February Program Recap: Navigating a Rebrand: Before and After

To rebrand, or not to rebrand: that was the question at the SMPS Research Triangle February program. Centered around S&ME’s very own rebrand, their marketing / business development team shared the lessons learned throughout the process. Led by S&ME’s Marketing Director Kathleen Chambers, Senior Graphic Designer Kelley Simons, and Senior Business Developer Kellie Ford, the team offered helpful strategies for rebranding.

In the A/E/C industry, strong branding is more and more important. With increased competition and an active market, it is critical for a firm to differentiate itself. A brand goes beyond the logo; it is the totality of how your audience sees, experiences, and talks about your firm.

When do you need to rebrand? The S&ME team got into the meat of why a company would need to rebrand. To necessitate a rebrand, they recommended meeting some of the criteria below:

  • Company growth
  • Merger, acquisition, or change in leadership
  • Change in strategic direction of company
  • Brand identity is struggling

Once your company decides to rebrand, it is time to create in internal team to drive the rebrand process. Does the firm need to change the company name, logo, or website? The team will come together to collaboratively decide major goals.

Having a diverse team with a mix of internal personnel is necessary to a successful rebrand. S&ME recommended organizing a small team of both senior leadership and marketing as well as technical staff. Before the process begins, it is necessary for the team to set major goals and articulate the mission statement for the rebrand. This mission statement will drive the process!

A critical step to rebranding is to hire a consultant. When looking for a consultant to assist with the rebrand process, S&ME recommends selecting a firm with A/E/C experience as they will better understand the goals and needs of your firm within a unique industry. It is important to educate the consultant on your company’s culture and set a clear scope and milestone schedule.

Benchmarking and researching your company is crucial in brand self-discovery. S&ME’s consultant conducted surveys of clients, prospects, and internal staff. Understanding where you stand among your competition and how your clients perceive you vs. how you want to be perceived well help guide the rebrand.

Next is the fun part… the visuals. When creating and selecting a new logo, S&ME gives three clear guidelines: your logo should differentiate, be memorable, and be identifiable. It is important to have buy-in from the internal team and to reference your mission statement.

After the consultant wraps up their process, the internal team is now ramping up for the implementation of the rebrand! With a new logo and brand comes refreshed collateral and it is important to remember every last detail. Business cards, social media, RFP templates, truck signage, external signage, and the company website are all elements that should be updated. Create a plan with milestone dates to update all collateral.

During the transition time before the rebrand has been rolled out, it is important to communicate with staff the upcoming changes to inform and build enthusiasm. S&ME held internal training on the new messaging and brand changes, even offering elevator speech training on how to discuss the updated brand.

When bringing the new brand to external clients, stay positive and protect the brand and reputation. S&ME used their rebrand as a business development tool to reconnect with clients and meet new prospects.

Kellie Ford reminded us to celebrate the launch after all the hard work has been done! A rebrand can be a tedious, constantly evolving, and ongoing process, but it is important to celebrate your firm’s success.

– Contributed by Katie Crawford, Marketing Coordinator, Choate Construction Company

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