Rebranding: what are the main risks and pitfalls?
From time to time, brands need to be refreshed or revitalised, whether it is a completely new positioning, a name change, or a small adjustment to their visual identity. In a complex and challenging trajectory like a brand change, lots of things can go wrong: the project can run out of time or budget; the impact on the organisation can be a lot bigger than expected; your new brand may not be well received within the organisation and/or in the market; and what happens if you see business results declining? A rebrand can have lots of risks and pitfalls. Maarten Evertzen, Head of Digital at VIM Group, was interviewed by Templafy to share his thoughts on how to avoid them, and how this can be aided by using the right tools.
Follow our 7-step approach, based on best practices from over 2,000 rebrand cases:
What’s the most important thing to consider when you’re planning a rebrand?
“The most important thing when considering a rebrand is to conduct a financial evaluation with a subject matter specialist to gather information on the current state of your brand management and what all your brand touchpoints and processes are, versus your desired rebrand scenario. This way, you are actually able to identify financial impact, both in investment, ROI, and ambition level scenarios. For every euro you spend on design, you spend 20 on implementation – as an example of this, people think print is obsolete, but a company sending communications and information by mail can invest in thousands of envelopes a year. If you move from a two-tone logo to a dynamic full-colour logo, you could pay up to 70% more. There’s many cases of brand touchpoint categories similar to this which need consideration.”
“For every euro you spend on design, you spend 20 on implementation.”
What are the main pitfalls of rebranding?
“Underestimation. The average timing for a rebrand is every 7-8 years, and if there hasn’t been one for a while, a lot of insight into brand touchpoints and project management history is lost. So, we frequently encounter underestimations in properly scoping and executing a rebrand programme. A rebrand is not just a logo swap – it affects more than symbolism alone- such as tone of voice and even behavioural aspects of the company. Often, people are only aware of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s required of a rebrand. A rebrand is like every vessel of your body – it impacts every part of your business and nothing can be left out. It is wise to conduct a really good inventory of everywhere your brand appears before you begin, so you know you’ve got everything covered. From there, begin prioritising, based on visibility and complexity of specific touchpoints.”
“Often, people are only aware of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s required of a rebrand.”
“Another common pitfall is the difficulty between marketing and corporate communications. Communications can be really strict and directive-led with branding. At the same time, marketing runs the risk of hyper-adaptation of the brand to every trigger in the market. This often happens with things such as UX design and A/B testing – it’s not enough that something works, it has to be there for a reason and contribute to the brand purpose. Form always follows function, and design without functionality has no benefits for telling your brand story. Managing the balance is key.”
What role does software play in rebranding?
“Software can support the organisation a lot with automation of design of different brand touchpoints. It helps bring function and design together in the right way. It also works to aid the roll out of templates in digital form, whether that’s document templates, or landing pages. Software is a way in which design can be easily implemented. This isn’t only true following a rebrand, it also helps with the facilitation and running of a brand on a daily basis – software makes it easy, and means you are limiting design mistakes.”
7 steps to a successful rebrand
A practical step-by-step plan for brand, marketing and communication managers.