If you are the big boss at your company, launching a branding project can be a difficult decision to make. But if you’re not the big boss, if you’re the marketing or sales guru who clearly sees the need for branding or rebranding, convincing the big boss is a whole other story. You need wit and guile, a ready command of business logic, and a set of arguments about why the status quo is not good enough.
So if you’re the big boss at your company, you can stop reading this right now. We don’t want to waste your time, this blog post isn’t for you. Just forward this to your trusted lieutenant, your red-hot up-and-comer, or your budding marketing genius, and then put it out of your mind. Nothing to see here.
OK then, down to business. We know that having the branding conversation with your boss can be difficult. It’s like telling someone their baby is ugly. But unlike the friend with the ugly baby, bad branding isn’t something you can just politely ignore and change the subject on. If your company’s brand is getting in the way of its success, it’s your duty to point it out and get things moving in the right direction.
There may a number of different things going on with your brand and your company, and each may suggest a different way to approach the boss.
Find the Cracks. The shortest path to the rebranding argument is to point out a lack of consistency and alignment within your company. Conduct a casual survey of your internal team as to what they perceive the brand to be. See if the answers betray signs of the most common brand pathologies: a brand that is fragmented, diffuse or conformist. Check out the links, but just to refresh your memory, a fragmented brand has too many different ideas of what the offer is about, a diffuse brand has no real sense of the “story” “idea” or “promise”, and with a conformist brand you may well hear from your colleagues frustration or anecdotes that indicate the brand is uncompetitive, a copy-cat that is not pulling its weight and could be doing much, much better.
If your CEO has been thinking much the same thing, this may be all you need to do.
Get an Outside Opinion. It is never a bad idea to check the pulse of your customers. But if you need a little more ammunition for doing a rebrand, gather some customer-based anecdotes that show you may be competing against your own message (or lack thereof) as much as the competitors’. Mine the sales staff for anecdotes; they’ll be of especial help here. If you present evidence of this to your CEO, she’ll sit up and take notice, no question.
Put in the Foundation. If you have the budget and resources, you can do a brand analysis project so you can back up your argument with cold hard facts. Now we’re really getting into some serious business, and you will probably need professional help. A brand analysis takes a thorough look at where your brand is at now. It includes a customer analysis, a competitor analysis, and a brand audit – SWOTs for promise, personality, and position.
OK, so you’ve put your best foot forward and made the argument to rebrand. Chances are the big boss will have a few choice question for you. So let’s do a FAQ.
Q: What is the ROI on rebranding? This is, frankly, a difficult question to answer. In our experience, unless you already have sophisticated marketing and brand analytics in place, convincing data might be thin. Even more important, credibly calculating ROI is pretty hard. We prefer to come back to a CEO’s ROI question with an honest answer. “It is hard to calculate these intangibles – just like trying to calculate the ROI on good leadership.”
Q: Can’t we just do this ourselves? This is a good occasion to answer a question with a question, or a series of questions. Is branding one of our core competencies? Did we do our current brand ourselves, and how did that go? Won’t we want some outside guidance to keep us on track?
Q: How much will this cost? We’re glad you asked.
Q: Are we ready to rebrand? Excellent question.
Q: How fast can we get this done? This is an excellent opportunity to introduce the boss to Distility 1day1brand.
If your boss asks you any other tough questions, why not post them in the comments below? We’ll be glad to offer our best answer.
So there you have it. Pushing for a branding project can be a gutsy thing to do, but often a CEO will have been thinking about it already, and your job is just to provide the arguments for something the CEO already knows. Good luck!