Simon Ward discusses the many reasons a company might rebrand, some admirable, some less so.
The dreaded rebrand
For instance, a company’s reputation may have become tarnished through their own activity, and they look to rebranding as a way of projecting a fresher face to their customers and investors.
Sometimes companies go through a rebrand without any attempt to tackle deeper issues, in the hope that a slap of paint will solve their woes.
In some instances, it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that someone in the organisation is bored with its current image and wants to make a mark by changing the company logo from a square to a circle.
It’s no wonder rebranding can come with a stigma attached. There are always those who will whisper: if it ain’t broken, why would they fix it?
The brand refresh
But there are also laudable reasons for re-evaluating your brand. Markets evolve rapidly, channels expand and change. Successful companies grow, become too big for their original skin and must cast off a previously beneficial cocoon to emerge a butterfly.
At ITG, we haven’t gone through anything so radical as a rebrand, but we have grown rapidly in the past six years and gone from a handful of like-minded individuals to over 360 employees, working in diverse areas, from digital to artworking studio, from software developers to account teams.
We have expanded our services, gained numerous new accounts. The opportunity for the senior management team to speak to everyone in the business individually is not what it once was.
When you grow rapidly, there is a danger of people becoming siloed, disconnected from your core ethos. We therefore judged the time was ripe for a full assessment of ITG. Take stock, as it were: does everyone in the company fully understand our ethos, what we’re trying to achieve? Does the face we project – our website, our communications – reflect the company we have become?
Outsourcing or insourcing
To answer this, we engaged external agencies to speak to our clients and conduct an extensive staff consultation, so we could receive an impartial understanding of how we are perceived and where we sit in the market.
It might appear ironic that a company such as ITG, which has carried out discoveries of this kind for numerous clients, should engage the services of external agencies. But no matter how clear your focus as a C-suite on your values and business drivers, you should never mark your own homework. It is always prudent to seek the services of someone outside the business, who can look at your offering with clear mind and fresh eyes.
This doesn’t mean we didn’t involve our own employees. Far from it. There were numerous discussions both internally and between internal staff and external agencies. We invited staff to consider the big questions: who are we? What do we do? Why should companies use our services? Is there anywhere we can do better?
Revisiting the ITG website
In truth, we were pleased to discover that external perception pretty closely matched our internal perspective: no need to change the shape of our logo, after all. But certain interesting elements did come to light.
Looking at the Inspired Thinking Group (ITG) website and our own marketing communications, we discovered that what was perfectly suited to what we used to be was starting to be left behind by what we were rapidly becoming.
We set about creating a new website, based on the answers to the big questions we had considered at length. We addressed other areas of our comms, some of which were merely tweaks to ensure everything we did accurately reflected who we are.
With the new website launched and our refresh complete, I’ve had more time to consider how useful the exercise was. My conclusion? The repositioning enhancements were well worth the effort.
However, even more significant was involving others in the organisation in strategically thinking about what we do. Every job gives the holder a unique insight into their specific area, and their feedback is invaluable. But more importantly, by engaging people across the company, it encourages everyone to take greater ownership of the brand and culture they help to create: these thing are as much theirs as yours.
And that’s an outcome I’d recommend to everyone.
Until next time…
About Simon Ward
Simon Ward ITG – Simon is the founder and CEO of pioneering technology-led marketing company, Inspired Thinking Group (ITG). ITG delivers best-in-class marketing software, procurement and studio services to dozens of blue-chip clients, including Audi, M&S, KFC, PUMA and Heineken.
Simon Ward SP Group – Prior to ITG, Simon founded SP Digital in 1998, and in 1999 bought SP Print to form SP Group, creating innovative marketing and point of sale displays for some of the world’s best-known retailers, including M&S, Sainsbury’s, Holland & Barrett and Calvin Klein