Rebranding is a company strategy.
It is not just a marketing strategy. It takes buy-in from everyone within an organization to launch a successful rebrand. Your brand identity is just as much internal, as it is external. At Gibson we have more than 150 brand advocates and we (the entire company) must make sure we are telling our truth and portraying ourselves in a way that not only we can be proud of, but that our clients can be proud of.
This is the third rebrand that I have personally orchestrated, and the most well organized. In this experience, I saw a real benefit of guiding the work and the team with a clear plan and having help from absolute rock stars along the way. Throughout this journey I have learned many things, but today I want to focus on the Top 6 Lessons from our 2020 rebrand.
- Know why you’re rebranding: Company growth and maturity is often the incentive for rebranding, and that was the case for us. Our outside no longer matched our inside. It was like wearing a boxy 1980’s suit and tie when we are feeling skinny jeans and stilettos. Over time, how we work with clients has changed. The way we saw their businesses, evaluated their risks and opportunities, and the plan to help them find their edge had evolved for the better.
- Recognize that your brand emanates from the inside-out. You can’t make it up because it won’t be believable or helpful in guiding your business. It is not something that you force, and it has to be rooted in the truth of who you are, the DNA of your organization; with some space in there for who you aspire to be. Do the research. Talk to leaders at various levels in your company and clients. The words, traits, and benefits of your business will quickly become apparent. That’s the truth of your brand.
- Decide what’s sacred. Challenge yourself to see nothing as sacred to start. I heard the phrase, “there are no sacred cows,” more than I want to admit during this process. It’s much easier for your team – or marketing agency – to pull back on grandiose ideas than to beef up the creativity further down the road. At the same time, keep what is working. For us, keeping the name – Gibson. The name evokes pride and history. We also kept our core values, with only slight adjustments, because our culture and values have not changed, we just wanted to express with greater clarity.
- Brace yourself – it’s an investment. Of time, energy, and dollars.
- Give your colleagues the front-row seat to what’s happening. To create impact, it’s important that your rebranding be unveiled with impact. But that does not mean keeping it a secret from employees until launch day. Bring them into the circle of trust. Help them understand the brand strategy and brand concept so that they may see, believe, and convey it, too. They are critical to maintaining brand consistency.
- Operationalize it. Brand is a strategic platform that is the lens through which to consider every business decision. For it to be owned beyond marketing, it means every experience—from client onboarding to internal goal setting—must be escorted by the brand.
It was time to spread our wings and tell the real Gibson story.