Marketing

Let’s call it “realigning” your brand

Engel Schmidl /

A friend took their life in their hands at the weekend and bravely forwarded me an article on “rebranding” (or, as I call it, the word that should never be used) from Fast Company.

Anyone who regularly reads this blog will know my dislike of that particular word, but my friend is a smart cookie who knows me well, so she added a caption to the link that said, “Replace ‘rebrand’ with ‘realign your brand’ and it’s a good read…”.

Okay, I thought, if it’s too “brand as usual” I can always flip tabs. Colour me pleasantly surprised to find an article that actually talks about realigning your brand in a way that avoids the hype and offers some useful tips.

Of course I’d prefer if they didn’t use “the word that should never be used”. And if they just called values “values”, because the addition of “brand” to that word adds exactly zero, because your core values are your “brand” values – or they should be. But overall they touch on quite a few key issues that I see and hear about when people tell me their stories.

Such as:

  • figure out your purpose and your values;
  • get a broad range of perspectives outside the marketing department;
  • keep working until you have something that is easy to understand and uses human language not jargon;
  • take the brand out to the marketplace once you understand what it is, not the other way around;
  • measure what you are doing; and, most importantly,
  • make sure you can keep the promises you are making.

In addition I would add some things to their list that would take this beyond what most people think of as brand and help make sure it would strengthen the organisation, not undermine it.

Just for starters:

  • Don’t treat it like an event; aligning your brand is an ongoing process that requires constant diligence across everything the organisation does not just marketing.
  • Purpose and values are not “brand” entities, they are organisation entities that the brand emerges from – getting that hierarchy right is critical.
  • Unless what you do and how you do it also change, no matter how well any realignment or rebuilding of your “Brand” is handled, embraced and adhered to, it will still sit on the surface.

So, take my friend’s advice, replace “rebrand” with “realign your brand” when you read it, look over the 13 signs they list and see how many you hit or miss.

Michel is an independent brand advocate dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at michelhogan.com. You can follow Michel on Twitter: @michelhogan.

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