The Context for Brand Transformation
A strategic context for brand transformation is more necessary than ever as professional services companies like law, accounting and architecture firms begin to realise the importance of building a brand. The realisation that building a brand goes way beyond designing a nice logo is important for businesses who may still not think it is possible to differentiate in their sector.
When it comes to the unfavourable impacts that the pandemic may have had on your operating model and the challenges thrown up, you may be starting to recognise that a transformation is needed, From mindset to branding and digital transformation to delivery model, and due to the range of areas impacted, you may realise that an integrated strategy is required.
Rebranding Strategy – a Great Beginning but Not the Whole Story
Rebrands are the latest panacea being offered by marketers to leaders for wide-ranging growth, technology and internal capacity issues they face. However, a focus seemingly only on marketing drivers may not provide the comfort that leaders need, as it’s difficult to make the leap from a marketing-driven initiative to functional and operational constraints that affect your business’s competitive position.
Consultants offering productivity tools or technology firms offering software solving current problems but with no reference to brand ideals and ambitions (every bit as important to sustainability and longevity), would likewise fail to provide the strategic lens required to solve problems in a holistic manner. This is what makes a strategic context for brand transformation so critical.
Having clear objectives regarding building a brand in order to become and stay differentiated, is a consideration that spans your business, end to end. Therefore, there is a need for an integrated brand strategy and transformation. There is an unmet need for independent assurance of the brand marketing work to ensure it incorporates the business’ objectives and considers the business’s capability to live up to the brand ideals defined. Conversely, there is also a need for independent assurance of change management activities to ensure they are aligned to brand imperatives, like purpose, positioning and fundamentally the brand promise.
Ideally, there is a strategy to the delivery process of brand transformation that can be designed and implemented through an integrated brand strategy. At Iconify, we recognise that this is what businesses are really crying out for at this time – a holistic process for addressing the range of challenges coming at leaders fast, and uniquely we have the expertise and capability to offer the underlying work or the assurance capability. This means that even if you already have (internal or external) marketing or strategy teams working, it makes sense to consider a different approach that ensures all brand marketing is also aligned to business objectives, and change works are aligned to brand imperatives because this significantly reduces the risks of working in silos, conflicting requirements and degraded customer experiences.
The Branding Imperatives to Business Objectives Alignment Gap
At Iconify, we have recognised this significant strategy synergy gap, namely that because the links just aren’t made in the minds of leaders between a rebrand and the integrated strategy that a business needs to solve the challenges they are currently facing and anticipating, these disconnects looms large in the absence of an integrated strategy. That’s why we propose a strategic context for brand transformation that considers the business as a whole end-to-end and touches on the main considerations that would make the largest and most immediate advances for creating a brand with longevity in its DNA.
- you need a strategy for bringing business revenues and other KPIs up a couple of notches
- you face staff and customers loss, are getting fewer leads or are billing at lower rates
- revenues are stalled and you are looking for new avenues of growth, and want to add new services
- you have yet to start your digital transformation process
- your website is not yet a digital asset that helps generate leads, improve reputation/social proof
- your digital presence is lacklustre
- You want to fall in love with your business again, and everyone along with you,
you need a rebranding strategy that goes beyond brand design and focuses on brand-aligned business strategy.
Steps to Brand Supremacy
Step 1) Brand Strategy
How can your business win? Brands that win are outcome-focused, not service focused. They know it’s about the experience, the confidence engendered and the hassle avoided. Coke understands that nobody ever wanted a cola. They wanted an exciting cold drink that made them feel like a part of a worldwide tribe of people just like them.
Without Coca-Cola’s ad budget, how do you establish your credentials and influence your target audience? That’s the role of brand strategy; through this process, clarity on purpose, positioning, proposition and your brand promise are realised and integrated into your operations, people and communications. A rebranding strategy that does not take account of the strategic context for brand transformation for your business, will not deliver the full benefits your business deserves.
Step 2) Brand Identity
Brand identity is all the visual, verbal design and cues of your brand and should match your overall brand personality. Many rebranding strategies stop at this level but we aim to go beyond the visual and match these cues not just to the brand personality but also to your brand imperatives; things like purpose, positioning, position and promise), and be designed to make the right impact. This is how you build out a rebranding strategy with stamina.
Step 3) Capability and CX (Customer Experience) Alignment
Holistic integration of brand strategy into your operations and processes can create a customer experience that customers appreciate and don’t want to be without. That comes from building the capability to match your brand’s promise.
It’s important to grasp that your customer’s experience is a rolling river, from when they become aware of you, to when you have fulfilled an order to when they recommend you or find out you have other services they need because you anticipated their needs to when you ask for reviews they are happy to give or respond to a query or complaint they wish they didn’t need to when they read news of what you or your employees are up to, doing things that interest or matter to them. It matters.
Step 4) Change
Understanding what needs to change to plug the gaps between your vision and your as-is business model with its attendant challenges and constraints, is a key part of building a brand or rebranding. Change is central to successful and sustainable rebranding and managing this process and your organisation’s readiness for it is vital.
Step 5) Communications
Once your brand personality is clear, your voice and language can be evolved to meet prospective client expectations and appeal to their emotions, and this comes from messaging that is concerted and consistent across all channels for employees, partners, and clients alike.
Step 6) People and Culture
As first-line advocates of your business, and defenders of the faith of your business, your employees are so precious. It’s critical that they buy into the principles of the business and that they are empowered to embody your brand ideas and ways of working in their conduct and performance. The culture of your business must enable the attitudinal positions your business expects to see through your employees. Building and executing a rebranding strategy in the context of brand transformation is a perfect opportunity to review how well your processes facilitate innovation and adoption of change as some profound changes to underlying processes and systems may be required.
Step 7) Digital Transformation, Marketing, Presence and Web
Digital – the word on everyone’s lips with a plethora of applications, fields and opportunities.
Rebranding your business strategically, not just visually, is the perfect time to start to understand your customers, their needs and habits as well as the outstanding gaps in your business’s capability. Being the aspirational brand your business aims to be will fall short without significant and extensive digital capabilities and a presence that is built and bolstered through them, for example, engagement and the ability for your clients to access some of your services through your digital infrastructure.
Step 8) Constantly and iteratively align brand imperatives to business objectives
Once deficits are identified, it is important that all changes undertaken are done with a view to mapping strategic objectives, delivery methods and the brand’s aspirations and objectives.