In this ever-changing world, no brand can remain the same for long. Rebrands and brand refreshes are becoming more and more common for businesses and organisations of all sizes, in all categories.
But a rebranding project requires a significant commitment from all parts of the organisation, in terms of time, physical resources and dollars, and business leaders need to see a strong business case and projected ROI before they will consider one.
To give your rebranding project the best chance of leadership buy-in and approval, we recommend including the following elements in your business case:
1. What problem are you trying to solve?
Start the business case with a clear and succinct objective for your rebrand. This will help to open the conversation and gain consensus around the aim. You may like to complete this section last, after completing all the other sections, as by that time you should be able to summarise the project aim really clearly and powerfully.
2. What has changed that requires you to rebrand? What has driven the business need, and why now?
Some of the reasons an organisation may consider a rebrand essential:
- A new strategic direction: If your organisation is preparing a strategic plan that will change its future direction, a rebrand can help communicate this new intent to your market.
- A new product or service offering: If you have added a significant new product range or service to your business offer that has changed the focus of your organisation, a rebrand may act as a circuit breaker to signal to your audiences that your offering has changed.
- A new audience: You may find yourself marketing your products and services to audience segments that were not previously relevant to your organisation.
- Preparing for growth: If you are a business teetering on the edge of rapid expansion, a rebrand can help position your organisation for growth. It can act as a signal to your customers, competitors and stakeholders that you are here, you are ready and you have the momentum to drive your company forward.
- Attracting talent: Rebranding your organisation can position you to attract candidates who in the past may not have considered your organisation as a prospective employer.
- Maintaining relevance: As your organisation grows, your markets expand and new challengers enter your competitive set, you may find your sales are declining or your current brand is looking dated and your brand story lacks relevance to your target audience.
- A merger or acquisition: If you have recently made a significant acquisition or been part of a merger (that may have also necessitated a name change), you may need to rebrand to reflect the different intentions of your newly expanded organisation.
- Reaction to recent growth: Sometimes businesses may experience periods of rapid growth and find that over time their business strategy and brand strategy are no longer aligned. Their brands start to collide in different channels and against different customers, and their customer segmentation is no longer clear, and the internal culture has also shifted away from the organisation’s aspiration.
- A changing business environment: The introduction of new industry regulations or a new competitor in your market can rapidly alter your ability to compete and can very quickly make your brand appear dated and irrelevant.
- Trademarking or legal issues: From time to time trademarking or legal issues may arise that necessitate a rebrand, for example expansion into international markets.
- Negative publicity: A worst-case scenario is when your organisation is embroiled in a controversy so significant that you need to rebrand your organisation to demonstrate that you have moved on from the contentious situation and are ready to begin rebuilding trust with your stakeholders and customers.
3. Are there other factors that are limiting the performance or growth prospects of your current brand?
Most marketers would consider research an essential part of a rebrand project, but there is a definite role for research before a rebrand project to help build a strong business case. This could be in the form of desk research, qualitative research with internal and/or external stakeholders or even quantitative research with current customers or the broader market. Including quotes from your interviews and data from your research will strengthen your case for a rebrand when pitching to senior stakeholders for buy-in.
First, you’ll need to identify the gaps in your current knowledge – what do you need to know and why? Then you can gather answers to such things as:
- What are the customer brand awareness and loyalty levels? What are customers’ perceptions of the brand and whether the current positioning is relevant to them?
- Are the business and all the employees aligned behind the brand? And is customer experience reflecting the brand positioning?
- Are there any parts of the business which have outgrown the current brand and are now limited in terms of future growth?
- What else is currently standing in the way?
4. What do you expect from the project?
What does success look like?
5. What resources are required for the rebrand project?
Provide a realistic view of the people and man hours required to complete the project successfully, as well as the financial investment required. It’s also helpful to outline the type of support and involvement that will be required from the leadership team and third party suppliers.
6. What is the timeline for the rebrand project?
Outline the proposed start and finish dates, along with key milestones along the way.
7. What will happen if we don’t rebrand?
This final section should contain a risk assessment of maintaining the current brand.