Your logo is outdated, print materials look tired. And your website needs a major overhaul.
But trepidation aside, you know that things need to change.
Here are seven tips to consider before embarking on organizational rebranding:
Your logo: the apex of your organization’s image. It is by far the most integral component to beginning the rebranding process—it all starts here. For now, put aside thoughts of annual reports, newsletters, and websites. The logo comes first.
Focus on gathering feedback of your current brand from an array of external sources (This does not mean seeking the advice of friends and family). Surveys and focus groups are the best way to go. Results of this environmental scan will be invaluable in helping guide your decision-making later on.
The next step is to gain the trust and buy-in from your staff, Board Directors and other key stakeholders. It’s not about presenting the final product, or logo mock-ups, at this stage—it’s about fostering enthusiasm for change. Everyone should be on-board and excited by the possibilities ahead.
It’s imperative that you find the right branding agency for your organization, one that you feel comfortable working with. Don’t rush this decision, but take time to meet with a few. Once you’ve landed on the right fit, make your intentions clear from the get-go in terms of expectation; also be sure to understand the agency’s process, and how this will lead to the best result. Remember, they may be the experts in design, but you are the experts of your organization. A good agency will listen carefully, and lead you through the process.
Logo development can be quick and dirty, or tempered and process oriented. We would advise the latter. Allow time for research, logo development, and then rollout on all your materials. This could take time. But it’s well worth it.
All too often, it’s difficult for decision-makers to put their own likes and dislikes aside. You may not be partial to the color blue, but this could be exactly the choice that speaks to your target audience. The same is true for a wide array of choices you will have to make during logo development: from fonts to taglines. Trust in the process.
If there is something about the process that makes you uneasy, talk to the branding agency—your relationship with them should be a two-way dialogue. In the final stages, it’s up to the agency to present the reasoning behind the new design; but again, despite the impending deadline, if you have doubt, express it. You will kick yourself later if you don’t.
There are always a lot of moving parts to logo development, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. If the process works, then your new brand will revitalize and inform other communications vehicles. It will also bring about a renewed pride and strength of purpose to your organization in moving forward.
—Steven Hobé is Communications Strategist & CEO at HOBÉ+HOSOKAWA INC., a marketing and communications firm in Toronto, Canada.
[Image: Flickr user Kyle Van Horn]