The Only Rebranding Committee Checklist You’ll Need
Your assignment: rebrand the organization. For many, their gut reaction is to hire a designer, update the logo and call it a day. What they fail to realize is that to make your brand endure, you have to see beyond colors and iconography. And you have to be willing to take the time and put in the energy needed to pursue a true rebrand.
There is a structure and procedure to any rebrand, but especially one with complexity. The following is a checklist that follows pretty closely to how Daake approaches rebranding. Print it, doodle on it, but most importantly, use it to help your rebrand committee dig deep enough, follow the correct steps in the right order, and set your future brand up for success.
Start the process by taking a moment, as a committee, to consider what this exercise really means: A rebrand is NOT a bandage intended to give your brand a temporary lift. Rather, a rebrand is a long-term commitment to shaping your company in a way that has enduring value to a group of people.
Keep this simple truth in mind as you guide your organization through the following phases of the rebranding process. Being thorough and thoughtful in your approach will lead you to a truly authentic, enduring result.
One of the most important conversations to have before beginning the rebranding process is to clearly identify why you’re doing it. What is the single biggest problem you’re trying to solve? The answer should be written down, shared and agreed upon by leadership and every member of your committee. Review your reason why often to help keep everyone focused. Rebranding is a messy process but one that can have a dramatic impact on your business for years to come.
Next, create a timeline to guide your team from research to launch. This can be a very simple chart that calls out key deadlines and achievements, or you can add in each step and the person or people responsible for doing the work. Much like your reason why, a clearly outlined timeline can help make sure the project moves forward in a positive, productive direction.
Phase One – Research Thoroughly
- Interview members of leadership and key stakeholders to bring clarity to the vision of your company.
- Engage team members by giving them a voice, using surveys, interviews or focus groups.
- Interview current customers to gain insight into what your existing brand is.
- Interview desired customers to discover what’s holding them back from engaging with your brand.
- Audit your core competitors to understand their story, brand personality, and core messaging.
- Audit your existing brand/marketing pieces, actively looking for weaknesses and strengths in your current brand.
Go into the first phase with an open mind. Delegate the work to help so every member of your committee is accountable for learning about your company or a competitor and then bringing that information to the larger group. Research isn’t glamorous, and depending on what you learn, it can be a hard pill to swallow. But you’ll gain the greatest amount of insight into who your company is (or should be), where you can create differentiation, and how to spark enthusiasm and participation from all members of the team.
The timeframe for this phase depends on the size and complexity of your business. This could range from two weeks of intense research to eight weeks, depending on schedules and the number of interviewees you have. Be thorough but realistic. Decide as a group an appropriate number of existing customers and potential customers to interview. The same can be said for the competition. You may want to separate them by primary and secondary, spending more time learning about those you feel directly impact your marketshare. Look for and record common or shared opinions as well as anything truly unexpected. As a committee you can share what you’ve learned and discuss whether or not you need to take a deeper dive into any of the areas outlined above.
Phase Two – Create a Brand Brief
- Clarify your vision to help leadership approve a single direction.
- Clarify your purpose to explain why, beyond economics, does your company exist.
- Clarify your company’s values to illustrate the philosophies and behaviors that drive your business.
- Identify your onlyness to clearly state what you do that no one else does.
- Simplify your brand promise so your audience knows why they should care about your company.
- Create a positioning statement that includes your onlyness and promise to establish where your company belongs and why it matters in your market.
- Identify existing brand equity from the research phase to determine if elements of your brand should stay intact.
- Create persona(s) of primary/secondary audience(s) to clearly identify the tribe of people you’re trying to reach.
- Identify your brand’s personality by listing 4-6 human attributes your company possesses.
In its simplest form, phase two puts all you’ve learned into a tidy, one-page document. Like your primary reason for rebranding, each element of this document should be reviewed and agreed upon by leadership and your committee. This becomes the official gut check for everything you create in the future. If there are any questions or concerns about any element of this document, do not move onto phase three until it has been resolved.
This portion of the rebrand process can be challenging to condense down into a single document, but by putting in the hard work, you’ll be left with a clear direction and a level of excitement and enthusiasm that’s hard to measure. At this point your brand is evolving into something more human and more meaningful. Phase two may take a few weeks to complete, depending on how your team initiates approvals and buy in.
Phase Three – Build Strategies
- Outline a naming strategy that fits the direction of your company as complex brands may have sub-brands or acquisitions could result in a new name.
- Create a visual identity system and test it in basic applications, including logos, color palettes, typefaces, patterns or other visual expressions.
- Create a distinct voice, tone and key brand messages that complement your visual identity system and bring your brand story to life.
- Test trademark opportunities to assure the long-term viability of your brand.
- Create an internal launch plan to help your internal team become (and remain) your biggest advocate.
- Create an external launch plan that takes into consideration your audience and meaningful ways to introduce them to your new brand.
- Create a brand management plan, which could include an online toolkit or traditional brand book that defines the rules and guidelines for effectively carrying your new brand forward.
The third phase is where everything you’ve learned and developed becomes real. During this phase, it’s important to take time to check what you’re creating against your reason why (pre-rebrand), the research (phase one) and your brand brief (phase two). If the stars align and what you’ve created supports and expresses who your company is at its core, then you’ve been successful to this point.
The timeframe for this phase depends on a number of factors. First, did you engage a firm to help establish your new identity or do you have an internal creative department? Secondly, how extensive are your internal and external launch plans? These range from a single event to a series of events to varying stakeholder groups. Be sure to include anyone and everyone who has the potential to serve as an advocate for your brand. Keep then engaged and feeling valued along the way. Allow anywhere from a few weeks to a several months to complete this phase.
Phase Four – Help Your Brand Endure
- Develop an internal-facing plan with periodic audits built in to support your internal ambassadors.
- Develop an external-facing plan that includes audits to engage, heighten awareness, and build loyalty.
These plans should change and evolve over time to reflect your vision and goals. Reflect back on those audience personas created for the brand brief and update them as needed to make sure you continue to actively seek out the right tribe for your brand. During this phase it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of engaging your internal team. By implementing regular audits, it becomes nearly impossible to let this audience go.
Above all, think of your brand as a living organism that needs constant attention and care. In order to guide how people feel about your company, your brand must be nurtured through every point of contact with internal and external audiences. Do this and you’re on your way to establishing a highly valued, recognizable brand.
Ready to get started? There’s no better place to begin than by taking a look at our Key Drivers for Rebranding. This document helps you initiate a conversation about why your company should move forward.
We are brand design experts who deliver transformative ideas to the nation’s marketing professionals and CEOs as they seek guidance, clarity and excitement for their brand.
We would love to hear more about what you have in mind for your next project. Call Greg Daake at 402.933.1094.