Getting Buy-In for Your Revitalized Brand

By Jeanne Frazer, President, vitalink

Developing a brand for a new concept can be much easier than creating a revitalized brand for an existing product, service, or organization. When you have an existing brand – even a brand no one loves – you usually have large numbers of stakeholders who all have opinions about what the brand should be! Getting the majority of stakeholders on board with the new concept can be a challenge.

Let’s admit up front the chance of everyone agreeing on the exact same thing is somewhere in the neighborhood of zero. Most people do not like change, and it can take them some time to warm up to the new brand. That said, there are ways you can engage with stakeholders and increase buy-in for the revitalized brand.

The brand revitalization process

Here are some ways you can improve your odds of getting buy-in for your updated brand:

  • Identify your stakeholders. Who is your audience? If you are rebranding a university, for example, consider current and prospective students, alumni, faculty and staff, influencers (parents, clergy, guidance counselors), legislators, and the community. For a city or town, look to residents, business owners, visitors, transient workers, city/town team members, and elected officials.
  • Determine how to best reach all audience groups. If you have an email list, you may assume that will be sufficient. It may not be inclusive and fully representative of your stakeholders. 
  • Engage your stakeholders. This might be done through online (or print) surveys, focus groups, public forums, or other means. Do you need to offer the survey or focus groups in multiple languages? Hold sessions outside of normal business hours? Make sure you ask relevant questions so you can analyze the response data by stakeholder group.
  • Allow enough time for the process. We have found many people do not leave sufficient time to conduct all the research needed. This is especially true when surveys must be mailed out or notices published in print.
  • Go beyond just showing the logo by itself. Consider providing examples of the logo in use on a mocked-up brochure or flyer, digital ad, business card, or a web page. For many people, seeing the logo “in action” can be the difference between being unsure or loving it.
  • Have a plan to deal with haters. No matter what you do, there will be at least a few people who like the old logo better. They may question why money was spent to revitalize the brand when the old one “was perfectly good.” Put together talking points for everyone on your team that explains the “why” behind the change and (high level) the process you went through collecting detailed research, and the results from the stakeholder vote. They may not like it, but should accept the change if you can prove you’ve done your homework and there is a need.

Why not just leave the brand alone?

Brands get tired, and they often need to be refreshed (and sometimes totally reimagined) to stay current and competitive. The need for a change can result from external changes (new technology, marketing channels, or audience fatigue) or internal shifts (product changes, new ownership, or a new mission/vision for the company). When it’s time to revitalize or reimagine your brand, take the time to do it right. Engage your stakeholders and do your research. You’ll be glad you did.