What is your first fear when facing the need for re-branding? For some of us, the question is “Is this the right time?” for others - “How deep should the re-branding go?” And this is the first of the so called devil details that can ruin both your normal daily routine & work-life balance and your job satisfaction levels. Unless you:
- Guarantee methodological confirmation of your gut-feeling that the organisation needs to review its public profile. My approach is to adopt a check-based brand test with specially developed marketing-oppositions cards. We usually go through the verification process with in-depth discussions about the brand’s mantras, characteristics and key messages. One can choose some other way, of course, but the big gain with this approach is the re-thinking of the current business model and the business development insights that manifest themselves in the process.
- There’s no accounting for taste, they say. And yet - if you give your internal (and afterwards also external) audiences time to accommodate the re-branding, while proactively managing the change, this will increase your chances of success severalfold. Additionally, you will receive, in addition to diverse feedback, useful tips directly from the people entrusted with implementing the logo and corporate spirit in the real world. So, early involvement is among the key factors for the re-branding.
- But beware of the need for the proper volume of information and precise targeting of the discussion groups. You will drown your project in endless discussions if you open it up to the wider public too early. Perfect timing is the perfect solution - and here we follow the funnel approach, combining visionary management, operational gurus and informal organisational leaders.
- Timing also has its technical aspects - many of the re-branding processes are interconnected and this requires the necessity of matrix management of the project. What proved very helpful in my latest project was a simple gantt chart for the deployment plan. Just to be sure: always include the topic, its dependency, together with a responsible, official deadline (and - of course - the alternative deadline, although it is not obligatory for this to be communicated to everyone involved)
- Prepare for the unexpected – it’s true for everything in life but especially regarding change management; the unexpected usually accompanies such projects. Even after many years, and a series of successful rebranding projects behind me, I always prepare for the little details that are bound to deviate from the planning stage. My secret is to leave some space for agility and flexible solutions if they’re needed.
- Last but not least, before starting the rebranding, the project leader and indeed everyone involved should adopt a mind-set that the rebranding is a constantly ongoing process and not to expect a one-off project to be finalized within six months.
Based on the latest rebranding project I have led - for the Economic Group Monbat – I should say that the people behind the whole process are the biggest arbiters of success. Having had the pleasure of working with a) real professionals and b) people who are open-minded and not afraid of rethinking the status-quo, I can share with everyone the pleasure of leading new public-approach projects. Because there is nothing better than showing the world (and here I mean also internally) the value of what lies behind the brand.
A senior reputation and brand management professional, Vanya Babanin has worked for almost 20 years with brands like Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, Valvoline and others. She has consulted projects that spread throughout automotive, manufacturing, apparel, IT, virtual telecom, FMCG, bioinformatic and other industries. Vanya acts as Global Director Corporate Communication for the economic group Monbat, teaches Brand management at New Bulgarian University and writes for various media and blogs. Vanya holds PhD in marketing communication and semiotics, master degree in Economics and master degree in PR.