3 Reasons Why Internal Rebrands Fail

Companies tend to consider a rebrand when they realise that their marketplace has changed, or they’ve changed, or both – in other words, when they really need to. Faced with this urgent challenge it’s not uncommon for a company to want to carry out a rebrand internally, after all, who knows the brand better? This may seem like a cost-effective solution, but will it add real value to your brand while addressing the underlying business needs?

This article explores the 3 main reasons in-house rebrands fail and why a strategic branding agency can save time, reduce risk dramatically, and improve outcomes.

It can be hard for an organisation to challenge its own thinking.

As human beings, it is impossible to see ourselves from another person’s viewpoint. Trying to see our organisation from an external perspective is equally hard. Organisations see their entire world, including their people, customers, partners and competitors, through a particular lens framed by their experience and strong beliefs. These preconceptions frequently result in making narrow and limited decisions that tend to perpetuate the status quo.

The support of an expert brand agency can help you understand how others see you, harnessing the views, experiences and expectations of your employees, customers and partners to catalyse positive change. Managing Director, Rebecca Battman explains: “An external agency is a facilitator; we can hold up a mirror to an organisation and help you understand yourself better. You want somebody who can focus in on your strengths, building upon these to sharpen the focus of the whole organisation. Equally as important, you want someone who can understand your weaknesses and identify missed opportunities that you might not have fully appreciated”.

Rebecca further explains, “When we go and talk to individuals who have a strong relationship with the organisation, they will tell us honestly what they think. They would never share this with the organisation directly, as they would be concerned it would get back to key individuals and be taken as criticism. The confidentiality of speaking with an independent, external agency results in more honest, candid answers. We can feed these perspectives back in a way that enables senior decision-makers to be able to hear, and most importantly, act on the insights”.

Politics can often get in the way of a rebrand and prevent an honest and open debate.

Part of our role as an external agency is to remove internal politics from the process. We don’t start with a preconceived notion of the outcome; each stage informs the next and we allow the process to reveal the end result.

rbl’s Operations Director and Strategic Branding Consultant, Andrew Milton, builds on this point, “You always have egos in organisations and there is a hierarchy. As an external agency, it is not a case of us dominating with the belief our view is more important than yours. Through collaborative consultation we listen carefully to ALL views, then we ask open questions to encourage healthy debate. The solution to your brand challenge invariably lives within. Our role is to identify the core strategy and essential spirit that shapes the organisation and express this in a way that feels truly authentic because we have taken account of many different opinions”.

Stop, start, stop, start.

It is easy to underestimate how time-consuming and complex a rebrand can be. An organisation will initiate an in-house rebrand, then become busy with other pressing priorities, resulting in a “stop, start” cycle. Repeatedly stopping and starting a rebrand can result in an inconsistent and confusing overall message of what the organisation is trying to achieve, which is counterproductive. Is it strategically important or not?

Working with an external agency means there is a continuous rebrand ‘engine’ humming in the background. The responsibility for managing the day-to-day process is handed over and regular Steering Group meetings keep key decision makers informed but not over-involved. Our Strategic Brand Planning Process, proven in more than 200 different client engagements, provides the framework to successfully navigate every stage and step of the journey.

Rebranding is just that – a journey. It should be an exciting, collaborative process that achieves brilliant outcomes. At rbl, we find the final creative expression of the revitalised brand is often a revelation to everybody involved. Rebecca explains “That’s what is lovely. We can help a client achieve a new way of expressing their shared purpose that is at once both surprising and entirely relatable. We can re-energise the whole organisation with a successful rebrand that results from true creative collaboration”.

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