Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing for a Branding Project

branding project

All Signs Point to a Branding Project

There are a lot of common signs that indicate it may be the right time for a branding project. Maybe your business has experienced high grown and you are ready to reposition to prepare for your next round of funding. Or maybe it isn’t growing fast enough and you need to find a way to differentiate your brand to compete more strongly. Perhaps your competitive set has changed and with it, the industry has evolved opening a new category for you to shift into. With markets and categories shifting so quickly, many organizations are left feeling lost as to how to capitalize on those shifts and changes. A branding project can be a great way to re-energize perceptions about who you are, what you offer, and how you do it better than anyone else.

However, a branding project is no small undertaking. It requires commitment, dedication, and large-scale planning.

Before you launch into a branding project, consider these common mistakes.

1. Poor alignment around objectives and expectations:

If your business is considering investing in a branding project, it’s integral that you create alignment and clarity around the objectives of the project. Why is now the right time for an updated brand? What has changed? What can you expect as a result of this work and investment? And most importantly, how will you measure success?

Without clear objectives, time is wasted moving towards ambiguous goals. And time is of the essence. A rebrand won’t happen overnight. So plan ahead, anticipate the needs of the business, and determine what you need to be successful in the future is key.

2. Underestimating the power of planning:

Resource management is vital to the success of large scale projects like a rebrand. Too often organizations fail to see beyond the early planning stages and end up without the necessary resources to see a project through and beyond the launch. Don’t underestimate the time or financial and human resources that will be needed to do the job right. With an appropriate budget in place, a project of this scale then requires consistent planning, dedicated scheduling, and a team that is going to fuel the project forward.

A solid project plan is critical. Highlight major sales and marketing events to ensure you will have what you need when you need it. Block out Board Meetings and other critical business meetings. And if you have an upcoming conference and major events, block those too on a project plan. Meetings need to be nailed down. Clear timelines need to be established, people need to be held accountable, and strategies should be developed for keeping things on track. Once you allow a project to fall behind schedule, you’ve set the precedent that the project is not important and people will fail to treat it as a top priority. As soon as that happens, you start to waste those precious resources you worked so hard to put in place at the outset.

3. The wrong drivers:

Businesses often make the mistake of putting a team in place to manage a project like a re-brand without fully understanding the demands on their time. A project of this size can’t be something that your people do in their spare time or something that requires senior executives to sign-off on every single aspect before things can move forward. This means identifying and empowering someone internally and realigning their current responsibilities or consider bringing in an outside resource while designating a smaller internal team to help support this lead. And this internal team should not only represent marketing – sales, HR, and product teams can also be valuable drivers as long as the people you choose are clear on the strategic vision for the business.

Above all, make sure your project team is prepared and empowered to make smart, fast decisions. Getting hung up on small things and trying to please everyone is only going to stall the project and dilute its impact. It’s about making the agile, strategic decisions that position your business for success.

4. Thinking it’s all about the website:

A rebrand is not just about a new website. A project of this scale represents a much deeper, and extensive move in a different direction for your business that will impact all aspects of what you do and how you do it. The brand has to be embraced in the hearts and minds of the people who work for you and who embody what it means to do business with you. Any change has to start on the inside before you can expect it to be felt on the outside.

So yes, the website is an important touchpoint for the brand and often the first brand experience a prospect or customer might have with you, but your branding efforts can’t start and end there. Your new brand strategy must guide all of your marketing efforts, every interaction people have with your firm, as well as influence the way you do business.

5. Leaving people behind:

Change is difficult for people to digest. Most importantly, in order for change to work in your favor, you need to get people behind your new strategy. Pacing out how you introduce the new brand can make it more digestible to people. As well as help align everyone behind the direction your company or firm is taking.

In the end, people – no matter what role they play – want to know what a rebrand means to them. What changes should they expect and when? How do these shifts impact their own work? Daily and long term? What are the new expectations for them?

With shifting expectations, you need an infrastructure in place to internally manage performance. Figuring out how you are going to hold people accountable for shifting behavior is key.

Keep it Going

So you’ve decided on a rebrand. You’ve allocated time and resources. You’ve assigned a team. You’ve created a strategy and strategic materials. You’ve rolled the new brand out internally and externally with success. But the branding project isn’t over.

In fact, you’ve just started. Launching a brand is one thing, but maintaining it and keeping it doing its job is another. Make sure you are dedicated to building on your brand strategy overtime if you want your brand to do the work it needs to moving forward.

When you commit to the cost of a branding project, you must also commit to investing in your new brand in the long-term.

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco design and brand strategy agency.

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