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In my more than 12 years of working in communications and public relations, I’ve learned that strategy and planning can make or break any business campaign—including a rebranding. I’ve witnessed the epic failures and extraordinary triumphs that can result from a company’s efforts to shift perceptions of its brand.

Some decisions to rebrand may be made reactively, on the heels of a crisis or controversy. Others are made as a proactive means to align their company’s message to fit a shifting business landscape or a contemporary audience. Whatever your reason for rebranding, it’s important to remember that change can be difficult for everyone in life, including your stakeholders and customers.

As your company sails into the winds of change, a solid, thoughtful strategy will help you reduce the risk of losing key stakeholders—or worse, losing dollars. In the first part of this article series, we covered the three fundamental steps that will provide the ultimate launch pad for your efforts. Now, we’ll explore the three essential planning stages that come next.

1. Crunch those numbers

While your vision of a renewed brand may be free, the costs of rolling out those changes to meet your vision are decidedly not free—especially if you’re considering a holistic rebrand for your business. Whether you’re tweaking your company’s name or performing a total revamp of your logo, it’s important to understand the costs associated with this rebranding beforehand.

Larger organizations can have hundreds—even thousands—of web properties, buildings, business cards and other assets which must be updated throughout a rebrand.

What would the total investment look like for your company? As you consider your own unique branding needs and budgeting parameters, the answer to this critical question will help you determine the appropriate scope and timeline of your rebranding strategy.

2. Communication is key

At the risk of zooming ahead before your stakeholders and employees know where to find you, it’s important to infuse your rebranding strategy with loads of transparency and open communication. By letting your associates and stakeholders know what changes they should expect to see throughout the rebranding process, you’ll be far more likely to get their buy-in over time.

Consider Gap’s swift logo redesign in December 2010, which ended in utter failure. The brand’s iconic logo, which had served the brand for over 20 years, was quietly replaced with a new logo overnight. The new look was unmistakably different from the classic blue-square logo consumers had grown to know and love.

Following an uproar from customers and people on the Internet, Gap reverted to its former logo just six days later. The episode highlighted the importance of communication before action when it comes to any form of rebranding.

3. Reflect and adjust

As the old saying goes, “you can’t please everybody.” Even the most well-researched rebranding strategy is certain to come with some pushback.

The key to success lies in listening to these criticisms and using constructive feedback to sharpen your strategy and meet your metrics. With this in mind, it is essential to keep your finger on the pulse of your rebranding strategy and be prepared to adjust along the way.

By analyzing your work throughout the process, you’ll effectively gauge the feedback on the rebranding and determine the overall success and financial impact of your strategy. Ultimately, if you find you aren’t getting the buy-in you had hoped for from your stakeholders, it’s important to contemplate how each of those objections could impact your company’s bottom line. You should be prepared to alter--or even abandon--your rebranding strategy.

Rebranding is an open-ended process

It’s never enough to simply announce your rebranding, drop your new guidelines into a document and hit “save.” No matter how big or how small the changes you make, your company’s branding should be considered an ongoing process and something you revisit regularly.

This isn’t to say you should be rebranding on an annual basis. However, you should plan to at least check-in on your branding strategy often to consider whether it still accurately represents what your company stands for today, tomorrow and in the future.

Are you looking to start shifting perceptions of your business by rebranding? We’re here to help! Contact Airfoil today.