Thinking a rebrand will fix everything? It won’t.

Undoubtedly, evolving your brand is essential – it was a brilliant move for our agency in 2012. However, it wasn’t a magic elixir either – the skies didn’t open up with new business, nor did our weaknesses suddenly fade away.

If business is dropping off, it’s easy to say “We need a new logo, that’s what!” There are reasons to avoid a rebrand – never mind that it’s costly, emotional, time consuming and requires diligent, strategic communication when launched.

I repeat: a new logo will not fix what’s broken. Fresh paint on an old fence may look smart for a year, but the fence is still old, breaking down or rotting. The fence may need nails tapped back in, some of the boards replaced and a post or two re-stabilized. Then the paint goes on.

One wonders if the shift to Blackberry from Research in Motion a few years back was an attempt to throw fresh paint at an old, busted fence. We know how that went.

I’ve heard dozens of stories from clients who reluctantly moved ahead with a rebrand because a new marketing executive or advertising agency said to. I’ll say it: occasionally marketing people are driven by ego. Seriously, it’s true. No brand should change solely because someone wants to leave their mark. The change may indeed be warranted, but expect that person to make a sound business case.

The exercise of making a business case for a rebrand will involve senior executives, and their buy-in is critical. I’ve been in rooms where marketing and agency folks all agree a new look or positioning is overdue, however without the proper commitment from the top it became an arduous process.

The buy-in should be for the need, not the exercise: in some instances, it became clear when the senior folks said “yes” they were really saying “if I see a new logo I like, we’ll use it”. Inevitably, given the cost of implementation, the creative energy is all for naught. If they are not invested in the need, they won’t spend the money to implement it.

Rebranding can be fun, it’s true, and effective, absolutely. But, avoid the urge to pick up a paintbrush if you really need a few two-by-fours, a hammer and some nails.

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