One involves a white dress and the exchange of bands; the other, white papers and the shift of a brand. A company revamp is a massive overhaul that requires planning, patience, and long-term vision. In so many ways, it is just like another of life’s great milestones -- a wedding.
Think about some of the best brands in the marketplace who have rebranded themselves with great success. There’s Cisco, who took off with their irresistible “Internet of Everything” slogan. There’s Intel, which saw unparalleled success when they launched their “Intel Inside” story. And of course there’s Qualcomm, which made the ever-difficult leap toward a consumer strategy and has absolutely transformed themselves, with positive results, in doing so.
There are so many reasons that companies rebrand themselves, and they are as diverse as the business world itself. Whatever the reason, the rebrand itself is a gateway to a new stage in the company’s life. It’s truly like a wedding –-- a threshold you cross over to a bright new future.
If you want to get your company rebranding right, take a few pointers from brides and wedding planners. Just like a “bridezilla” can spoil her own big day with the wrong attitude, a company’s executives who approach rebranding in the wrong state of mind can tarnish the shift before it even begins.
Get a planning partner.
Like a smart bride and groom who want their wedding to stand out from the tulle-and-butter cream pack, companies that want to be distinctive with their rebranding should hire a wedding planner. Not an actual wedding planner, of course, but a trusted strategic partner to guide them through the inevitable hurdles and headaches that crop up for every big company as they work on reshaping their image.
Rebranding is serious work, and a strong and experienced partner -- just like a good wedding planner -- can calm jittery nerves and navigate the tricky chemistry between stakeholders.
Stay true to yourself.
Ever been to a wedding where it’s clear the bride threw up her hands and let her family hijack the details? Where the food, music and even the dress seem to say nothing about the couple themselves and their own unique love story?
Don’t let your rebranding suffer the same fate. Just like the very best weddings evoke the style of the happy couple, the most successful rebrandings stay true to who your company is, what you stand for in the global market and exactly who you are planning on becoming with your overhauled image. When customers encounter your company after your rebrand, it should feel to them the way one feels after a successful makeover: still recognizable, but better-looking and more up-to-date than ever.
More than changing your name.
Most brides take their grooms’ names after the wedding. But a wedding is not just about a new moniker, it’s about a whole new identity. Similarly, don’t be afraid to let rebranding take you somewhere new.
No company should take the leap into rebranding lightly. It’s a huge commitment with a fair share of risk, but if you’ve determined that it’s the right move, then make sure you make it worth your while. Rebranding is about a new identity, one that is linked to your company’s past, but without any limits or tethers for its future. You rebrand because you aren’t moving enough as you are, and it’s time to break free, set a new course, and reach deeper into the market than was previously possible. Embrace the shift.
Celebrate good times.
The best weddings are the ones that are a joyous celebration for all the invited guests. And just like a great party isn’t about only the bride and groom, a successful rebranding of a company is about so much more than just the chief executive officer. Your entire staff is on the ride with you, so make sure that they have a chance to be as excited about the change as you are.
This is a critical time for everyone who comes to work at your office, regardless of the size of their paycheck or the scope of their responsibilities. Make sure that no one feels left out, and get some help by asking your lower-level managers to pass on the message. You can open champagne at a company meeting, throw a huge party or decide to just send out a few emails clueing everyone in to the changes at hand. But remember, the best rebranding experiences are those where every employee has a seat at the table and feels like a VIP invited to the celebration of upcoming change.
Be fruitful and multiply.
One of the most beautiful things about a marriage is the children that follow. For companies who rebrand and shift their image, the loveliest results are the exciting new projects that come to life as a result. Rebranding opens the doors to new customer relationships, fresh initiatives and experiences for your company that weren’t possible before the change. Keep that in mind and don’t forget to explain why you are rebranding, where you want to go and how you plan to get there.
Plan for the morning after.
The best weddings -- where the champagne flows until dawn -- often make for the roughest mornings on the following day. Savvy brides and grooms take care of their guests after the main event, planning post-party brunches or sending them home with aspirin and coffee care packages.
In the same way, the strongest companies plan their rebranding for today and tomorrow -- focusing not just on the “wedding” itself, but on the marriage that comes after. It’s great to wow your current customers with a fresh new focus, an overhauled website or an exciting new business strategy. But, none of that will matter if you don’t invest equally in cultivating the relationship long after the ink on your new stationary has dried and the rebranding event is a distant memory. Plan for the long-term, and like the happiest couples you know, your wedding -- err, your branding -- will be just the first celebration in a long line of successes.