Bakers Journal

Seven keys to executing a successful rebranding

June 23, 2014
By Steve Blue


June 23, 2014 – Execute poorly and suffer
extreme consequences. That is the one certainty you face when rebranding your company or product name, logo, phrase or design scheme.


June 23, 2014 – Execute poorly and suffer
extreme consequences. That is the one certainty you face when rebranding your company or product name, logo, phrase or design scheme.

There is simply no rebranding effort where
the stakes are not extraordinarily high and the margin for error is slim at
best. This history has been proven repeatedly amid a litany of rebrand debacles
that didn’t heed just a few fundamental principles.

With this in mind, and having helped implement a successful rebranding of Miller
I offer these seven keys to best practices for
effectively executing a rebranding initiative.

Key No. 1: Get clear on what a brand is

A brand is not just your logo. A brand is
the sum total of the messages, interactions, and experiences a customer has
with your product, services and people. To a customer, a brand is the promise
of an experience and the customer’s experience of that promise delivered. It’s
a valuable asset to nurture over time.

Key No. 2: Maintain control of the
rebranding process

Use a third-party guide because it is easy
for a renaming effort to deteriorate into likes/dislikes or what your spouse
thinks. Ground your brand in a strategy that recognizes not only the brand’s
origins but also its ultimate destination in the current and future
marketplace. Keep an open mind. Small ideas can get bigger and seemingly big
ideas can diminish over time. Also, identify those equities that cannot change.

Key No. 3: Understand that a brand has two
owners: the marketer, who owns 50 per cent, and the customer, who owns 100 per

Yes, that’s 150 per cent in total. The
marketer produces messages, products and services. Your customer experiences
the brand, and in the digital age, they are in ultimate control of the messages
they receive. Therefore, check in with customers and, at the very least,
include those internal players who have the most customer contact. The worst
thing you can do is to decide all branding issues at the top level and dictate
it to customers and your troops who must deliver the brand experience.  You risk a loss of relevancy and buy-in.

Key No. 4: Your logo, tagline, typography
and design should tell a single-minded story

Every brand is heroic in some way. Its
look, feel, and message should tell one story. Think about what your brand
fights for and against what odds. Consider what is at stake for customers in
terms of their problems and how you solve those for them. By becoming a hero to
your customers, you, in turn, make heroes out of them. That’s truly adding

Key No. 5: Never forget that a brand should
always remain fluid

Some will warn you that changing your brand
is a major risk. If it fails, it can be expensive and disruptive. Note Coca-Cola’s
experience with “New Coke.” However, if you do not violate a brand’s
established equities and values, you can still add flexibility into a brand
that allows it not to lose relevance. For example, Tide Detergent is built on
consumers’ trust that it gets clothes clean, yet the brand has found multiple
fresh expressions of that proposition over the years, even adding benefits to
fend off competitors. Therefore, create a brand positioning that is broad
enough to be as relevant today as it was yesterday and flexible enough to be
relevant in the future.

Key No. 6: Never stop supporting and
promoting your brand

A successful brand is a living presence in
the marketplace that has a tangible relationship with its customers. It’s easy
to support a brand in boom times but much tougher in down times. However, study
after study has shown that brands that are consistently supported during a down
cycle, and gain greater sales and share when the economy turns up over those
who cut support activities.

Key No. 7: Be a brand champion

After you’ve gone through the discipline of
crafting or refreshing your brand, appoint a key leader, typically in marketing,
to be a brand champion. Set up brand guidelines and procedures to make sure the
identity you have carefully created presents a consistent image and message in
marketing communications from business cards to digital media, in sales
presentations, in signage, at events and at trade shows – wherever the customer
will engage with your brand.

In summary, executing a rebrand must be
extraordinarily strategic, not violate the company’s cultural roots, be
relevant and consistently supported, and place the customer benefit front and centre
at all times. It’s all about them.

With more than three decades of management,
executive, consulting and speaking experience in markets all over the world,
Miller Ingenuity CEO Steve Blue ( ) is a globally regarded
business growth authority who has transformed companies into industry giants
and enthralled audiences with his dynamic keynotes. In his upcoming book,
“Outdo, Outsmart… Outlast: A Practical Guide to Managed, Measured and
Meaningful Growth,” he reveals why seeking growth and surviving growth are
equally perilous, and require different sets of plans to weather the storms.
Follow Steve @MillerIngenuity.



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