Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rebranding: Strategic Planning Questions Make a Difference

By Laura Powers

Why do rebranding projects falter? Why do rebranding projects succeed? What is the “right way” to engage in a rebranding process?


As an integrated marketing agency that handles numerous branding and rebranding projects, Furia Rubel has the opportunity to develop, manage and provide creative services for many companies in various industries. Some fundamental questions should be asked and answered about the process and the outcome even before a rebranding project starts. I share some of the most common Q&As here.

What are the steps in a branding or rebranding project?

A large branding initiative is best handled in stages. In general, the stages include:

Phase I - Brand Analysis and Research

At the start of brand development, the team will provide strategic counsel in order to refine existing data and market information and gather new insight in order to set the foundation and strategy for the project. The process includes marketplace and target audience analysis, brainstorming, internal interviews, a review of core brand values and mission and a public perception survey.

Phase II - Brand Positioning, Design Options and Tagline Development

At the core of Phase II is strategic counsel and presentations for visual brand options that are developed in conjunction with the brand story, positioning statement and tagline. Developing the visual options always includes testing for quality and functionality of the logomark, font and icons.

Phase III - Finalizing the Brand

During Phase III, teams work collaboratively to finalize the brand elements. All final file formats for the new brand are developed, documented, packaged and delivered.

Phase IV - Brand Standards Manual

A set of brand standards should always accompany a brand. These act as a set of guidelines to provide direction on appropriate use for internal teams and external partners, in order to ensure consistency.

What is the organization trying to accomplish with a rebrand? 

The common objective of a rebranding initiative is to improve a brand’s alignment with the organization’s mission, vision and culture and to improve relevancy and value to target audiences. The specific objectives of rebranding projects vary.

Typically, organizations look to develop a brand that more strategically reflects the voice and composition of key stakeholders. To determine the essence of this voice, for example, a marketing agency may develop a survey to distribute to all target audiences, both internal and external. The survey results will guide discussions and the decision-making process regarding the new brand, including the brand’s position, purpose, voice and identity.

The challenge with a rebranding initiative is achieving awareness with a successful launch and maintaining relevance and brand recognition over time.

How will we measure the success of our brand?

Brand measurement is gauged by awareness. Awareness can be measured through primary research such as focus groups, interviews and surveys. Benchmarks should be set after the rebranding initiative is launched. Collection and data analysis should occur on a regular basis.

How can our brand become iconic? 

Or: How do we get to the status of the Nike swoosh symbol?

The Nike brand has become iconic over time, with a dedicated and concerted effort to prove relevancy and value to Nike’s audiences in tandem with brand reputation management. This entire effort is channeled throughout Nike, from the storefronts to the boardroom. Note that Nike spends much more on its marketing and public relations strategy than it does on manufacturing product. This type of hyper-recognition typically is reserved for consumer brands (Nike, Amazon, Starbucks, Google). We always encourage B2B companies, nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, etc. to strive for similar recognition relative to their market and location.

We have a brand – now what?

A Strategic Communications Plan can answer this question. The role of integrated communications is to help build a brand by delivering key messages to target audiences to elicit a particular response; to shape public opinion, attitudes and beliefs; and to build and retain awareness via the most effective and direct methods.

One of the primary goals in communications is to augment and expand the number of touch points between an organization and its target audiences in order to build brand awareness. These tactics must be well defined and must align with the company’s budget and resources.

If you have questions about whether a rebranding is right for your business, contact the experienced Philadelphia-area marketing agency, Furia Rubel Communications.

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