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Branding / Mar 30, 2021

Considerations When Rebranding


Geoff Wasserman

A rebrand can have a long-term marketing impact with customers, but it also presents opportunities in which to consider leveraging the rebrand throughout an organization.

Whenever a business considers a rebrand,
it’s always important to know what’s
involved, what the deliverables will be, and
the total cost —not just in dollars, but in
time and resources from your own team.


1. Hiring Market Leaders

Top performers in your industry no doubt have had you on their radar at some point. A rebrand is a chance to communicate a fresh vision and signal a new level of commitment. If a highly-sought-after star performer has had a thread of discontent and is considering switching firms, especially sales (where their success is heavily dependent on brand and marketing support), a plan and even an increased recruiting budget may be a critical part of your rebrand plans.

2. Retaining + Leveraging Talent

Top performers are willing to “wait and see,” especially if they have a voice in a rebrand’s impact on the organization. Many times, early inclusion of top performers early in the process, even considering rebrand-related task forces for a select few, provides new, fresh sets of eyes internally for ideas on new offerings, culture improvements, and more based on the new brand.

3. Media

In general, new creative isn’t newsworthy, but if the rebrand is a result of significant changes to your organization, consider re-introducing your vision to key media, both in- and out of your industry. If your vision includes projections impacting economic development (e.g. hiring, facility expansion, etc.), make sure to include your local media, too.

A climate of change invites critics and competition. Make sure you’re maximizing both traditional and online media opportunities to tell your story your way, or someone else will do it for you. Consider pricing changes, vulnerability of customer bases, and top performers. A rebrand with a clear, proactive comms plan shuts doors you don’t want opened by competitors seizing their opportunity.

4. Transitioning Legacy Mindsets

Firing employees and switching vendors can be painful, and many leaders delay these decisions. A rebrand provides a longer off-ramp to honorably discuss and align much-needed transitions of legacy employees, vendors, and certain unprofitable/unserviceable product lines. It’s also a chance to re-establish “what matters” and intentionally kill legacy mindsets and language that erodes your vision — and organizational excitement — about your brand and customers. Remember, when it comes to stakeholders, Weigh-In = Buy-In.

5. Take More Risks

Risk is the currency of great brands. The more you’re willing to spend, the more reward you open your company up to reap. Rebranding also creates a rare environment within which internal and external stakeholders are willing to be open to “trust-us” decisions. This is a time to dramatically elevate your organization’s Operational Maturity Level (OML). It’s also a time to consider bundling some of those lingering, unresolved big decisions.

6. Plan For Critics

Unless you took the safest possible route and slapped lipstick on the pig, your risk should also move people out of their comfort zone (competitors, customers, and even pockets of employees). Meaningful change will inevitably do that, especially when a name change is involved. Every change, good or bad, brings gains and losses to people impacted by it, and we, as humans, grieve loss. Expect it, and anticipate how to accelerate moving people through those five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) in ways that make them feel heard, and that you’re alongside them, leading them and not behind pushing them.

Don’t relaunch without a post-launch impact plan: This is your chance to set up a “We rebranded, now what?” communication plan (3-6 months post-rebrand). Keep some time and money in the tank to model growth. Decide your plan, and have them lined up before the announcement. Think of your
rebrand not as a one-time launch, but more as a 6-12 month series of momentum-building announcements around your business’s future, vision, most profitable business lines, improvements, and culture shifts, including potential new hires.

7. Focus on the Creating, Not the Creative

Be careful not to fall into the common trap of getting the value proposition of the rebrand backward. Your win comes when you celebrate and leverage the creating, not the creative. With the exception of e-commerce — where big changes in UX/UI can deliver a better customer experience — making the brand’s re-launch about the new logo or web design screams, “Look at us!” However, emphasizing what you’re creating, meaningful new ways to build brand connection screams: “Here’s what’s meaningfully different for you, reflected in new brand elements.” It’s a powerful difference.

Keep Reading: Mistakes to Avoid During a Rebrand

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