At MBM Marketing, we talk a lot about “The Rebranding Myth”—the notion that a stagnant  company can be magically renewed with brand aesthetics. A new logo, web site and slogan are  all you need, right? Rarely is that the case. 

Aesthetics have their place, but our Smart Branding Process™ begins by focusing on thorough investigation and solid data. The process can reveal gaps in an organization that need to be repaired, or hidden strengths that can be capitalized on for greater sales and profitability. Sometimes leaders, managers and line staff aren’t aligned on the real meaning of the brand and its promises. Internal issues like that won’t be solved by slapping on a fresh coat of paint.

For example, we completed a brand evaluation project last year that included far-reaching strategic recommendations, all of which could be accomplished with the existing brand. No, we weren’t paid for doing nothing. Our data gathering and conclusions were so refined and thorough that the client fully understood what they needed to do, and embraced the internal strategic steps we recommended. And we put them a full year ahead of their strategic plan.

The organization consisted of six large groups of cohorts, all of whom were invited to share their thoughts on the branding of the organization. The Smart Branding Process begins at the top, where leaders are interviewed individually to gather their thoughts and opinions. 

We followed up with interviews and very similar questions with the other five groups. Since we couldn’t speak to everyone individually, we sent electronic surveys to everyone who hadn’t been interviewed—so every voice was heard in person or by survey.

As we pored over the resulting data, one thing was abundantly clear—there was nearly universal loyalty and even affection for the organization itself. That’s a nice place to start. 

A very vocal (and vastly outnumbered) portion of one group of cohorts made it clear they disliked the current brand and wanted a new direction. That aside, the vast majority of interview and survey responses clearly pointed to internal changes that were needed, none of which required changing the brand. But the brand had been largely ignored, and needed attention like this …

  • Reallyowning the brand and slogan—embracing the brand and pointing to it consistently from every level of the organization.
  • Using the slogan much more visibly and especially purposefully.  
  • Making it a human, living thing. Bringing it to life with stories about the product.
  • Developing a much more robust presence on social media (an important medium for prospects) with video and human interest stories.

The steps for moving forward were clear and relatively easy. Of course, projects can point to much bigger challenges than this one did. In the case above, there was remarkable alignment on the meaning of the brand from the top to the bottom of the organization. 

But when we find serious misalignment and disagreement on what the brand promises, our strategic recommendations can point to much harder work ahead. But those recommendations will help the client solve their internal problems, and realign the brand so it’s embraced at all levels of the organization.