What is rebranding and what is the best way to rebrand a business? Karolina Pospischil, Creative Director at Admind Branding & Communications, is sharing the right reasons to transform your brand, plus the ultimate guide on reaching your intended market.
What is rebranding?
In my opinion, rebranding is a new way of thinking about how to get your brand’s purpose translated and represented. Don’t think of it as a work-stream or a refresh. It’s a change that can be visual. Hence, it could be also related to brand communication that follows a meaningful shift in business.
What are the key rebranding benefits?
Brands go through life cycles that have to follow cultural and financial changes in society on all levels. This way they remain relevant and can grow with their audiences; rebranding strategy is a whole process that helps to align the goals and check-in with the mission – to avoid spending too much energy on branding detached from the needs of its audience.
In other words, however complex a process, branding or rebranding services saves energy, consolidates efforts, and unifies a brand in midst of needed changes. It’s a huge event in the life cycle that has the power to bring clients, employees, and new brand ambassadors on board. After all – past the profit – businesses are here to improve people’s lives, whatever it means for the community you are building. Rebranding means that you will reach your intended market and express to them clearly how you will improve their life.
How to rebrand a company? Where to start?
First of all – make sure you have clarified internally why you plan to do brand transformation. Is it a moment in your brand’s history when you have to re-evaluate its long-term value? Did you have to have to pivot as a business recently due to changes in industry or society? Is there a new heritage line that you want to activate? Are you planning a joint venture, merger and acquisition, or brand migration? Are there key changes internally in your company’s culture that need to be visible outside? Check where are you at with your brand assets. If you feel like, at this step, you need more clarity – take a brand health check or meet with a brand consultant.
Admind has created a quick sneak peek process that provides insight into what may be hampering your company. We wanted it to be as broad as possible to ensure that all aspects of brand life are covered – from internal corporate brand strategy processes to the condition of the brand mission, vision, and its external communication.
What are the next rebranding steps?
Once you know why do you want to rebrand then you move to how to rebrand. Establish a process with a timeline. Partner up with branding experts or branding agency to set your expectations, goals, and a timeline for rebranding; discuss the best and most suitable brand process for you.
Define your level of engagement during the process and the most comfortable methods for all your stakeholders. It could be a workshop. It could be a set of brief-deepening exercises that you will receive, as well as tailored interviews with your stakeholders and/or employees. Let the experts guide you through the phase of immersion to understand the condition of your brand and your needs.
After a full brief is established, key brand materials will be shared and the process of establishing the milestones and the timeline (and of course the tools and communication channels) should be finalized. The next step would be the brand strategy phase, which provides a closer analysis of the WHY – rebranding purpose and how it will shape the process moving forward. The development phase follows, drawing deeply from the newly established brand strategy.
Those two are not disconnected; a brand that is going through the development phase grows into colors, shapes, meaning, and visual tonality, along with defined communication levels. You have to make sure you get to the real heart of it first, understand it, and get your stakeholders on board. Each brand that goes through a significant change needs to rely on its internal brand ambassadors first to successfully implement a new brand – you have to have your team behind you and in support of the new direction.
Then lastly, there is the brand implementation phase. What are the touchpoints your brand will need when it is first revealed? Lighthouse, or pilot projects?
During the brand strategy phase, you defined the right brand communication style and channels. Hence now it’s time to bring them to life. All phases, as mentioned previously, depending on your WHY. There are longer and shorter roads to achieve the goal of successful rebranding. Defining your own, personalized to your needs process, will be king here.
What are the most important rules we need to follow?
Always be honest with yourself, your stakeholders, and the rebranding experts about why you are really doing it. Be ready to commit to your goals. Brand strategy is an ocean of choices and directions, and it’s tempting to see yourself in many different ways. In fact, that is one of the most delicate moments in rebranding – choosing your brand strategy direction, trusting in it, and committing to it.
Additionally – throughout the process – gather your storytelling materials and insights. With the rebranding, you are making a big step in the company’s life and it’s best to have it documented also from the backstage side – all that will become amazing memory and storytelling input for your future.
What is the brand promise?
Coming back to the notion that brands exist to make people’s lives better – brand promise will be the verbalization of how your brand can precisely can make lives better. It is an experience you created for your customers or value that is brought to them. It is a certainty, something that you know for sure will happen for them during the interaction they have with your brand.
The brand promise has to be felt under the skin by your clients and employees – even if they don’t know what your magic formula for brand positioning is. The reaction you are aiming for is, “YES, that is totally how I could feel it, every time I saw what they do.” A brand promise should be locked into your brand visually as well – those two have to relate and have dialogue throughout the whole process.
Who are the stakeholders and how do they participate in the process?
There has to be a clear project owner, an appointed person who makes the final sign-off. Then there are also the employees who participate in the discovery/immersion phase. They will become new brand ambassadors. On the agency side, there will be the Project Manager, the Creative Director, the strategist, the brand consultant, and the strategy and workshop facilitators. There will also be a design lead, and designers. The number of these depends on the complexity of your brief or your time obligations.
What are the best rebranding examples in your opinion?
I love AirBnb’s story from the very beginning. I watched the brand grow and pivot when necessary, and seeing how that unfolds into new branding is impressive. It is a brand that has stepped up its honesty and care for all stakeholders. And this is amazing; its values and brand promise translates perfectly into its brand identity.
What are the pain points and challenges in the transformation process?
One thing I already mentioned – it is easy to be excited about many options around brand strategy. Although, picking one and making it the core of your next steps is key. The next pain point that might occur is the brand implementation mode. You must have your toolkit ready – brand governance processes, ambassadors, informed managers, and the agreed ‘Day 1’ actions. It’s important to have an air-tight plan, otherwise, the implementation might be a longer or more complicated process than needed.