This article originally appeared on CMO.com
How a company rolls out a rebrand establishes the scope, strategy, cost, and timeline, as well as a brand engagement plan for both internal and external audiences. It’s an extensive initiative for a company and one that needs to be tackled with a thoughtful approach. With that in mind, here are three key reminders when implementing a new brand. They apply to B2B and B2C brands alike.
1. There Is No Right Or Wrong Approach
Broadly, companies can take three different approaches to rolling out a new brand:
• Flipping the switch: All brand touch points are changed at once or within a short time frame and coordinated around a launch event and relevant communication campaigns.
• Phased transition: Priority brand touch points are changed at once or within a short time frame and coordinated around a launch. All other touch points follow a phased transition, which is completed within a designated time frame.
• Rolling transition: Brand touch points are transitioned as part of normal operational cycles when materials run out or as time and budget allow.
While flipping the switch may provide the greatest brand impact, it is often cost, resource, and logistically prohibitive.
So most organizations adopt a phased transition strategy that targets key branded touch points and customer experiences first to find the most effective approach to full transition–one that provides the right level of impact while minimizing any disruption to the business.
A successful brand rollout takes into account the complexity of the brand change, the business cycle, available resources, and, most importantly, the impact on customers and employees.
2. It’s Not Just A Marketing Exercise
While a rebrand initiative will impact the entire organization, in many cases the biggest challenge is getting the entire organization to understand that it is more than a marketing campaign and to understand the implications and opportunities it provides each area of the business.
Although the brand team has the vision and ambition for the brand, a lack of support from senior leadership across the organization can result in an ineffective implementation exercise focusing on limited aspects of a rebrand and ultimately one that does not deliver the full value of the rebrand.
You are setting yourself up for failure if you are focused on developing the brand guidelines and assets with an assumption that once these are handed over, the rest will fall into place. Strong leadership, a launch and implementation plan, sufficient budget and resources with strong governance, clear communications, all within a defined process, are equally essential components to a successful rebrand.
Additionally, underutilizing your employees undermines the potential opportunity for long-term success and financial ROI from a rebrand because it ignores the significant impact of every customer’s interaction with your new brand. Your employees should be champions for your brand and should not be overlooked.
3. Start Early And Stay Committed
It is misguided to stay focused on the job at hand and approach the project in a very linear fashion.
Implementation is not something that should be left until after the brand strategy and expression are developed. The brand implementation–resources and budget available to launch and manage the brand–may impact the strategy and solutions. These decisions should be made at the initiation of any rebranding exercise. To be successful, it must be a vital part of the brand strategy development process.
The length of time needed to get a plan developed and approved depends on many different factors, but generally the longer you have to plan, the greater the scale and speed of the rollout can be. By introducing the integration process at the beginning of a rebrand, you can prevent significant budget slips, poor brand application, and missed timelines. It also allows additional time to get companywide buy-in and help employees understand the vision.
While companies are bound to hit a few bumps with even the most successful rebrands, by keeping these tips in mind, you can deliver the best approach for the largest brand success.
Siegel+Gale is a global brand strategy, design, and experience firm.