Rebranding Made Easy as Pie!

Of course the title of this post is ridiculous.

Rebranding is never easy. It involves a great deal of planning and strategy, a whole lot of hard work and some fantastic collaboration on a million different levels..

But, having gone through a major brand refresh and several small rebrandings, I have come up with these tips for, at the very least, making it just a little easier.

Define Objectives

The first step is defining drivers and key objectives. That means answering questions like, is this a brand refresh or a brand transformation?

Once you understand your drivers, you can focus more clearly on the objectives and deliverables.

For example, a transformation may included a new company name, logo, positioning, messaging and brand identity, whereas a refresh builds on earlier brand progress. That’s not to say that a refresh is easier. In nearly every case, a refresh is going to have a whole series of challenges built in that cannot simply be ignored and likely includes the creation of an entire brand system and architecture. Many times a refresh is needed because a company has not previously established a systematic approach to brand identity, architecture, or brand management. In that case, a color palette, graphic style,  naming convention and brand personality will need to be either created or changed.

Knowing what you need to accomplish, and clearly establishing that as a focus, will save you a lot of headaches during the next steps and the final implementation.

Determine Approach and Scope

The second key principle is agreeing on how to approach your objectives. What is the scope?  Over what time and at what cost?  Who will make decisions besides the CMO, Vice President or Marketing Director (depending on company organization)?

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What is Marketing?

Seth Godin, the marketing genius behind bestsellers like Purple CowTribes and Linchpin, was asked to define marketing on Copyblogger Radio’s Internet Marketing for Smart People (podcast available on iTunes).

His response was, “the easy answer is that marketing is not advertising.”

Godin then went on to define marketing as: “the art of telling a story that resonates with your audience and spreads.” And, he added, “that story better be true, which means that, implicit in marketing is making something for which or about which you could tell a story that resonates.”

I really like that definition. It goes completely hand in hand with what Jay Baer has described on his blog, Convince & Convert, as YOUtility marketing. It is the act or process of becoming more than just a purveyor, but rather a valuable resource. “Sell something,” Baer explains, “and you make a customer. Help someone, and you make a customer for life.”

This is especially insightful in a world where the balance of marketing power has swung dramatically in favor of the customer. People, as consumers, are not only more connected and savvy then they ever were before, but have reduced attention spans as they are pitched, cajoled and bombarded by millions of messages across billions of mediums simultaneously.

Therefore, Godin emphasizes, marketing should be brought in even before you have your product, service or idea. The hard part of building a business in this modern age isn’t the implementation (you can literally source anything from China in no time at all), it’s creating the the story that people will choose to listen to. And, as such, the purest form of marketing starts from scratch, where you spend your time designing products or services that don’t need advertising.

The art of telling a story that resonates with your audience and spreads — Nothing could more sufficiently describe the process around marketing and the methods for connecting and communicating with existing or potential customers.

Branding a Lifestyle of Engagement

Christopher Erb, VP of Brand Marketing for EA SPORTS, is responsible for driving strategy and marketing for the EA SPORTS brand and oversees a cross-functional team that focuses on consumer marketing, licensing, brand identity, and brand partnerships.

Speaking here at TEDxCincy, he explains the way EA SPORTS markets to their consumers by elevating video game releases to be bigger than highly anticipated film premieres. He pioneered applying the theatrical model of partnership and collaboration to video games which is now standard protocol within the industry.

It’s a strategy of engaging the consumer and giving them the power or choice and ownership. To be completely effective, it requires the proper deployment of social interaction in a way that creates a sense of collaboration. The personalization of a product or service, and even the marketing of these goods, breeds passion (and, ultimately, loyalty).

Anyway, enough of my summarizing and interpreting. Watch for yourself and see what you think.