The Business Case For Strategic Rebranding
Updated: Feb 28
The rebranding of a company is a major change management initiative akin to running an ultramarathon. It’s the combination of revisiting your story, the name of your organization and enhancing all of the core strategic, design, experiential and internal cultural components that work together to build belief, love and loyalty.
Important to understand is that a rebranding is not just about revitalizing (communications plan and messaging), repositioning (changing perception through campaign efforts), renaming (changing the organization’s name) and redesign (modernizing look and feel). Rather, it’s a roll up of these four R’s into one big change management initiative.
The Magnitude of Rebranding
Beyond the enormous expenditure in time, a company rebranding requires a major financial commitment (both capital expense and marketing expense for both launch and sustaining efforts), operational commitment to align the organization around its new brand identity and alignment between Board, executive leadership, cross-functional leadership and teams as phases roll-out.
Given the magnitude of the effort, a strategic rebranding should never be undertaken without laying out the business case for change. Presenting the business case by forecasting the benefits, costs and risks, helps you make informed decisions and will likely be a requirement to gain buy-in and the ultimate “yes” from your most important stakeholders: the Board and Executive Leadership of your organization.
Advantages of a Rebranding Business Case
it may seem like this is just another document destined to collect dust on the shelf, following a presentation, but it can offer real advantages:
All stakeholders (Board, Executive Leadership, Cross-Functional Leadership and Teams, Business Partners) have similar expectations concerning the value and benefits of the rebranding to the organization.
You can use the business case as a starting point for a project plan with milestones.
A business case becomes a gauge for determining whether the rebranding delivers the intended tangible and intangible value (both internally and externally)
Business Case Considerations
Here are some tips to consider as you prepare your rebranding business case presentation:
Before the presentation itself Get advance buy-in from key stakeholders like functional leadership and department heads to increase your chances of getting the green light from key decision-makers. Discuss the benefits and risks of the rebranding and understand what questions are still to be answered. Ensure you adjust your presentation to integrate their feedback, so you have their full support.
In your presentation, start with the specific need for change Stakeholders should know that you’ve identified a real business problem that’s connected to the strategic need for rebranding. Do you need to accelerate growth and the brand no longer reflects the business? Are you facing a new set of competitors? Have customer tastes changed and your relevance has waned? Have you merged, consolidated or in the midst of acquisition?
Detail the scope of your rebranding Is everything changing starting with the name of the organization? Why is now the best time? Can or should the rebranding be executed in phases? Which change scenario is best for your organization?
Discuss associated risks at a high level Everyone should be aware that you’ve considered them, but don’t dwell and go deep. If stakeholders want more detail, they’ll ask. Let them know you’re prepared to discuss and can follow-up.
Present a high-level plan outline. The who, what, when and where of the effort, folding in the implementation phases (pre, during and post rebranding).
Review the resources required. Inform that you’ve already dimensioned the financial impact of the rebranding with other department heads and the different categories of expenses to execute the program (internally, agencies, suppliers, etc.). Don’t ignore the time-intensive nature of the effort and that the program needs a dedicated cross-functional project team also handling normal business as usual tasks.
Close on a high note. Remind about the power of an organization-wide strategic rebranding to deliver specific tangible and intangible outcomes, both internally and externally. Paint a picture of what the organization will look like as a result (considering the risk of maintaining your current brand if you decided not to rebrand.
The Green Light
Assuming you’re air tight on why a rebranding is the right course of action to address the problem you need to solve AND you’ve done all your upfront due diligence (including gaining input and buy-in even before you even walked in the room) – congratulations. This should be a rubber stamp meeting. Now your ultramarathon race begins.
Reach out if a rebranding might be n your future plans. Also, please leave a comment, or share a bit about your rebranding experience..