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Answers to Common Branding Questions

There are four key symptoms that point to a need to consider rebranding:
  1. On-going loss of market share even though investments in advertising have increased;
  2. Disconnect between what customers expect and what they get;
  3. A failure to maintain consistency across all forms of marketing communication;
  4. Low employee morale and motivation.
Any one of these, plus other symptoms, can warrant an assessment to determine if, and to what degree, rebranding can help.

Unfortunately there is not one simple answer. The cost of rebranding is a function of the scope, complexity, and objectives of a rebrand program. Cost is also not necessarily dictated by the size of the company. Each branding initiative is unique. However as a rule of thumb the cost of rebranding can be as little as $10,000 or as much as several hundred thousand.

There are, of course, many variables that factor into a projects’ timing. On the consulting side it’s how long it literally takes to do the work. On the client side it’s how long it takes to make decisions. And who is involved in making those decisions. It’s a lot easier to predict how long it takes to do the work. But each client has their own internal decision-making process that could keep things moving at a brisk pace or slow things down to a snail’s crawl. Unless you are Proctor and Gamble, you can figure 1 – 2 months in discovery depending on how much market research is conducted. Allow another month or two for strategy development. Design will run an additional two months. So, from start through design five to six months is fairly common. On top of that however, remember implementation, training, and possible on-going brand management. Branding is something you don’t want to rush through.

The value of brand has been shown to exceed the value of a company’s tangible assets by virtue of public perception of the brand. That is what yields brand equity. In the short term any investment in a brand will contribute to value that adds to bottom line profitability. It’s the value difference in what you pay for a cup of coffee between one branded McDonald’s and one branded Starbucks.

The scope of work for a rebranding project varies by the objectives, issues, and opportunities. The most typical rebranding project would include:
  1. Market research and issues assessment
  2. Brand strategy platform formulation
  3. Name and/or Logo and identity system design
  4. Standards
  5. Application including website, business system and collateral design

A logo is only one expression of a brand. But a brand is so much more. A brand is reputation, what people believe it stands for, it’s vision and mission, distinction, products and services, and so much more. A logo is only symbolic of the brand.

Branding is primarily intended to build value while advertising is generally focused on building awareness. Brand is a long-term proposition to shape perceptions that are essential to how the brand is promoted through advertising.

Your employees are your strongest advocates and one of the most trusted voices about your brand. The more they understand and believe in your brand the more effective they can be in advancing and promoting what gives your brand a competitive advantage.

The most important goal of research is to provide insights on what your customer believe about your brand as opposed to what you hope they believe. It can also tell you how you are, or not, relevant to their needs and wants, what they are loyal to, and what opportunities there are for you to excel.

Brand management is the organization’s governance policy and procedures to protect and build long term brand equity and value. It is the structure, method and means of managing brand expression and experience consistently across all points of contact.

The four most important considerations in selecting a branding consultant are:
  1. Do they have the right skills and expertise that match your particular needs?
  2. Do they have a track record in solving similar kinds of challenges?
  3. Do they take the time to educate their clients so they make informed decisions?
  4. Do they work as collaborative partners?

There are three important rules about measuring brand performance. Rule No 1: Brand performance requires patience. It is a long-term investment. Don’t expect immediate results. It takes time, diligence, and commitment to move the needle. But the long-term results can be profound. Rule No 2: Define what you are measuring. Increase in profitability or revenue is not necessarily the primary metric. It is often a by-product of the other things you will do to advance brand performance. Brand is often measured against: reputation-building; market perceptions; audience resonance; relevancy; meaningful distinction; and other attributes that matter to superior brand performance. Rule No 3: Have a plan for what you want to measure. Once you define what you want to measure have a plan for how and when you want to do it. A brand performance market research plan would be a good start. But be sure you have a benchmark to measure against.

First it is important to understand what brand standards are not. They are not a “style guide.” A style guide is limited to the graphic specifications of logo, formats, typography, colors, and few simple illustrations of the most typical applications, which helps guide the basic visual expression of the brand. Brand standards, on the other hand, are the primary reference for managing and protecting the integrity of the brand long term. They include brand strategy, brand architecture, identity system specifications, application principles, key application design, and brand governance.

Branding builds value and loyalty, while marketing positions products and services. Branding is a long term proposition to shape perceptions to reinforce distinction, relevance and reputation. Marketing is how products are created, distributed and promoted to a target audience segment.⠀

A Brand Journey is the sequence of touchpoint interactions that a customer has with a brand that begins with an initial point of contact to the completion of a desired end result. The totality of a customer’s brand experience is comprised of multiple brand journeys. Each touchpoint in the brand journey is an opportunity to reinforce the brand or undermine it.⠀

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