Tick, tock! What’s the optimal timing for a rebrand?
How long should rebranding take? When you’re changing any of the elements in your brand, it’s wiser to do it slowly. Nine times out of ten, involving the right people and feeling confident you’re making the right decisions trumps the benefits of rushing. After all, you don’t want to rebrand every three years or every five years; this work should last as long as possible—ideally 10, 15, 20 years. Maybe even indefinitely.
Rebranding itself is actually not the long part of a rebranding process. If you set your organization up correctly, rebranding can take as few as three months—maybe even fewer if you do it down-and-dirty—and as much as nine months.
But how do you plan ahead, when there are so many moving parts involved? Here’s a very light framework to jump-start your planning:
Year One: Revisiting your strategic plan (formally or informally) is often the best place to start if your organization hasn’t done it in three or more years. If your approach is fairly light or informal, it should take a few months. If you’re a larger organization where a working group and a complex set of variables is often a “given,” this process can take as much as a year to 18 months to complete. As part of your strategic planning, establish a communications strategy that emerges from your organizational goals.
You might also conduct internal stakeholder conversations or external market research to understand how you’re currently perceived. This is typically a two- to four-month long process.
Then go through the three- to nine-month task of rebranding, updating your visual identity and your messaging platform.
Year Two: Update your website, social media, templates, and launch your new brand. Let that new brand come to life in those long shelf-life materials you use to communicate with your clients, donors, peers, and other core audiences.
Launching can take some time. The process of updating your website, creating new print materials, and cultivating a new way of communicating online can often take more time than the rebrand itself. Plan for all of the moving parts by drafting a “roll out plan” in advance so you can manage it all proactively.
Year Three: Integrate the brand into your campaigns and other materials. Let the brand sink in, and monitor it. How are you perceived? Is it shifting your culture? Don’t just talk the talk; walk the walk.