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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

Rushing your rebrand is risky business

Brand is where the secret power lies.

Rushing your rebrand is risky business
[Photo Credits: Sushiman /Adobe Stock]

Branding/rebranding is executed for a very specific reason, and it’s often critical to an organization’s foundation. Shifting positions in the market, redefining why an organization exists, and clarifying its services are just a few. These are pivotal moments in the life cycle of a business that result in the need to define or redefine its brand. Rushing through these important inflection points is more than risky—it’s bad business.

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BUT DO I JUST NEED A NEW DESIGN?

Rebranding is much larger than a simple design exercise. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking a rebrand is a logo reveal, but a new logo will never serve as the answer to the larger needs mentioned above. Design is simply one small portion of the larger recipe in a rebrand. And let’s not forget the amount of time needed in research and strategy to inform that design. That same strategy work also informs the communications work, resulting in how the brand speaks. Even with just these phases of the project, it’s easy to see why a well-thought-out, strategically-backed rebrand takes more than a few weeks.

WHAT ELSE NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE TIMELINE?

If you want to go further and get more granular than the three large phases mentioned above, you will likely need to account for a new photography style, illustration style, pattern work, etc. We call this the visual language. Finding a new visual language is one thing, but creating all the assets you’ll need across your entire brand is another. During the communication phase, you will define the brand’s voice; following that comes all the actual writing—the new messaging in the form of the new voice. See the calendar filling up yet? Finally, all of this needs to be reflected on your website, which requires site mapping, content planning, wireframing, designing, writing, and content creation, just to name a few. This doesn’t even account for all the collaboration between you and the branding agency via weekly meetings, feedback, review, iteration…you get the point.

DO I ACTUALLY NEED ALL THOSE ELEMENTS?

We’d argue that these elements are core ingredients to a successful brand, and shopping a la carte or trimming to save time and money will likely cost more money in the long run. Not simply because you will have to double back and give them more attention later, but because you’ll need to account for opportunity cost: all those customers missed by not pushing the brand to its full potential.

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IS IT ALL WORTH IT IN THE END?

With the help of companies like Apple, “brand” has become a popular topic. Organizations are continuing to realize that their brand is where the secret power lies, and sometimes it’s all that separates products and services from the competition. Spending the appropriate amount of resources (time, in this example) on their brand/rebrand is a strong strategic move. Spend the time and do it right. Successful brands rely on the strength of their foundation. That foundation should be built to serve them well for decades, or even centuries if done well.


CEO/Co-Founder at Focus Lab, a brand agency helping the world’s fastest-growing B2B brands lead and inspire.
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