When I was team lead for our client Enjoin’s rebranding initiative, it took four months from the day they said “let’s do this” to the national conference where they unveiled the new look. Fast? I’d say so. All articles I’ve read about rebranding land somewhere around one year for the launch. We cut that timeframe WAY back! But not without some conscious cost-cutting and setting firm priorities.
The biggest reason for our tight timeline was an event. When given a hard date that you can’t personally control, postpone or move, it forces action. Action is good. However, strategy is first. If you’re planning a quick rebrand on a shoestring budget, here are eight tips—tie your laces and go!
- Leadership buy-in
Just because leadership wants to rebrand, it doesn’t mean they fully understand the realities. Whether your leadership team is three or 30 people, buy-in and realistic expectation setting is the most crucial step in the process. Buy-in from day one not only avoids interruptions throughout the process, it gives you a high five from your executive team that everyone is on the same page.
- Set a budget and timeline
What will a new logo design cost you? How much does it cost to draft, promote and distribute a press release? Where and when does media outreach fit into your plan? Make a long list of everything you want to accomplish with your rebrand, including the channels required to promote it. Once you start plugging costs to each activity, you will need to scale back in some areas. For instance, with our recent client rebrand we had to roll some items out in phase one, others in phases two and three. This makes it easier on budget and resources.
Research is a necessary step in your rebrand efforts, even if it’s light handed and doesn’t involve a third party. Poll your customers to find out what your company means to them. What do they consider your biggest strengths? What does your company convey? Who do they consider your closest competition?
Include your employees in the process by asking the same questions. The goal of your research is to have a clearly defined list of strengths, service/product offerings, competitors and any additional data you need to map out your rebrand. Timing and budget determines how granular you get.
So you’ve got client feedback, employee surveys, list of competitors…now what? Compile the data into an easy-to-follow format that’s shareable. Survey Monkey is good for this. Then lock yourself and other key stakeholders in a room for one day (or more) to digest the material.
A live meeting is preferred because it forces people to have real conversations about the data. It’s also more productive than a virtual approach since you’ll be capturing first-hand insights, feedback and preferences from the entire time. Information shared during this “in real life” session provides content for your messaging and positioning steps ahead. It also helps to ensure consensus around vision, strengths, weaknesses, personas, competitors, etc.
These four steps are solid ingredients for a successful rebrand. Check back next month for additional phases in the process. I will also share a sample timeline for those of you on tight schedules. Stay tuned! Until then, start with step #1, tie your laces and go!