Founder of Dixon|James Communications and Rebranding Experts, the only firm purposely designed to rebrand organizations successfully.
Rebranding is an investment in your organization’s future. It’s the opportunity to create an updated, forward-facing organization with a more modern and relevant brand presence and story to engage customers. Rebranding should be a jet pack to enable dramatic growth. That jet pack isn’t necessarily free though.
According to a survey we conducted among recently rebranded companies, one of the top four obstacles to rebranding is the cost. That is generally because most organizations underestimate the effort and don’t conduct a thorough review of all their branded assets that require updating.
Just as you would compile a business case to support any other corporate initiative and investment, it is important to develop a “rebranding business case” to determine costs associated with the initiative and whether the organization can invest appropriately to do it right. We’ve made it our standard practice with rebranding clients to hold a budgeting workshop early in the process to educate clients on all the potential categories of spending they may face to ensure that the effort is properly resourced from the beginning.
We rebrand several organizations a year and each has a budget that is uniquely different. While each organization, its needs, its internal capabilities and its scale are different, there are some general guidelines you can follow to understand the potential costs. Your rebranding is only going to work as hard as the investment (both energy and financial resources) in your success. It is much harder to try to rescue a rebrand you didn’t invest enough in after the fact than to do it right the first time.
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It is impossible to say exactly how much a rebranding will cost your company, but we can easily outline the potential budget items most companies face for you to calculate your own investment. Here are the givens:
Establishing the New Brand
First, the base investment of a true rebranding is the strategy work — the renaming of the organization, creating a new brand story and producing a new visual identity. This includes the following:
• Current brand assessment to set a solid footing to establish your new brand positioning. This may require new original stakeholder research.
• Articulating your new brand includes developing a positioning statement, a brand essence, new name, brand messaging, logo and visual identity. Domain search and purchases and certainly trademarking your brand name are additional costs. You may want to “test” your new brand among stakeholders as well to affirm your new direction connects with them.
Frequently an outside agency is secured for this portion of the effort and their costs can run from about $40,000 to low six figures.
From there, it becomes more difficult to generalize what costs you might face when rebranding, as your size and industry come into play. This is the point in the process when you begin down two parallel paths of activities: educating and building support and engagement from multiple stakeholder groups, and updating all your brand assets.
Engaging Support in the Rebrand
It’s important to align all your employees around the new brand while requiring focused attention of several people for the duration of the project. The following internal activities should help to convey a sense of anticipation and energy:
• Culture development work that aligns your employees with your new brand promise.
• Training on how to communicate and live the new brand promise.
• A rebranding video that unveils the new name, its look and feel, consistently across audiences.
• Internal launch events that create anticipation and celebration of the new brand.
• New intranets, emails, collateral, business cards, social media art packages, etc.
• Updating all HR and employee-facing programs and communications.
• New brand premium items for all employees.
Updating Brand Assets
The second part of this dual process is updating all your branded assets or creating all new ones. This includes all websites, external documents — from stationery to sales materials to employee recruitment, internal and public-facing signage, branded equipment and all future marketing.
What impacts the investment required is the scale of the organization:
• Number of employees that need to be educated and trained.
• Present number of offices to include such items as exterior and interior signage, environmental design applications, etc.
• Marketing spend that needs to be rebranded.
• Application of brand ID on uniforms, vehicles, equipment, sponsorships.
• Grassroot activities that utilize signage, brand premiums items, materials.
• Trade show involvement with updated booths, giveaways, uniforms.
• Employer branding and recruitment efforts and materials.
In the end, we find most organizations underestimate the investment required to communicate or advertise their new brand post-launch to educate key stakeholders on the what and why of their name change and to deliver it with the necessary frequency to make it stick. It is important that you spend the first six months after your rebrand continually reminding customers and sales prospects of your new brand name and why.
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Author: Jim Heininger, Forbes Councils Member