Take me with you on the journey

Avoiding a common pitfall of rebranding projects


Don’t forget that your staff and clients are also invested in your business brand. If you are contemplating a rebranding project, try and get them to travel on the journey with you.

Have you ever fallen asleep on a long train journey and woken up not knowing where you were? Or have you dozed off on the bus and woken up at the terminus, wondering how you got there? The feeling of disorientation and uncertainty is unsettling to say the least, but it would be even worse if you hadn’t actually been planning on travelling anywhere.

Imagine, then, the situation when a company carries out a rebranding project without consulting their staff. Maybe there’s a bit of gossip around the offices, but no one knows quite what’s going on. Then one day, there’s a proud announcement from the CEO, the MD, or the department head: the employees are presented with a fait accompli and discover they are in an entirely new situation, with no idea how – or why – they got there.

Often this is what happens with rebranding projects: there’s a lot of activity behind the scenes, then, out of nowhere, the big reveal: new look, new logo, new corporate colour scheme, etc. Clients can be in an even worse position: rumours about the project may have passed them by and the new branding may come completely out of the blue.

Staff and clients are invested in your business brand: a rebranding project presented without consultation can be disorientating and unsettling. Of course a brand identity doesn’t come out of nowhere and the marketeers behind the new corporate image should have done their research; if it’s anything more than a very simple project, they may well have produced a report explaining the whys and wherefores. But even if this explanation is made public post hoc, it’s like being given a map after the journey is over, along with a photo album of pictures taken en route and a journal recounting what happened along the way.

If you’ve ever organised a road trip, you’ll know how difficult it is to get a group of people to agree on the route, even if the destination is decided on, so perhaps it’s understandable that companies shy away from wider consultation: they realise it’s unlikely to be possible to please everybody with a rebrand.

But we are all familiar with the idea of democracy: we all know that not everyone can get everything they want, that decisions often require compromises to be made, and that some ideas simply make more sense than others when viewed objectively. In general, even if our idea isn’t the one that’s chosen, we are far more likely to accept the final selection if we’ve been allowed to voice our opinion at a time when it might make a difference.

Allowing staff to voice their opinions is a good way to make them feel involved and is more likely to result in a favourable reception for the final rebrand.

Early on in the rebranding process there is time to consult, to find out how people relate to the company’s vision and values, how they feel the current brand expresses these, and where they feel it falls down and could be improved. If you allow everyone – including staff and trusted clients, too – to have their say at this stage of consultation, they will see that they have been involved and their opinions considered. Even if the final result isn’t what they would personally have chosen, there’s a far greater chance that they’ll come with you on the journey, appreciating why you are leaving your current location, and why you end up where you do.

All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.
― Tom Peters

If you are thinking about rebranding, we’d love to talk to you about it – and to your staff, too! Do drop us a line or call 0798 661 3437.