How do you decide then, whether to Start a new Brand, rebrand or refresh an existing identity?
If you’re reading this, it’s likely you have to decide on updating an outdated brand, or launching a new service or sub-brand. It’s exciting, but worrying about costs can spoil any optimism or motivation. Timing and budget are vital to get right. So we hope the following examples and exercises will help you get your branding right first time, and set – and stick – to a correct budget.
Firstly, what is a rebrand (or re-brand)?
Rebranding is a strategic marketing tactic to define either a new company or product name, create a new industry term, create new symbol(s) or icons or a combination. This is usually for established brands intending to develop a newly positioned identity, differentiated in the minds of customers, investors and boards, competitors, or any other key stakeholders.
So then what is a brand refresh?
A brand refresh is a new ‘lick of paint’ for a well-positioned and established company. Perhaps the consistency of your brand has eroded over the years and it needs to be made more cohesive? In the lightest sense, a brand refresh keeps or retains core recognised visual elements, but may give them a modern twist by altering colours or fonts. With a heavier approach, a brand refresh may update the overall style along with tone of voice or even core messaging and define a new market position.
Evolution or revolution?
Whether there is a visual connection to the previous brand identity or not, it is largely driven by the appetite of the stakeholders. This is where a brand audit can help collate information and define to which degree the current brand needs to evolve.
UM’s favoured example:
Back in 2014, Netflix refreshed its branding just 17 years after launch (1997), with a gently improved logotype (minus that drop-shadow) and tweaked colour palette.
Why bother rebranding then?
What is the benefit of rebranding? What will rebranding achieve or solve? The following events are triggers for when a rebrand will happen:
- A merger or buy-out is either imminent or has just happened
- New CEO or board
- Following a period of considerable growth or retraction
- A change in customer needs or behaviour
- A new company strategy or direction
- Changes in your product types, audiences or personas
- Technology updates (i.e. does your brand work on mobile or has the URL been taken elsewhere?)
- To establish a unique position against competitors challenging your previous comfortable position
This final point is one of the most critical to me and highlights the importance of originality and distinction in your market. Branding is about being memorable. If you’re going to be truly original, you have to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re still at the stage of using phrases like ‘our service is the highest quality’ or ‘our staff care more’, you still need to dig deeper, and get to some evidence for any claims. Only then have you found what it is you need to highlight in the new brand and how you can measure the success of the rebrand process with some more certain KPIs.
How long does it take to rebrand?
How long it takes to agree and action a rebranding strategy is calculated, largely, by the number of locations in which the new logo, imagery, colour palette and messaging are to be implemented. There isn’t an exhaustive ‘one-size-fits-all’ list, but if you can identify some points from the list below, you could plan to make the process quicker (and therefore cheaper).
- Organisation size / length of time established (bigger, more established companies have more assets and considerations)
- The number of decision makers and their level of influence (fewer, higher-ranking people is faster)
- The amount of competitor research required (online, interviews, surveys, offline meetings)
- The scope and number of marketing deliverables:
– Printed stationery (business cards to letterheads)
– Signage and livery
– Rollup banners
– Leaflets, giveaway gifts
– Brochures, folders, inserts
– Digital stationery (email signatures, letterheads, invoicing etc.)
– Social media profiles (headers and avatars) for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube
– PowerPoint presentations and charts and graphs
– Display adverts and banners
– Social media posts
– Whitepapers, case studies and other lead magnets
– Video and animation sequences
– Products and merchandise
– Partner communications
Next, a budget. What is the right budget for a rebrand? Having efficiently updated numerous clients’ brands at Usable Media, we’ve seen some common questions about branding budgets that, left unanswered, increase cost. Answered honestly and thoroughly at the beginning, these will help stabilise cost.
- Why are we rebranding? (Objectives)
- If we don’t rebrand, what is the impact? (Issue)
- How much do we need to spend vs. How much do we have spare?
- Can we afford to rebrand properly?
- When should we rebrand?
- Who should be involved and why?
- Do we just need a new logo or is our messaging wrong too?
- How do we get everyone to agree on the new look and feel?
- How do we maintain consistency?
- How can we recoup the cost of rebranding?
If you have concrete answers for these questions, great. If not, you may need to bring in experts earlier on in the process to help assess and establish the feasibility of rebranding. If you’re unsure, schedule a FREE 30-minute call with us to discuss.
How many £££s will it actually cost to rebrand your company?
This is where a formula is useful. In our experience, large companies do need to spend more on brand strategy than the small SMEs. Research from Deloitte’s shows CMOs of successful SMEs reporting that they spend around 11% of revenue on marketing. And in sequence, an average rebranding process should equate to around 10% of the total marketing budget.
For example, if your annual revenues are £15M and your marketing budget is £1,650,000, you can expect rebrand costs starting at £165,000. This should cover a brand audit, creative strategy and copywriting, design process, implementation and brand guidelines. However, this is only if the process follows a very logical, well-managed project plan. This has little or no contingency for political disruptions, changes in brief or momentum. Adding in new stages causes delays, which reduce momentum, and that lack of cadence can increase cost.
How do I get branding right first time then and stick to a budget – thus saving money?
Opinions, changes, iterations, versions and refinements all cause delays – i.e. the subjective side of branding. We’ve only seen these issues when a rebranding process is started without proper consultation. It’s a process of asking the right questions of the right people. I.e.:
- Insights and recommendations (review your website analytics for best practice, consumer trends, issues and language)
- Positioning matrices (competitor audits, logo audit, positioning statement, value propositions, audience segmentation, differentiation, buyer personas)
- Surveys (your clients, external experts, internal stakeholders, win/loss deal reviews and more – report findings)
- Is a new name required? (a separate process with its own methodology and schedule)
How long does a rebranding process take?
Honestly, a typical rebranding process takes between four weeks and six months to establish and agree. It then takes another six months to roll out fully across the entire brand footprint.
When estimating how much time your rebranding process will take and cost, we do have an easy to follow template, with questions and lists to help you discuss with an agency.
It’s completely free to download now:
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