For clients, managing the rebrand process can be both a challenge and an opportunity. It’s a challenge if the process, roles, and responsibilities are not clearly defined. A lack of planning will likely result in poor decisions, delays, and even more fees in your branding partner’s pocket. Opportunity comes with a well-considered plan that will lead to better results, better buy-in, and less frustration. To avoid a misguided rebrand process, all you have to do is be aware of the three most common mistakes.
1. No Defined Project Team
It’s important to understand that it is not the responsibilityof your brand consultant to manage your part of the rebrand process. You have to have a project team with clearly defined roles. These will be the people who will follow the process from beginning to end, attend every meeting, facilitate decision-making, and ensure good information flow. They become your in-house experts on the brand. In fact, they could even carry forward into your brand management team post-launch.
The most important decision regarding the project team is to keep it small. The ideal size is four. No more than six. A “cast of thousands,” to make everyone feel good, will only bog things down. The composition of the project team should be multi-disciplinary. That’s usually someone from marketing, brand management (if there is a brand management function), a senior executive, and someone from the in-house creative team. They should all be at a senior management level and at least one with decision-making authority. They should be good to go from day one and be willing to dedicate the necessary time through out the project.
2. No Decision Protocol
In managing the rebrand process there is nothing worse than not knowing who is making decisions, when, and who ultimately has the last say. Decision-making in most organizations is not a democratic process, so don’t let that be the decision model for the project. There are typically three levels of an effective decision-making approach for rebranding.
- The first level resides with the project team. They should have the authority to make day-to-day decisions and guide the project. They play an essential role in facilitating decisions by making recommendations up to the second level.
- The second resides with the C-suite and often includes the CMO, CEO, President, and sometimes COO, or CFO. The project team will be responsible to keep the C-suite informed, educated, and equipped to make objective and rational decisions. However, it is important to establish who, out of the C-suite, has ultimate authority. In the end, someone has to decide.
- The third level rests with the Board of Directors or other like body. It is not always necessary but some organizations want to keep the Board informed of a rebrand decision especially if it could have a direct impact on business financial performance.
The worst decision you could make, however, is to allow employees to vote on a new logo design.
3. No Communication Strategy
Failure to share information about a rebrand can easily torpedo the rebrand buy-in. And it is so easy to avoid. Trying to keep a rebrand secret within the organization is a mistake. The rebrand shouldn’t be a surprise. It also shouldn’t be at the mercy of rumors which never turn out to be a good thing. At some point, you are going to want buy-in. The best way to do that is to manage communications with the organization so that staff feel informed, considered, and respected. After all, they will become one of your strongest brand advocates once the rebrand is launched. A communication plan doesn’t have to be all that complicated.
- Project Statement. The first step is to create a “project statement” that briefly summarizes what the project is all about, key goals, rough timing, and when the rebrand is intended to be launched. This is also a good time to highlight that there will be some internal brand indoctrination to unveil what the brand is to become.
- FAQ. People always have questions. It’s not a bad idea to have a FAQ posted somewhere that all employees have access to. It’s easy enough to anticipate the most obvious questions. This relieves some of the pressure off the project team by ensuring that the answers are consistent. Some kind of internal forum is also an opportunity for employees to share their questions and the project team to share their answers.
- Updates. Periodic updates are a great way to make the employees feel like they know how the project is progressing. It will be up to the project team to decide what’s shared and when. But a good rule of thumb is to keep it at a very high level, no detail, and certainly no premature reveal of what the rebrand is going to look like.
- Executive Team. The executive team should also be kept informed of progress. A good practice is to meet at key junctures in the process. But be careful not to reveal too much too soon. That will only begin to invite criticism and second-guessing. Which is the last thing you need to keep the project running smoothly.
- The Reveal. When everything is approved then it’s time to do the internal reveal among staff. It’s essential to frame the work around goals, reason, opportunity, and how to bring the brand to life.
Who needs more stress?
Rebranding is not easy. There is a lot to consider. And there is a lot that can go wrong. But why make it harder than it needs to be? A little planning, clear delegation of roles, and keeping lines of communication open will go a long way in efficiently managing the rebrand process. Not entirely without stress. But less than you would otherwise have.