4 Steps to Ensure A Successful Rebrand
By: Joshua Cruce, PMP
A brand is the life and breath of an organization. It embodies every aspect of the company and is made up of all contributors of the firm, from the janitor to the CEO. Rebranding a company is a high stakes business. ultimately, you are refocusing the identity of the company. The most successful re-brands use input from all employees and stakeholders. Of course, this is easier said than done, as everyone has their opinions and thoughts of the brand, and someone has to steer the ship toward brand success. A strong brand is created using an “all-in” approach. This is not as reckless as it sounds – it starts with breaking through the leadership silo and involving the whole team in reviewing the brand from the bottom up.
One major roadblock can be a leadership silo. This occurs when there is an organic break in communication between the C-suite and the rest of the company. Silos occur for two main reasons:
- Leaders feel they have all of the information needed to make decisions. Since they develop the vision, strategy and operations plan, they feel confident they have all the information needed about the brand and customer.
- Managers filter pertinent information about the organization t giving an inadequate picture of how employees and customers view the company.
Customers will never know the brand as intimately as company leaders do, but customers usually know what they want, and what they are and are not getting. Strong branding slides off the rail when leadership insists on building the company’s personality based on how they personally see the brand.. Leadership has already been sold on the brand. To learn how your customers actually perceive your brand, ask vendors, all level of employees, organizational partners, etc. The further away from the C-suite, the closer to the customer you may find yourself.
To ensure a rebranding exercise is executed smoothly and has lasting success, empower the company toward a unified vision. When a company alters their positioning and focus through rebranding, there may be a sense of uncertainty about the future. This feeling is avoidable and can be replaced by a widespread expectation of future success. Building a unified vision starts in the C-Suite. If there is a lack of support and buy-in at the top it will infect the entire operation like a malignant virus. Starting with a unified voice from leadership nurtures confidence and trust throughout the rest of the teams.
Once all teams have rallied around a unified vision of the future, it is time for the company to begin the work of rebranding and positioning the company toward the vision. This stage is a sensitive one, given the nature of organizational change and stakeholders involved. The best way to ensure this stage is productive and smooth is to get all employees involved in the branding process. This accomplishes several goals:
- Employees feel as if they are part of the future of the company, and they help shape the personality of the company moving forward.
- Leaders can ascertain key insights about the company they manage from the employees who work in every aspect of the operation.
- Involvement can foster buy-in from resistant employees and discourage any counterproductive behaviors from disgruntled employees.
We recommend a few approaches to engaging your employees and leaders in the branding process that will accomplish the goals above and develop a revitalized brand that increases market share. We also recommend using a blended method approach, using several approaches to cover all ground. We found through experience that personalities dictate how they respond to each approach. Some people open up in a focus group, however, some are not that forthcoming and tend to respond better to blind surveys. Implementing some of all of the approaches below will ensure well rounded data:
- Focus groups are a great way to open conversation among teammates and uncover unexpected insights through conversation. Focus groups can also foster trust and inclusion during a changing time in the company. There are, however, some possible drawbacks if ran incorrectly that are worth a mention:
- Without proper moderation, groupthink can occur.
- Answers might be filtered due to fear of repercussion.
- Organizational politics could corrupt the focus group.
- Some do not engage in a group environment. Stronger personalities can overpower the group.
- Blind surveys are a great way to remedy some of the potential drawbacks of a focus group. Since politics and distrust can hinder honest feedback in a group, blind surveys allow for honest, unfiltered feedback about the perceptions within the company and brand. Surveys should be managed and analyzed by a trusted third party so to build a safe environment for real answers.
- At the beginning of the branding process, each team should elect a departmental brand ambassador to sit in on branding meetings and contribute as needed throughout the process. The ambassador experiences the process for the department and helps each department feel as though they have a seat at the table during the change process.
Bring in the experts
When considering any business change as impactful as a rebrand, it is vital to work with an external team who can guide you through the turbulent waters. This change will alter the personality of the company forever, it is nothing to take lightly. At BBG, we work with your team to help uncover key insights into your existing brand, reveal current brand perception, and guide your whole team into the future. Feel free to contact us if we can be of service to you and your brand.