January 31, 2019

The challenges of a rebrand


Rebranding can often be a daunting task for business leaders. It can be a significant time and monetary investment, which means the need to get it right first time is crucial. 

While every rebranding exercise is different and has its own unique set of challenges and opportunities here, we explore five that we and our client partners have frequently encountered over the years. 

1. Understanding what a brand is 

It is a common misconception that a brand is a logo. It isn’t.

A brand is arguably the single most important asset a business can own. A good brand defines who you are, why you exist, what you stand for, your unique position in the market, how you communicate and what you value. The result is a narrative or story that allows your business to talk to your customers and build a connection with them, even in your absence. 

This narrative forms what we call the verbal identity of the business. Only once this has been established should the visual identity be developed as a creative articulation of the verbal strategy. 

Many businesses underestimate the importance of building a strong verbal identity and only define their visual identity, their logo. This can mean the brand is one dimensional and doesn’t truly reflect what the business is and what it stands for. As a result, the impact it has on customers, employees and the market is limited at best.

2. Understanding the purpose of the exercise

There can be many reasons for wanting to rebrand:

• mark a new life-stage of the business
• bring to life a new direction in the business strategy
• define a better brand or market positioning
• differentiate from the competition
• appeal to a new/broader audience
• simplify and better communicate what the business is and does
• sharpen up the businesses image
• inspire and motivate the team
• drive better awareness and sales

Often, there isn’t one reason but a complex mix of many of the above and while it might not seem important, knowing why you are looking at rebranding is the first step to ensuring the process is successful and delivers both what you want and expect. 

Drilling down to understanding the primary motives isn’t always as straightforward as it seems but is important as it helps define the measurement criteria from which you can determine the level of success and how it can be attributed to the brand.

3. Knowing where to start

Trying to define the verbal identity can be incredibly tricky to ensure you establish differentiation in the market without diluting your unique opportunity. It can also be hard to really get to the bottom of what the business is and what stands for.

Our starting point with any branding exercise is insight. We speak to as many people as we can to get to know the business and really get under its skin. This includes employees, customers, suppliers and the management team. While this in itself may seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t need to be. By asking the right questions to the right people and listening to their needs the answers and opportunities present themselves. 

Once the insight has been gathered and consolidated it can be used to define the themes that form the basis of the strategy and the chapters of the story. 

4. Bringing stakeholders on the journey

Rebranding can be a contentious exercise and it may be met with resistance. Ensuring any risk of opposition is minimised is key to ensuring the success of the new brand once it has been launched. 

The best way of overcoming this challenge is to bring stakeholders on the journey with you. By engaging them early on in the insight process they are given an opportunity to share their point of view – while it is difficult to take on board every single person’s perspective, acknowledging them in the process is fundamental to getting their buy in once the brand is launched. 

Communicating the reasons behind the rebrand and how the business reached the solutions it did is also key to ensuring people understand the process. If they understand the process and the reasons for why certain decisions have been made, it becomes easier to bring them onboard.

5. Momentum

Many businesses that embark on a rebrand project expect an immediate uplift in sales and business performance. Unfortunately, this is very unlikely without the support and momentum of a wider sales and marketing strategy that ensures the brand reaches its target audience.

A brand should be seen as the platform from which the business can communicate more effectively with its customers and create better differentiation from its competition. However, if the brand is not taken to market effectively then the audience will not have the opportunity see or experience it. 

To ensure the brand is given the best opportunity to succeed the business will also need to invest in a communication strategy that focusses on targeted market and sales conversion based on the strategic narrative the brand has built. 

While rebranding can be a complicated and challenging process, the right experience and expertise can make it a seamless and ultimately highly successful project. 

When we work with business leaders, they often don’t know what they need, part of our job is to help them define the brief and understand what can be achieved through a strategic approach to brand.

If you’re considering a rebrand or feel your current brand doesn’t reflect who your business is and what it wants to be, please get in touch to see how we could support you.