Maybe you’re in this situation: You work for a great company that you believe in deeply, love the products and services, but are generally ashamed to give out your dated ‘1987-called-and-wants-their-stationery-back’ business card. Maybe your logo is completely non-functional in any practical marketing sense due to obscure design styles and awkward proportions. Maybe there’s 6 slightly different versions of the same logo floating around and no consistency in your organization. Maybe a few other companies have adopted the same style and look of your company’s brand and you’re teetering on being viewed as ‘generic’. Or maybe the marketplace is just starting to lose interest in what you have to say.
You’re convinced that the company you work for needs an update, a fresh set of wheels to cruise for new prospects and bolster sales. If this sounds familiar, then you’ve likely stumbled upon a legitimate concern within your organization that may be going unaddressed. Your company needs to rebrand.
So you gather yourself, start enviously looking at competitors who have the total package, and maybe non competitors who you just admire for their bold design style and cutting edge advertising, and plan your attack. You decide to slip the topic into conversation during a sales or marketing meeting thinking that everyone must be on the same page. And then you get one of these responses from the President, CEO or Owner.
- Rebrand? Our look has gotten us this far, and we’re doing just fine.
- We can’t afford a rebrand right now, but we’ll talk about it in the future.
- What do you mean? My nephew designed that logo, and I think it looks great!
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Your soul is crushed. You know in your heart of hearts that an updated brand identity and message could inspire the masses both internally and externally. You and your colleagues would have a renewed sense of pride and boldly claim allegiance to the brand. Business cards would be flying out of your hands faster than ever before! But you like your job and the company you work for, so you carry on hoping that someday the company leadership decides to pull the trigger.
FACT: Simply put, the decision to rebrand must be endorsed by the leaders in your company. There is no other way.
So what can you do to convince the powers-that-be that your company could greatly benefit from a top-down rebrand? You need to build a case around the business value of rebranding. There are many ways in which a rebrand can add tremendous value to the bottom line, and those are the kinds of ideas your boss is looking for. Here are a few places to start.
- Brand Story – A rebrand gives your company an excuse to talk about itself. I mean really talk about itself and communicate your core values all over again. It’s a tremendous opportunity to re-state your brand promise and remind your audience that you’re serious about growth and making progress.
- Demonstrate Innovation – Rebranding is a bold statement to the market that your company is savvy and sophisticated and that you actively want to re-engage with your audience. This can increase business leads by having prospects take a second look, and maybe take your company more seriously. It can also encourage existing clients to take a second look at your full product range and potentially increase repeat business.
- Legacy – Rebranding can be a way to honour your history as a company by preserving the essence of your original brand while providing a fresh new spin on things. In other words, “We’re established, but forward thinking”. Not all rebrands are a do-over, in fact the best companies rebrand on a consistent basis (every 15 – 20 years) and at the very least freshen things up as trends and consumer behaviour change with generations.
- Brand value is a tangible item on the balance sheet – Creating enhanced loyalty is money in the bank when it comes to selling a business. Rebranding can enhance brand value by creating a more engaged and loyal audience, and reduce overall churn. Although it’s difficult to measure, it’s an important factor when selling (or sometimes acquiring) a business.
- Recruitmemt – More often than ever before, we’re actively recruiting the Millennial generation (Millennial’s are born between 1980 and 2001 and are currently 14-35 years old). This generation is typically more interested in knowing that the company they’re going to work for has strong values and purpose, is a solid place to work, and has a bright future. If your company is competing for the top of the class, it’s imperative that you look engaging and ahead of the pace of your competitors.
- Consistency – Companies with aged or dated identities often suffer from lack of consistent brand usage across the organization. Colour variations, proportion, different versions of the logo and so forth can be a tell tale sign that the brand has run wild and its time to reset. Gather evidence from your colleagues by documenting examples of misused or dated collateral and logo examples. Use this as a case to create a renewed set of brand standards and logo usage guidelines to get everything back on track. And this is a perfect opportunity to freshen things up with a new look.
- Cost Savings – When you hear “Rebranding is too expensive; we’ll do it in the future”. This isn’t uncommon to hear, because rebranding can be a costly and resource intensive exercise. But the truth is that it’s not going to get any cheaper and only gets more expensive as your company grows. New hires, expanded fleets, more inventory, new product lines will all need to be rebranded at some point. Tackling this before going through a growth phase can save cash down the road.
Simply put, rebranding creates opportunity.
Bottom line, a rebrand is a major opportunity to generate new opportunities for the company. So even if your company is ‘doing just fine’, could it benefit from opening new doors by telling the brand story in a fresh and contemporary way? The answer is usually yes, assuming that the opportunity is properly capitalized on.
What not to do
Ok, so you’re working hard to build a case around the value of rebranding, but there are a few big pitfalls to avoid that could sink your dreams quickly.
- Do not go it alone – Do not take the initiative to redesign the company logo on your own and pitch it to your boss. Rebranding is a sensitive exercise the requires research, strategy and design expertise and throwing something on the table prematurely can annoy people or turn them off to the whole idea. This includes outsourcing it to a crowd sourcing platform (like 99Designs) just to ‘see’ what it might look like. Get buy-in first and then go to the pros. And by ‘pros’, we mean branding specialists, not the local sign shop or office supply store.
- Do not insult or degrade the existing brand openly. Approach the opportunity with positivity and support for the company no matter what the decision is. Affirm your respect for the company and your passion and be a solid brand advocate.
- Do not stop using the current brand collateral – We’ve seen this happen before when people stop using the collateral they hate altogether in favour of something generic or unbranded. Even though you aren’t a fan, you should continue to help build the company and be a team player.
Convincing the leadership team to rebrand when you’re getting resistance can be a daunting task, but an evidence based approach is usually your best bet. Do your homework, create a compelling value-based argument and work collaboratively with a branding expert to explore all of the possibilities of a rebrand for your organization. We wish you the best of success!