A brand is never “finished”. Owning and keeping a strong brand requires continuous attention and further development. After all, the world itself is changing rapidly, with 90% of our lives being facilitated online as we work, interact and shop through our various devices. And with this, there are the extra demands that consumers place on your brand purpose and the new technologies that impact your brand: from VR to the rise of voice-activated devices.

In short, from time to time your brand needs an update: whether it is a completely new positioning or further development of its visual identity. This inevitably leads to questions from the Board: what will it actually cost and what will it yield? In this blog, I’ll describe how you can build a strong business case for brand investment.

Follow our 7-step approach, based on best practices from over 2,000 rebrand cases:

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A strategic choice, not a creative one

When organisations consider changing something about their brand, their first impulse might be to contact a creative agency, a partner that can help create a new brand identity and a new brand name. However, it is wise to take a step back and to begin with outlining what the business impact of such a change will be, how much it is likely to cost and importantly, what are the short and long-term benefits?

“A rebrand is first and foremost a strategic decision, not a creative choice based only on creative sentiment.”

A rebrand can have a major impact on the organisation and its business results. This is why rebranding is first and foremost a strategic decision, not a creative choice based only on creative sentiment. A business case helps you to make the right decisions for the right reasons and is an excellent tool to pitch your plans to your most important stakeholders: the Board or management of your organisation.

What is my brand worth?

One of the first questions that arises when creating a business case for a rebrand is, ‘What is my brand worth?’. This is often difficult to determine as it doesn’t only mean financial value, but also commercial value. The relevance of brand (an intangible business asset) is often underestimated, but research shows that a brand accounts for, on average, 19% of the market value of an organisation (Brand Finance, 2017). It is crucial to have a good view on how your brand value has built up over the years, especially when you are considering a rebrand exercise.

Strong brand awareness and an emotional brand preference can have a large, positive impact on business results and on internal brand value. Some employees may work for many years in your business and yet identify with a former brand. Estimate the positive impact a rebrand can have on business results. It could be an improved reputation, a more appealing digital appearance, or an elevated position when compared to your competition.

Prevent the project from running out of time or over budget

An important part of your business case is the operational impact and associated costs of a possible brand change. Both will depend on the project scope, degree of change, certain legal factors and the required speed of implementation. Unfortunately, many companies consider the possible implications too far down the line in the rebrand process. Because of this, many rebrand programmes often slip in terms of budget and planning. The costs for strategy and design are considered, but the costs for the implementation are underestimated.

Identifying the cost of brand change

To make accurate estimations, you will need a view on the scope and size of your possible rebrand. Does the project just involve a change of logo, or is a completely new rebrand required? How many branded items does your organisation have? What are the costs (expressed both financially and in terms of time/resources) for changing these brand touchpoints? Which change scenario is best for you? Are there any specific legal factors which need to be considered that could mean an increase in costs; any brand registrations, licenses or legal documentation updates?

In addition, you must consider which resources you need, both internally and externally. A rebrand is a complex and time-intensive project that cannot be completed in tandem with normal business as usual tasks. To undertake such a programme, you will need a dedicated project team, consisting of people within your organisation and support from external agencies. Most organisations do not possess enough knowledge on brand strategy, design and the development of brand touchpoints across the business. In addition, it is wise to hire brand consultants and specialist project managers to help guide you through what is a complex implementation process; to map out all the resources you need, internally as well as externally, and create a complete estimation of necessary resource costs.

Don’t forget that there are opportunities for savings too!

Often organisations are unaware that a rebrand can actually save money in the future. A rebrand can create an opportunity to do things more efficiently, cheaply and sustainably. A rebrand allows you to look at all your brand touchpoints and to question whether you still need all your existing branded assets, or to choose a smarter colour palette that saves costs. Often a rebrand is used to further digitise an organisation and to implement more efficient and sustainable mechanisms. There are also internal efficiencies: it may be possible to rebrand at the same time as running an internal initiative or project. In short, think upfront about the opportunities a rebrand can open up and do not forget to apply these to your business case.

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7 steps to a successful rebrand

A practical step-by-step plan for brand, marketing and communication managers.

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