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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rebranding Pitfalls to Avoid

Your brand isn't running on all cylinders. There are indicators that you're leaving reputation, relationships and business behind. So you've made the decision to re-brand. Some organizations have the skills, discipline and stamina to execute a strategically and tactically brilliant, organization-changing result. Others, while good intentioned, leave something [if not a lot] behind.

Here are common common pitfalls to aviod:

a. Ready, Fire, Aim. The significant time and expense of re-branding warrants tangible returns. Isolate and agree upfront to the most important business and brand issue(s) that you'll address through the effort.

b. Not Realizing What's On The Table. As your brand encompasses all the characteristics, both tangible and intangible, that surround your offerings, realize that everything your organization says and does makes up the brand experience. So everything, as it should be, is up for evaluation and refinement.

c. Going It Alone. Just as you wouldn't diagnose your own physical ailments, the objectivity and expertise of an external consultant is critical to evaluating, creating and credibly selling internally to your leadership and teams.

d. Not Having Key Influencers and Decision-Makers On Board. Do not undertake this effort until these important allies are on board. Understand their opinions and expectations. And keep them appraised along the way.

e. Lack of Demonstrated Senior Leadership Commitment. All the time and expense of this endeavor will never be taken seriously, and will certainly never stick, unless leadership has explicitly communicated [and is ready to demonstrate] their commitment.

f. Inward Perspective. Your external audiences are the arbiters of your success, so understand how they view the organization. Contrast and reconcile these perspectives against your own to determine the gaps that need to be filled to realize your objectives.

g. Disregarding Your Legacy. While you can't be led by the past, you don't cast aside those equities that you've worked so hard to create. Don't disregard what's working, because these are the building blocks for enhancing your relevancy.

h. Bypassing Insiders. Your employees will make or break the initiative. They need to understand and believe in the program and the desired outcome. And most important, they need to be emotionally engaged.

i. Branding As A One-Time Event. As James Gandolfini would say "fuggedaboudit." Because branding is akin to a marathon, not a sprint to the finish line. It will take longer, and cost more, than you imagined.

j. Neglecting To Patrol And Control The Airwaves. Monitor and share in the web-based conversations about your organization. Participate in the blogisphere. Help yourself control (at least as much as you can) your own destiny.

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