We’ve all heard the classic founder story of the ex-FAANG employee who encountered a problem so many times that they left to create the perfect solution. It’s common for startups to build a minimum viable product (MVP) to validate their hypotheses and get fast feedback. When their product is ready for an external audience, it needs basic brand elements so people know how to identify it and where to find it — a name, logo, color(s) and a website. Sometimes, a lot of thought (and a little luck) goes into this early branding, and it’s so sticky that it represents the company for decades. More often, when a company finds product market fit, its brand has to evolve to reflect its offering, market and audience. There’s no timeline for when a company will need to rebrand — or if it will at all — but for those of you who are embarking on this journey, this post will provide an overview of what to expect.
Select Your Team
Your brand is more than a logo you put on swag. It’s how people engage with your company — from how they use your product or service to the experience that employees have at work each day. Since effective branding influences every corner of your business, it’s important that you bring together a group of people who you trust both to be objective and to have an emotional tie to your company. In my experience, the perfect mix is a small group of internal stakeholders and an experienced brand agency.
Select a group of four to six people who represent a range of teams and perspectives. This team must include the CEO, who knows the company vision and will socialize the project across teams and the board, and a marketing leader who will be responsible for bringing the brand to life. Folks from product and customer success are also great additions because they can represent the voice of the customer.
There are a ton of brand agencies out there that offer everything from templates to custom brand strategy and execution. In my experience managing agencies, it’s best to write a request for proposal (RFP) that has all of your requirements clearly outlined. Be granular about the deliverables you’re expecting — from specifics about your website to the number of social media templates you need — and be realistic about your budget. Do your research to find five to ten agencies that you think meet your needs and have experience in your vertical, and send them your RFP. Have conversations with them that go over your goals for the project, their approaches and their working styles. Once you’ve narrowed it down to two, have them meet the internal stakeholders and choose as a group.
Company Rebranding Project Plan
Align With Company Goals
A rebrand often comes on the heels of a big product launch, entrance into a new market or a shift in the industry. It’s important that you time the launch of your new brand with the other forces at play. Depending on the scope of your project and the agency you choose to work with, a rebrand can take between four and twelve months. Make sure you give the project appropriate time and resources to meet your goals.
Some rebrands take your existing messaging, values, mission and vision statement and bring them to life in a new way. If you’re considering updating any of these elements, this is a great time to do it. Some brand agencies can take you through a messaging process, and some will recommend that you work with another agency that specializes in messaging.
Find Your Rally Cry
A rally cry is an inspirational statement that represents your company's values, mission and vision. A rally cry can guide messaging strategy and often becomes a tagline or cornerstone campaign theme. The tone and emotion of a rally cry are extremely important because they will inform your brand narrative and how it’s brought to life.
Bring Your Brand to Life
After you align with your team on the project plan and your agency runs you through a series of creative workshops, they’ll bring you a handful of brand directions. There might be components from a few that you want to combine, and after a few rounds of edits, you’ll emerge with a brand that feels exciting and authentic to your company. Congrats! Now the fun begins: bringing it to life. Keep an eye out for our next post with the ultimate rebranding project plan.