Rebrand projects can be intimidating, even for the most established of brands. After all, it is a time-consuming, resource-heavy, and sometimes delicate process that puts a lot on the line for the brand. The costs of rebranding are no small thing either. Ensuring its success and protecting the brand requires careful planning and strategic execution. Unfortunately, most conversations about rebranding revolve around the reasons to rebrand and which changes should be introduced. All too often, this leaves out the more complicated conversation on how to carry out the rebrand. How exactly does one successfully implement a brand change? Here are four critical factors to consider.

Follow our 7-step approach, based on best practices from over 2,500 rebrand cases:

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1. Rebranding: bracing for (total) impact

Whether it’s a minor nip-and-tuck operation or a complete overhaul, rebrand projects can affect areas far beyond the intended change. And these impacts are not always readily apparent. A simple logo update, for example, will never be as straightforward as just changing workplace signs or packaging. It can have legal, practical, logistical, and maybe even personnel-related implications. These changes can either threaten the success of the rebranding programme or, worse, derail your day-to-day operations. The best way to prevent that is to know precisely where the next domino piece could fall.

Aside from looking at how the proposed changes can affect your operations, it is also crucial to look at how they might affect any upcoming projects. Can these projects run parallel to or even in tandem with the brand update? Or will the brand change render them obsolete? Should these existing or planned projects be postponed or scrapped altogether? Ideally, these questions and possibilities must be addressed before any rebranding work can begin.

"The best way to prevent that is to know precisely where the next domino piece could fall."

2. Rebrand implementation: strategic resource management

Besides looking at the operational impact of a brand change programme, rebrand implementation is also about keeping a close eye on the numbers, specifically, the timeline and the budget. The success – or failure – of the project not only depends on how much money or time is allocated for the project but also on how well – or poorly – these resources are managed.

A big part of what we do for our clients is finding opportunities for savings without sacrificing quality or efficiency. And this can mean many things: finding the right suppliers, identifying unnecessary expenses, or optimising areas of your brand operations which need a boost in efficiency.

Besides time and money, there’s one other resource that is critical to shaping the process and outcome of the rebranding programme: your people.

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3. Bridging the people gap

Cost-saving is one of the most common reasons why organisations choose to implement rebrands internally. They think that the fewer outsiders they bring inside, the easier it would be to keep the costs down. But this is not without its risks.

Firstly, it can put the organisation’s operational productivity at risk. Running the rebrand internally means your employees have to take on more responsibilities on top of what they already have on their plates. With so much riding on such projects, there is a risk that rebrand-related goals will take priority over anything else – including their day jobs.

Implementing brand change internally also means facing the possibility of expertise gaps. The skills and competence required of your employees for your day-to-day operations may not always match the specific skills and level of experience that your rebranding programme requires.

Introducing third-party consultants and experts to work alongside internal teams not only fills this expertise gap, but this collaborative setup is also more sustainable for all concerned and leads to longer-term success post-rebrand as the initial roll-out gets underway on the right foot.

4. Getting things right the first time

Rebranding can be a delicate situation for brands. As exciting as the possibilities are, rebranding puts a lot at stake for brands. The more radical the change, the bigger the gamble. And protecting the brand’s operations, reputation, and stability hinges greatly on the implementation process.

And this is one of the most critical roles we, as rebrand implementation partners, play in any brand change project: to oversee every phase of the implementation process and always be two steps ahead. We anticipate any potential issues that may arise, steer you away from these issues and help keep the project on the right track.

"Protecting the brand’s operations, reputation, and stability hinges greatly on the implementation process."

Introducing any change to the brand can put the brand in a vulnerable space. Having a pair of safe hands (and eyes and ears) on the project is the best way to protect your brand during this major process.