I've spent the last few months working with a client close to my heart because I led their global rebrand in 2014 - World Animal Protection.
3 years on, I'm working with them to review, refine and reinvigorate the brand. It's a rare opportunity for any agency or consultancy to go back after a rebrand and work with the organisation to look at the brand's future. And it's a good thing for any brand strategy.
There's a difference between going back and going backwards.
Going back to the brand strategy has been about reviewing how it's working in practice, now that we have 3 years of data. It's meant revisiting the concepts behind the brand to understand why they're important - especially for people who were not in the organisation at the time of the rebrand. And going back to the brand is an opportunity to reinvigorate the enthusiasm and passion for the organisation's purpose, reminding people why they choose to work for and support the organisation.
So if you are planning to revisit or return to your brand strategy, how do you make sure that it doesn't take you backwards or feel like you didn't get it right last time?
Here are 3 tips:
Respect the work that was done previously.
Don't act like it didn't happen, undermine what went before or act as if you're starting from a blank slate. Because there will be things that are working and if you don't understand what these are, you will repeat past mistakes and alienate people who were there the first time around. Neither is necessary or helpful.
Recognise what's changed - inside and outside your organisation.
As above, do acknowledge the history. But equally, you need to recognise what's happened ever since. There will be things that were impossible first time around, that are now achievable. Whether it's technology, culture, external environment or resources, make sure you understand what's moved so you can make the most of the opportunity. Research can really help.
Embrace the new opportunity
If you were there the first time, it's not the time to get defensive. Instead, seek to bring in new input and perspectives. Gain insight from people who were not in the organisation when your brand strategy was developed. Ask them what they think the brand stands for and actively listen to their response. Their views will help you understand what's not working and help you shape the future opportunity. And that's exciting.
So I recommend revisiting your brand strategy, especially if it's been a while. In addition to yearly audits to check what's working, 3 years is a good amount of time for a strategy review. It doesn't mean you'll change direction. But that you understand how to do more of what you do best.