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The Association Rebranding Process: Is it time for a make-over?

Why do we need a Re-brand? Is it essential? What does it achieve?

Well, there may be different reasons for different organisations. Perhaps there is a new person at the helm who wants to put their stamp on things or maybe the brand is becoming ineffective in this digital age and needs to re-engage with it’s members and customers.  With some associations being centuries old, re-branding is a necessity to keep with the times. 

Periodically it is good practice to evaluate the branding and make a shift if necessary. Often the scope and influence of an organisation will change from the initial set up, and original selling points may no longer be relevant to new markets.

As Gwyn Donohue, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at PIJAC points out: 

“it’s at this point you have to consider whether you want a branding refresh or a branding re-boot. Look at it this way, a refresh is simply a new coat of paint, whereas a re-boot is a total re-modelling project.”

So, how long does a total remodel of a brand take? Rob Helsby, Lead Designer at Cantarus take us through the process:

“Lead time for a re-brand depends on what the organisation needs. A light touch refresh can take up to two-to-three months. A transformational re-brand however will undoubtedly include numerous meetings and workshops along with research and engagement with customers and members. It’s essentially a ‘brand health check’, where we take stock of where we are, we want to get to and what are the steps we need to take to get there. This is an in-depth process, so we need to be prepared for potentially a one-to-two-year period to introduce a full and effective re-brand”.

Clearly this sort of project needs detailed planning in advance and should really form part of a strategic plan. 

During your research and planning stage it’s essential to source the right sort of partners, and allowing them a creative brief is integral to a successful outcome. Ambiguity from board members can lead to disappointment and ineffective branding.

With this in mind, it’s important to keep the team as ‘lean’ as possible but ensure that key stakeholders are engaged during the process with ongoing continuous discussions and a clear project plan for people to follow. Checkpoints for feedback at regular intervals also maintains engagement and allowing people to know what to expect, when to expect it and how it will be delivered is key to successful and productive communications. 

After all, no one wants to get to the point of launch and find there is an objection to an element of the new brand from someone who should have been consulted!

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