So you want to rebrand?

The rebranding of your business is not something you can enter into without careful and lengthy consideration. It is a major move. It’s crucial for your future – and handled well it should bring about appreciable payback for years to come.

You may well have outgrown your business brand. You are ready to move on and you want the branding to spearhead the company’s thrust forward.

But beware. Successful brand management is an all-encompassing exercise. Yes, first impressions are vital and visual identity is to the fore, yet reputations cannot be split. The brand is the entire organisation, top to bottom, not just its packaging. It is there to evoke trust and cement a sense of loyalty.

Hence, that careful consideration of every aspect of what you are about to undertake, starting with whether the updating is to be incremental or a complete overhaul. Subtle modifications or a radical approach? Don’t change for the sake of change, of course.

Total Enterprise

The look and feel of your rebranding will be pivotal, but start by reviewing the total enterprise. What problems are you attempting to solve? What needs to be replaced or put in place? Are your colleagues ready to move ahead with you?

Then, how is the marketplace changing and what has been the response of competitors? Is the customer profile heading in new directions? Are you failing to win the type of business that you want? Is the brand out of date or transmitting imprecise messages? Is it associated with something that has lost its relevance?

Your rebranding is a milestone opportunity to start to lead, no longer to follow. So, what do you want to achieve? What resources are available to you? What is it that you want to portray and convey? To whom? For how long? And will you be able to deliver on your promises?

The new brand will tell your story for you, so make sure that you know precisely what the story comprises. Be true to your company. Be honest and maintain credibility at all times. Just saying so won’t make it so.

Research

In your planning, take account of the long term as well as the more immediate. Supplement your crystal ball with an abundance of relevant market research. As the master joiner told his apprentice: “Measure twice, cut once.”

Among the many aspects to think through is whether or not your business name should alter in any way – or in every way. Obviously, stay well clear of the banal, the hackneyed, the corny and the crass.

You should be careful not to devise an obscure business name, making it difficult for customers to know what you are about. Remember when the Royal Mail tried to redeliver itself as Consignia? It switched back speedily to Royal Mail, recognising it as a first-class trading style.

It can be folly to take a geographical approach. More than likely it will become a hindrance as your company grows. Should this have happened already it is time for that change. Major corporations have made a clean break: Minnesota Manufacturing & Mining became 3M and Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation was reborn as HSBC.

If your rebranding is to be comprehensive rather than evolutionary, expect to be involved in a huge, but exciting process. There will be back office changes, retraining and enthusing of staff, new print and collateral, signage, the website, social media accounts, the advising of stakeholders, PR support, revitalised marketing strategies and revamped sales targets to grapple with. The new brand will not be created overnight but the outcome is likely to be roundly invigorating.

Consistency

Once you are on the road to repositioning the brand, it is important to remain focused and consistent in the ways in which you portray that positive new presence. Your brand should be an inspiration, bursting out with business confidence.

Keys to success include planning, self-definition, transparency, accountability and an abundance of patience.

While it may be tempting to take a DIY approach, enlisting professional guidance can make all the difference in successfully establishing the brand where it matters – with customers, past, present and future. Skilled help with identifying who they are, what they are thinking and how you might interact can make a wealth of difference.

Speaking of wealth, the best brands keep the profit train on track at all times. Careful management of your brand on an ongoing basis will make sure that it can continue to do that wealth-creating job, communicating strong, clear messages all across the marketplace.

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