Jenn Stark

When to ReBrand yourself or your organization

There comes a point in the life cycle of many companies (and even individuals) when What You Want to Be no longer seems to fit so well with What You Are (or Were).

For some organizations, this realization leads to a Brand refresh—a thoughtful, careful process of updating your company’s marketing materials and Brand elements to reflect contemporary sensibilities. In the case of one organization with which I worked, this involved slightly changing font styles and updating the company’s representation of an iconic American symbol. Not a dramatic shift, and one of those situations where many folks in the field either a) couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about or b) barely noticed the difference, except for the fact that they got yelled at if they used the outdated marketing materials. However, once the Brand update was complete, the whole company felt a little more modern, a little more engaging, and that “refreshed” energy carried over into business operations and initiatives, as it was designed to do.

For other organizations, the realization of needed change requires a far deeper ReBranding process. This level of ReBranding involves not just changing your marketing materials, but the fundamental way you present yourself and your business. In some cases, it can impact not only how you market your products, but the kinds of products you market—and not only what you say to your customers, but the kinds of customers you serve. It can have profound and lasting impact, and often take your organization to the next level—whether that’s exponential growth, a sale of the company, or both.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with several companies who were facing this sort of change, and no two processes are alike. However, there are several key elements to consider before undertaking this level of ReBranding initiative:

1. You have to have a lot of pain (or passion) to change

ReBranding will take time, energy and resources, whether you are a small business or corporate giant. The bigger you are and the more entrenched, the more change will cost you—in resources and in emotion. Typically, this type of change only comes about for companies (or individuals) who realize that if they do NOT change, they will either fail outright or continue operating at an “average” level of success, eventually dying a slow death of creeping mediocrity.

2. You have to have a REALLY BIG VISION

ReBranding goes beyond wanting to make your logo blue instead of red. To be truly powerful, ReBranding should extend from the foundations of your company up through the highest levels of leadership. You should want to BE more and DO more, expand your impact and make a difference, and commit to your new Brand affecting every area of your organization. If you’re going to be spending all of this time and energy, it should make a huge (positive) impact on every element of your business. In the world of ReBranding, it’s truly a case of Go Big or Go Home.

3. You have to be ready to move fast

It may take you months to decide on a new Brand platform, style guide and rollout plan. And that’s understandable, especially if you’re a large company who is taking this Brand process seriously and rolling it out all the way down to the mailroom. But once you flip that switch, it pays to be bold and decisive. Take the market (and your own personnel) by storm, reBrand yourselves with passion and power, and make a statement with your actions. The positive buzz you will receive throughout the industry and within your own organization will help feed your momentum for change, and catch the attention of your target audience—whether that’s investors, buyers, or consumers.