article

The 12-point rebranding checklist

Even the best brands (if they hope to stay the best brands) need to constantly re-evaluate their relevance in light of that one constant in business life, change. Perhaps it’s a change of leadership, a merger or acquisition, unexpected disruption in your category, or shifting customer needs and behaviors—whatever the reason, staying relevant will likely require periodic rebranding.

I addressed this recently in an article for Brand Quarterly, following which it was suggested to me that, in addition to my foundational “dos and don’ts”, it would be helpful for brand stewards to have a checklist to determine whether or not they are ready to rebrand the right way.

Once you’ve determined that the business need dictates a rebranding—but before you start the process—carefully consider this list, which provides a reality check of corporate commitment. If you are not able to affirmatively mark each box, your organization may not yet be fully prepared to effectively execute a rebrand.

  1. _____ We have secured a commitment for the direct and ongoing involvement of the CEO and executive leadership team as partners in the branding process
  2. _____ We are prepared to take an unflinching “look beyond the logo” at the heart of our brand—its purpose and promise—and what that means to customers, employees and other stakeholders
  3. _____ Leadership is willing to fund a complete process:
    Discovery > strategy development > internal activation > external communication
  4. _____ We will actively engage customers (past and present)
  5. _____ We will (and can) involve leadership and employees across the organization, at every stage
  6. _____ We will align our business plan with our brand plan
  7. _____ We will not position this as a marketing-only project
  8. _____ We are ready to use this rebrand as an agent of change, to drive broader transformation throughout the organization
  9. _____ We will properly educate and train employees, partners and distributors on the rebrand before we launch
  10. _____ We will plan and carry out an on-going program of brand experience, education and communication
  11. _____ We will work to demonstrate, and not just communicate, the refocused brand promise (we will live it, and not just tell a new story)
  12. _____ We will “get outside of ourselves” to leverage the greater expertise, honest counsel and clearer perspective of an experienced branding firm (one that sees itself as a business consultant and not simply a creative resource)

Did you check them all? Then it’s time to get going—your work has just begun.

Rachel Klein
Director of Strategy

Rachel leads the development and execution of brand and go-to-market strategies, campaigns and messaging platforms at Avenue.

rachel klein