even redefining your business model. In fact, an organisation’s brand is its most valuable intangible asset, making up an average 18% of its total market value. However, the process behind a cost-effective rebrand is still misunderstood in many boardrooms.
Underestimating the complex process can result in an ineffective rebrand which alienates loyal customers and employees, wastes resources and diverts time away from core tasks.
Having supported global businesses on brand change projects, I’ve seen how the key to savings millions while running a successful rebrand lies in structure, control, and efficiency.
Here are eight key steps to run a cost-effective and impactful rebrand.
1. Define a strong brand proposition
Strong brands ‘promise and prove’: they make an enticing proposition and prove it every day. It’s important to have a brand proposition that is clearly delivered throughout your messaging and culture. This will ensure the brand can be communicated coherently, no matter how much it changes.
Quantitative and qualitative research on brand perception and consistency of the brand promise will help the organisation to perfect its customer journey. Elevating discussion about the brand proposition to the boardroom will also bring brand and business strategy closer together, which has been shown to boost business performance.
2. Create an inventory
It’s easy to underestimate the number of branded elements that will be impacted by the change. This can easily lead to inefficient resourcing in key areas, such as printing of branded assets.
Pre-empt any oversights by creating an inventory of all branded elements according to each area of the business. Consider your digital presence, partner sites, marketing campaigns, vehicles, offices, and stores, plus any other products, printed collateral, contracts, and intellectual properties.
Individual teams should be asked to feed in their own requirements for brand assets, alongside information about their procurement cycles.
This inventory will help you to identify and prioritise cost-saving opportunities by piggybacking on planned renewal cycles, as well as any planned internal improvement programmes that already exist, such as investment in IT or operations.
3. Project Management Office
An internal Project Management Office (PMO) will add organisation, oversight and gravitas to the project. This could be fulfilled in-house, by contractors, a specialist brand management company or a collaboration of all three.
The PMO will ensure that the rebrand is managed on time and on budget. It will update the management team on a regular basis and focus on identifying cost-saving opportunities.
4. Plan for the tidal wave of change
The extra workload of a rebrand for employees can be overwhelming and can strain internal relationships. If poorly managed, this strain can lead to inefficiencies across the business – and irreparable damage to important relationships.
To avoid this kind of disruption, the Project Management Office should be responsible for planning, budgeting and allocating any additional resources that may be required.
Make sure to consult directly with each business area to see how much support they will need to implement the brand change – and be wary of any teams that underestimate the amount of support they will need!
5. Re-define the brand organisation
A major rebrand is a perfect opportunity to re-define how the brand is organised and managed internally. That means it’s time to say goodbye to the ‘silo’ structure, the ‘corporate style police’ and even the idea of an internal ‘brand owner’.
Teams such as IT, HR and Retail all have a stake in brand management and performance, but they rarely discuss it collaboratively.
To future-proof your brand organisation, brand managers should become more like community or relationship managers, who engage internal stakeholders to influence brand development, rather than implementing a rule book.
6. Encourage coherency, don’t enforce consistency
Ten years ago, many businesses believed that the key to a strong brand was a consistent corporate identity, but the fast pace of technological change means brand management must become more dynamic.
Today it’s more about conveying one coherent and convincing promise across an ever-growing range of touch points.
An evolving set of brand principles through well-organised brand management will be an essential to coincide with the rebrand. Besides improving efficiency and the refreshing the concept of brand ownership internally, more dynamic brand principles will also make it easier to connect with consumers in a transparent and personalised way.
7. Measure brand performance
Clear KPIs and performance metrics will help the organisation to track and adjust as the rebrand is rolled out.
By tracking the impact of the rebrand according to agreed metrics, the organisation will be able to make better informed decisions for any future brand investment.
This data will also be vital to prove ROI and justify brand investment at board level in the future.
A brand dashboard will be an invaluable tool in this area, making the measurement of brand performance easier by merging different data sets to provide real-time insights into brand analytics.
8. Engage your employees as influencers
Remember that brand values start from within and a strong brand requires attention from everyone throughout the company. Employees should be considered as the original brand advocates – they carry your brand promise to the consumer and define its values – and this is often an untapped resource of enthusiasm and momentum.
A ‘big bang moment’ for employees following a rebrand, like a launch event, can be a great way to harness that resource by clearly communicating how they should take it forward.
This can be cheaper, more effective and more convincing for consumers compared to the cost of employing the services of a celebrity or social media influencers.
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