Most of the branding articles that you read are happy, glowing tales of how an agency rebranded a client and turned that client into a superstar brand with double-digit growth.
Well, this is not one of them. We often learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. I am telling this story as much for ourselves as for our future clients. It is our reminder to teach our clients that rebranding is a strategic process that involves commitment from all the key stakeholders.
It is more than writing new ads or developing a new logo. Your brand is an expression of your company's image and beliefs. For it to be successful, you need to believe in the brand's promise, and support it internally and to your customers. You need to look at it deeply, closely, and critically to find its best expression.
Through our experience with a particular client, we were reminded that without teamwork, perseverance, honesty, and leadership from our clients and us, a brand may never reach its true potential.
Take the case of the midsize service firm that came to us to rename and reposition its brand. The company was looking to demonstrate a new vision and commitment to its industry and to provide new focus, guidance, and discipline to its staff. The company identified early on that it needed a new name and a new way to talk about itself. Unfortunately, it turned out that its management team had only two people who were really convinced that the company needed to change anything, which brings me to our first lesson.
Lesson 1: If everyone on the team is not willing to seriously consider a branding exploration, then your efforts may be in vain
Branding is most effective when the key decision-makers are involved in the entire process. Everyone involved needs to take a vested interest in its outcome and be willing to make changes. It is not for the fainthearted.
Branding looks at how a company thinks about itself and how its constituents view the company. It takes an honest look at what the company is and isn't good at. The client team should be willing to embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly, and to have the vision to think differently about how the company presents itself, and go on to make adjustments if needed.