Getting buy-in on your new brand from your board of directors.

Risks and success factors for stakeholder buy-in on your rebrand or brand refresh.

02 Feb 2016

Do you think your organization is ready for a rebrand – or a brand refresh? Think twice before striking up the conversation with your leadership or board. Here are some risks to keep in mind, but more importantly, the five steps to embarking on a successful rebrand.

Three risk factors

When it comes to branding, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Know what you’re getting into before you commit.

1. Hidden stakeholders and decision makers.

While the aim is to identify all the necessary stakeholders and decision makers up front, there is the potential, especially with large organizations, or those in the midst of change, that new team members will rear their heads. How you handle it will depend on the situation. You risk inevitable set-backs when new stakeholders and decision makers creep in with new ideas or opinions. This usually requires stepping back and taking another look at the previous steps – which in turn affects the scope of work, timeline and budget.

What you can do to mitigate new opinions or ideas risking the success of your project is to hold a meeting with the entire (or new) stakeholder team and review the present status of the project and the history of past decisions made. The goal of the meeting would be to bring the new team member up to speed and get them on board.

2. Unclear expectations.

Is everyone in agreement on the goals and deliverables? Know what’s sacred – sometimes it’s the logo mark, other times it’s the color palette. Make sure everyone is clear on what is expected. Is the timeline realistic or aggressive? Are there concerns over budget? Unsure whether or not you should rebrand, refresh or relax? Read more here.

Make sure to clearly outline specifics and potential risks in your brief. Get a consensus on the client and agency side of a realistic timeline and team member commitments. Often times, it’s a matter of when everyone can be in the room to discuss and decide on key project milestones. Scheduling these out on everyone’s calendars is helpful. So is adding buffer time in between meetings.

Sometimes, all you need is to update an existing mark: it helps keep familiarity and equity in the mark, but you have an opportunity to clean it up to be more contemporary, legible and/or easy to reproduce on a variety of media. And, you can roll it out over time rather than rip and replace everywhere, which can save time and money while you get through your existing printed materials.

3. Lack of process.

It’s critical to assign a project manager on both the agency and client side. The project managers’ job is to collectively ensure that the project is moving forward on time, on budget and delivering on the objectives. One of their responsibilities is to address unexpected set-backs that can pop up. Classifying these as low, medium or high priority will help project managers devote time based on the importance and resolve issues in an organized, thoughtful way.


Five key success factors in getting buy-in

It’s important that you partner with a creative agency that not only has strategy and design chops but a team that can build consensus and cohesion among stakeholders with differing points of view. The result will be a quality brand for your organization that helps break through, tell your story and inspire action.

1. Identify key stakeholders and final decision makers up front and create well-defined roles for each in the process. This can sometimes include all or just select members of your board.

2. Clearly define and agree upon scope of work, timeline and budget. It’s critical that the stakeholder and decision maker team agree on these up front, and have a healthy discussion about what’s realistic and what may need to be amended.

3. Agree on the process and stick to it. It’s important to get buy-in on the process from those involved.

4. Prepare to mitigate any potential issues/risks. Typically, these fall into one of the four foundations to any successful project: scope, timeline, budget and stakeholder/decision maker team.

5. Give the team options to choose from. Who doesn’t like options? It allows the team to compare, contrast and converse. But most importantly, these need to map back to the agreed upon objectives and creative brief.


The promise of a successful consensus-building process:

1. Better harmony because all perspectives are taken into account.
2. Stronger solutions because all concerns have been addressed.
3. Greater buy-in and participation in implementation.


Take the next step by downloading our free checklist, Inconsistency is a brand's biggest adversary. Download now >

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Tags: financial services marketing, healthcare marketing, nonprofit marketing, Branding, tech marketing