‘Tis the Season: 6 Steps for a Successful Rebrand in the New Year


‘Tis the Season: 6 Steps for a Successful Rebrand in the New Year

As 2015 comes to a close, preparations are underway to bid farewell to the old and welcome a brand New Year. For some, that may mean doing more of what you’ve been doing. For others, the New Year is a time to shake things up and start anew. What better time to launch a new brand than at the start of a New Year? Rebranding shouldn’t be taken lightly. It can be a big change for an organization and, to be successful, requires research, planning, commitment, and persistence.

A brand is more than a logo, color, tagline or imagery. It is the actions, reactions, behaviors, vocabulary, perception, and people of your organization. It’s important to remember that your firm’s brand is not what you think it is; it is what your prospects and clients say it is. And, in this digital age, where outdated and even inaccurate information is just one Google search away, it can be difficult to shed your firm’s old brand. For this reason, firms must have a well-defined strategy in order to successfully rebrand.

If your firm is embarking on a rebrand journey in this New Year, here are six tips to help make it a successful one.

1. Understand the Need. Before a rebrand can take place, leadership must a have a full understanding of why a rebrand is needed. We all know the age-old saying – “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” If you are deciding to rebrand for the sake of change, think again. There is much to be said about brand equity, and a total rebrand may not always be the right decision. Begin by conducting research. Explore these questions: What percentage of your target audience is aware of your firm? Do they understand your products/services? Is your firm reaching a significant percentage of its target audience? If not, why not? What would your target audience say about your firm? What do you want them to say? Explore these questions both internally and externally. Speak to employees who interact with clients on a day-to-day basis. What have they heard or seen that can improve the brand? Ask your clients and prospects. Undertaking a total rebrand when your firm has a high degree of brand awareness is often an expensive undertaking. The answer may be to do a brand refresh versus a total rebrand.

2. Define your new brand. Once you have conducted ample research and determined a rebrand is indeed the right decision, use the information collected to define your firm’s new brand. What was not working before and how can it be fixed? Think long-term. Clearly define what your brand looks like both internally and externally. Define 5-6 brand pillars –keywords or phrases that capture your firm’s personality.

3. Tell your story. Your brand story serves as an outlet of truth, enabling the firm to consistently convey its history, purpose, and mission. The brand story should address the experiences you want to create, what role the firm plays in those experiences, and what that looks like long-term. Your brand story explains who you are and why.

4. Educate and get team buy-in. For a rebrand to be successful, internal support is imperative. Explain the reason for the rebrand, share the brand pillars and story, and provide team members with the necessary tools to succeed in order to achieve buy-in. Teach employees how to live the new brand. Living the brand means that team members understand the foundational elements of the brand and integrate that foundation into their daily actions, vocabulary, thinking, and client service. Reinforce the new brand through emails, internal workshops, meetings, and communications. Explain any and all changes to firm processes, communications, and behaviors. Address all questions or concerns. But, most of all, build excitement around the new brand.

5. Launch the new brand. When launching the new brand externally, ensure all marketing channels are consistent with the new look, feel, and messaging. Think website, social media, collateral, eMarketing, and personal communication. Every team member should be able to communicate the new brand appropriately. Send an email to your clients letting them know about the firm’s new direction. Spread the word through social media campaigns, PR campaigns, and word of mouth. While leadership often wants to roll out a new brand in phases, the blend of the old and the new can create market confusion.

6. Stay committed and consistent. Successful rebranding is the result of commitment and consistency. Be committed to the change and reinforce the new brand continuously. If you are not actively making an effort to reinforce the new brand, it can easily be forgotten. What long-term efforts can be implemented to support the brand? Explore new ways to extend your brand’s reach. Rethink alliances and relationships. Have leadership speak publicly to reinforce the new brand and commitment to change. Sponsor an event. Write a book. Do whatever you can to get your firm’s name and brand in front of your target audience.

‘Tis the season to start thinking about your firm’s future and direction. Yes, change can be difficult. It’s easy to keep doing what you’ve always done, but we all know the same actions only get you more of the same. If change is in order, what better time than the New Year.