It’s easy to overlook some of the most common hidden costs of a rebrand. And those hidden costs don’t fully reveal themselves until they quickly become reality. Knowing about them and planning for them in advance will help reduce the pain of “hidden-cost shock.”
1. Rebrands Require Resources
Assuming that you are enlisting the help of a branding consultant don’t make the mistake of thinking they are going to do all the work. Rebranding is a partnership. And that will require time from leadership, management, and staff. Typically the cllent will assign a project manager. That will be supported by an inter-disciplinary project team. Leadership will need to engage at key decision making junctures. Administrative support may be needed to faciliate information flow. All of that requires time. In addition to everyone’s normal day-to-day responsibilities they need to be given the time to dedicate to the rebranding project. In planning the project, consider the time cost of those that will be required to ensure that your investment in rebranding is a success.
2. Don’t Waste Inventory
It is not uncommon for companies to forget about how they need to manage the transition of their communication inventory. Once the decision on rebranding has been decided it’s a good time to look at inventory for both corporate and marketing communication. It is not the time to be ordering two years worth of coporate stationary. It is a time to develop what the inventory transition plan will be. Ideally draw down on existing inventory stock in advance of the rebrand launch. But that’s rarely the case. It may mean some short term inventory runs to minimize any waste. Or create a sticker solution for any excess. And it may mean just accepting that there will be a period of overlap between the old and new branding system. But that means clear communication to customers so they understand what’s going on.
3. Brand Education Matters
All staff and stakeholders need to understand the impact on their role and responsibility in the rebrand roll-out. This requires brand education and training. And it should start while the rebranding is in process. Keeping everyone informed along the way will help ensure buy-in. Once the brand has been fully formulated and principles defined it’s a good time to think about training. Any training before public roll-out will help equip everyone to bring the brand to life. But like other company resources this requires time to be set aside so that training can be made available. It’s another one of those hidden costs associated with company resource allocation.
4. Don’t Forget Customers
One of the objectives of a rebrand is to broaden and deepen customer reach. The last thing you want is to lose customers, and their revenue, because they get lost in the changeover. Take the time to communicate to customers well in advance that change is happening. And also let them know why change is happening and what it means to them. It is an opportunity to promote and energize the brand that rarely comes around. Take advantage of it. But surprising customers with a rebrand change is not the best strategy. It can be confusing at best and detrimental at worst. You don’t want a loss in customer loyalty to be one of your hidden costs.
5. Brand Launch is Only the Beginning
Once the brand standards have been completed, delivered and the final bill paid to your brand consultant the work is only beginning. There is the obvious work in implementation. The brand has to be applied to the website, marketing matierals and corporate communication. But the hard part is keeping everything aligned after the implementation launch. It’s inevitable that exceptions will arise. Growth may require new kinds of brand adaptation. New products and services may be created. Achieving consistency will likely be a struggle. Brands require management like any other asset of the company. Putting into place and assigning brand management responsibility should be a priority. Don’t overlook this long-term hidden cost.
Don’t Let Hidden Costs Be a Surprise
Hidden costs don’t have to be so hidden. It is just a matter of thinking ahead as to the consequences of a rebrand program. The fees of your brand consultant may be top of mind when you initially budget the investment. But the other hidden costs will be infintiely greater and if overlooked could impact the success of the rebrand effort.