Rebranding Essentials - Part 2: Rebranding Steps

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Posted Aug 17, 2011
Susan Gunelius

In Part 1 of the Rebranding Essentials series, you learned about why rebrandings happen. If you didn’t read that post to learn about the proactive and reactive reasons for rebranding, go and read it now. If you don’t know why you’re rebranding, you can’t effectively execute the rebranding steps discussed in this post.

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Radical Rebranding Makeover or Just a Nip and Tuck

Believe it or not, a rebranding doesn’t necessarily mean you need to create a new brand name, logo, messaging, and everything else you can think of. Sometimes a simple nip and tuck might be enough. Many brands have successfully revitalized themselves without changing anything but their image. Remember how cool Lacoste shirts were in the early 1980s? How many layers of shirts with that alligator logo did you layer with the collars popped? In the 1990s, Lacoste fell out of favor and became uncool, but the brand rose again in recent years with a new image but the same logo. The rebranding worked and Lacoste is popular again.

Abercrombie and Fitch went through a similar brand revitalization. What was an L.L. Bean wannabe decades ago is now a top brand for teens and young adults with racy catalogues and a brand image to match.

Abercrombie and Fitch

Some brand revitalizations are more subdued and happen slowly over a period of time until one day, the broader consumer audience perceives that brand differently. Apple is a perfect example of a brand that slowly evolved from the designer’s brand to the innovative, cool brand that it is today.

And some brand revitalizations take time to put into action. Google purchased and years ago, but it wasn’t until 2011 that Google announced both would be rebranded to be better blended into the Google brand.

On the other hand, many rebrandings are extremely radical. These are most often reactionary rebrandings, and usually include new everything -- logo, name, tagline, and so on. We’ll discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of rebranding, including radical rebranding, in the upcoming Part 4 of the Rebranding Essentials series, so stay tuned.

Rebranding in 10 Steps

If you think it might be time for a rebranding of your company, product, or service, then you need to understand the steps to take so your rebranding is successful. The primary 10 steps of rebranding follow:

  1. Establish the reason for rebranding.
  3. Identify your strategic goals for rebranding.
  5. Determine who the stakeholders are both internally and externally.
  7. Conduct research to validate the need for a rebranding, determine consumer perceptions, wants, needs, and so on (discussed in detail in Part 3 of the Rebranding Essentials series).
  9. Define the budget for rebranding creative, roll-out, tracking and ongoing research.
  11. Create a new brand identity, messaging, and so on based on research findings and strategic goals.
  13. Plan the new brand identity roll-out, including advertising, production (e.g., signage, printed materials, advertising, packaging, and so on). Be sure to have plans in place for potential negative backlash a new brand can cause. However, it’s hoped that you’ve identified potential negative reactions during the research process and mitigated them through the creative process.
  15. Launch the new brand internally. Provide training and education to employees and ensure employees understand, buy into, and advocate the new brand. Ensure first-line employees are extremely well-versed in and supportive of the new brand identity.
  17. Roll-out the new brand externally.
  19. Monitor consumer reactions, conduct ongoing research to ensure the brand identity is working, and tweak, update, and communicate as necessary. In other words, don’t launch the brand and forget about it.

Based on these steps, the first things you need to do are define why you’re considering rebranding, determine what your goals are for the rebranding, and identify who will be affected or care about the rebranding. Once you’ve completed those three steps, it’s time to start doing your research to determine the best type of rebranding to do. That’s the topic of Part 3 of the Rebranding Series, so stay tuned to the AYTM blog.

If you missed Part 1 of the Rebranding Series, Why Rebrand?, you can follow the link to read it now.

Image: stock.xchng

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