Executing a rebrand must be extraordinarily strategic; not violate the company’s cultural roots; be relevant and consistently supported; and place the customer benefit front and center at all times. It’s all about them.
Here how to rejuvenate your brokerage brand successfully:
1. Get clear on what a brand is.
A brand is not just your logo. A brand is the sum total of the messages, interactions, and experiences a customer has with your product, services, and people. To a customer, a brand is the promise of an experience. It’s a valuable asset to nurture over time.
2. Maintain control of the rebranding process.
Use a third-party guide because it is easy for a renaming effort to deteriorate into likes/dislikes or what your spouse thinks. Ground your brand in a strategy that recognizes not only the brand’s origins but also its ultimate destination in the current and future marketplace. Keep an open mind. Small ideas can get bigger, and seemingly big ideas can diminish over time. Also, identify those equities that cannot change.
3. Understand that a brand has two owners: The marketer owns 50%; the customer owns 100% – yes, that’s 150% in total.
The marketer produces messages, products and services. Your customer experiences the brand, and in the digital age they are in ultimate control of the messages they receive. Therefore, check in with customers and, at the very least, include those internal players who have the most customer contact. The worst thing you can do is to decide all branding issues at the top level and dictate to customers and to your brokers who must deliver the brand experience. You risk a loss of relevancy and buy-in.
4. Your logo, tagline, typography and design should tell a single-minded story.
Every brand is heroic in some way. Its look, feel, and message should tell one story. Think about what your brand fights for and against what odds. Consider what is at stake for customers in terms of their problems and how you solve those for them. By becoming a hero to your customers, you, in turn, make heroes out of them. That’s truly adding value.
5. Never forget that a brand should always remain fluid.
Some will warn you that changing your brand is a major risk. If it fails, it can be expensive and disruptive. Note Coca-Cola’s experience with “New Coke.” However, if you do not violate a brand’s established equities and values, you can still add flexibility into a brand that allows it to not lose relevance. For example, Tide detergent is built on consumers’ trust that it gets clothes clean, yet the brand has found multiple fresh expressions of that proposition over the years, even adding benefits to fend off competitors. Therefore, create a brand positioning that is broad enough to be as relevant today as yesterday and flexible enough to be relevant in the future.
6. Never stop supporting and promoting your brand.
Successful brands are a living presence in the marketplace with a tangible relationship with their customers. It’s easy to support a brand in boom times, but much tougher in down times. However, study after study has shown that brands that are consistently supported during a down cycle gain greater sales and share when the economy turns up – compared to those that cut support activities.