Guiding A Successful Rebranding
Your leadership team has determined that rebranding the organization is the right strategy for rebuilding brand trust, strengthening from within, growing customer engagement, and jumpstarting short-term and longer-term business results. Following this, guiding the organization’s rebranding strategy has now become your top brand marketing priority. Consider this day one of your rebranding journey.
Rebranding is often mistaken with other brand building initiatives like brand refresh, brand repositioning or brand revitalization. On average, these organizational initiatives take place once every five to seven years, and often involve updated messaging, logos and color palettes, UI and UX and visual language. But rebranding encompasses all of these initiatives – including updating the name of the organization. And because of this, it is a huge undertaking.
A successful rebranding should be undertaken with the purpose of changing the emotional and mental associations and connection consumers have with an organization across every interaction, experience and communication. Everything about your brand (and therefore your business as the interface of your business strategy) is on the table. Starting with what we at Trajectory refer to as your company’s unifying brand idea and extending to strategy, story, culture, design and experience, communication, marketing and digital expression. Done right, a successful rebranding should help audiences once again see the promise of your corporate brand, in a whole new, though genuine, light.
Why Brands & Branding Are So Important
While the intangible value of brands had already been recognized and risen significantly over the years, the events of the past couple of years (the COVID-19 crisis, the downstream economic crisis followed by the witnessing of social and political unrest across the globe) created a new lens through which consumers view brands.
What we see now more than ever in this age of transparency is that everything is brand, and everything (each and every touchpoint) matters more. And this increases the importance of the trustworthiness of brands into the future. It requires brands to be more authentic and present, and better prepared for the scrutiny that a connected, empowered society brings.
Reasons For Rebranding
There are many reasons to rebrand. Extremely important is ensuring that all key decision-makers and influencers agree as to why you are doing so and what you want a branding engagement to accomplish.
Some of the major reasons to rebrand include:
Merger, Acquisition or Demerger
In these situations, a rebrand is unavoidable. To serve the changing market, new brands will need to be created, and old brands will disappear. In the case of demergers, the company that is splitting off is obliged to develop its own brand.
When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, there are three strategic possibilities – the new company may develop a completely new brand, the name of one of the parties is used or the two company brands are blended into one.
- Phillips and Conoco merging in 2002 to create ConocoPhillips.
- T-Mobile and Sprint, in April 2020
Repositioning In Changing Markets
For many companies, market changes mean that their very existence can come under threat. In order to pivot, repositioning is the right way to go. In most cases, the old brand doesn’t really fit with the new strategy, and changing your brand gives you the chance to start with a clean slate letting your audiences know you are adapting to fit their needs.
- Weight Watchers evolving to WW.
- Dunkin leaving behind its Donut in 2018 to prioritize its coffee beverages and speedy service.
- And in late October 2021, Facebook rebranding to Meta. Which according to Mark Zuckerberg, “is to adopt a new company brand to encompass everything we do.” Meaning about the metaverse, which he sees as the future of the internet.
Overcoming A Bad Reputation
In some cases, a bad reputation can have a serious impact on company results. When suffering from this kind of reputation, the need to rebrand seems urgent. A rebrand can, after time, reduce or even eliminate the negative associations with a brand.
What’s important here is that not only the “exterior” changes but that the change is also executed throughout all aspects of an organization. With today’s transparency, people can see through cosmetic changes and they expect a real change in approach or brand promise within an organization. This is the only way that a company rebranding can remove any negative associations with the brand and be successful.
- Many people might say that Facebook’s rebranding to Meta belongs in this category, and not above.
- Continental merging with United in 2011; after it had begun to turn the corner on its own.
Many organizations undertaking a corporate rebrand to modernize. Trends mean that, over time, brands can come across as old-fashioned if they have not been updated. Although, in many cases, it is not the main reason, a more modern image is often one of the motivations behind a rebranding.
- Burger King updating its prior logo in favor of a flat “minimalist” design more aligned with the logo used by the brand in prior years
- Mastercard’s logo-only redesign better represents the company globally and is easy to implement across digital platforms
Checklist For Rebranding Of A Company
Trajectory has a long history of partnering with companies that are rebranding across the healthcare and wellness continuum. Our hybrid brand consultancy / creative agency has partnered with health systems and hospitals, healthcare services agencies, clinical trials support companies, wellness services companies, among others. Based on our experience, we know the importance of a tight rebranding strategy process (we call ours DELIVER™) to increase the odds of brand and business success.
Here’s an infographic including a quick checklist of rebranding considerations to help you deliver a successful rebranding from the inside out:
More Tips For Avoiding Rebranding Bottlenecks
After 20+ years of rebranding organizations across the health and wellness landscape, we know where delays and pitfalls can creep into the process of rebranding a company.
Here are a few areas that you should watch out for:
- In larger organizations, it generally takes more time to assemble the senior leadership and Board teams who are critical to upfront and ongoing program approvals. Bake into the process that you’ll likely need to schedule both one-on-ones and group sessions with these audiences throughout the entirety of the rebranding process.
- Agreeing with your CEO about the business case rationale for rebranding as well as any risks that are on the table, prior to sharing recommendations with senior leadership and Board. Take into account the financial commitment it will take to effectively support the rebranding, and the operational commitment to align the organization around its new brand identity.
- Identifying upfront the decision-makers and influencers whose formal buy-in is required throughout the entire rebranding process. Consider that this will often include people outside of the day-to-day workings of the organization.
- Making clear to all senior leadership and Board members that a true rebrand requires ongoing commitment from them as well as employees at every level of the organization to support new values and promises. This is not a marketing campaign. It is a long-term change management initiative.
- Agreeing early on about the amount and type of market research required throughout the rebranding process (both internal and external; across strategy and design). Most important is ensuring your strategic and design recommendations, and the long-term consequences, are grounded in reality – so use this time to learn, not simply confirm.
- Determining who will be/must be involved in decision-making if development and buy-in of a new name is required. Likely this will be CEO, senior leadership team members and Board. In some cases, new name candidates might also be vetted through market research with different audiences.
- Cataloging the scope and number of brand assets that must be accounted for (across all locations and departments), as well as who is responsible for each. It can be common to overlook the extent of the many environments, signs, forms, IT systems and other branded assets, as well as some of the legal implications, vendor and outsourcing relationship implications, and other dependencies. In a program of this magnitude, errors in estimating add up fast and lead to costly delays.
- Taking into account the scope of your internal brand launch, e.g., do you have multiple locations? multiple shifts to consider? multiple languages and translations to consider?
- Formally informing all external stakeholders (partners, vendors, media, etc.) about the new brand launch. Determine the order in which they will need to be introduced to the new brand and which stakeholders will require a more personalized approach.
- Ensuring Marketing and HR have come together to evolve employee performance benchmarks in line with new brand values and promises. As the rebranding of a company is an organization-wide effort, these two teams must work together to build a true brand-led culture.
Since 1999, our New Jersey marketing agency has partnered with organizations across the United States healthcare and wellness continuum – developing, launching, rebranding and supporting brands to rise above the noise to reach their full market potential. Reach out for a no-obligation consultation.