Q4 tends to be a time when many B2B executives set out to reposition or rebrand their organizations and products for years ahead. Follow these tips to ensure an optimal outcome.
1. Don’t race to finish your rebrand by arbitrary dates, such as New Year’s Eve or the annual sales meeting in January. Either start earlier or extend your deadline. Give yourself and the process the proper amount of time to “do it right.” Two months that include two major holidays are not sufficient time. Gathering customer insights, conducting preference testing, and completing legal reviews often take much longer than anticipated. You’ll live with the rebrand for years to come. Give it the time it deserves.
2. Before you begin, align leadership on the expectations and outcomes of the rebranding. Is this simply an update or refresh of the visual identity, or a fundamental change in your value proposition, the way you go to market and how you will meaningfully differentiate your brand in the market? If you’re seeking a more meaningful change than a visual update, it is imperative to align senior executives against this expectation and ensure they understand that additional changes to the business (such as operations, product offerings, and policies) may be needed to support the new brand strategy.
3. Avoid internally communicating this project as a “brand update.” It then risks being viewed as just a marketing project. Position the project, through all internal communications, as part of an overall business change. Elevate the conversation from “the logo” to “the business.”
4. Use the rebranding as an opportunity to drive more significant change throughout your business. Avoid the typical “brand launch” model – which is often a moment-in-time mentality. Instead, think of this as “the new way we run our business” launch. Develop a mindset of perpetuity. Create a movement that allows everyone in the organization to see their role in the change.
5. Base all of your decisions on customer insights and needs—not internal opinions. Taking an internal vote is not the way to make decisions about your new brand strategy. Conduct immersive research to understand the needs of distributors, customers, and end-users. Use this data as the basis of decision-making. When done right, a rebrand strongly resonates with customers and becomes a powerful opportunity to establish deeper relationships with existing customers and attract new ones.
6. Prototype the new brand experience for all customer touchpoints as early as possible in the project. Map your current customer journeys, and all touchpoints then define ways to improve those interactions. But don’t stop there. Innovate new ways to engage and interact with them in meaningful ways. Prototype your ideas and share with key customers to gather their reactions and feedback. (Note: even low-fidelity/functionality prototypes are better than no prototypes).
7. Create a Brand Advisory Council. Include select employees, customers, and external stakeholders in your council. Involve them in the rebranding process to review the directions and strategies you’re considering. Capture their feedback and incorporate it into the process. This additional perspective helps you keep the customer at the center of all decisions and avoid blind spots.
8. Early in the project, rigorously test leadership’s commitment to changing the culture. A meaningful rebrand involves redefining your Purpose & Promise. This, in turn, requires behavioral and attitudinal changes throughout the organization to deliver on your new market promise. Beyond being willing to support the change, leadership must actively lead the culture change.
9. Before you launch the new brand strategy, equip your executive team with personalized communication tools and training. They need to be comfortable, confident, and consistent when telling the new brand story to employees, partners, customers, investors, media, analysts, and other stakeholders. Take this step to avoid the all-too-common organizational swirl and confusion that results from executives telling different versions of the new brand/business story.
Made it this far? You are taking the right steps to prepare yourself for a successful rebranding. Here are a few other articles that will help:
Are you considering professional help for your rebranding? We have decades of experience helping mid-sized B2B organizations develop new brand strategies and identities. We know how to avoid the potholes and maximize the outcomes.