When embarking on a rebrand, your very first step is developing a vision of the future. Kendra Rogers of psLondon on how to navigate a rebrand without falling overboard.

At psLondon, we’ve worked with many organisations who are building their brand, or have reached the key milestone of rebranding. Reaching that moment is exciting, invigorating, and at times a bit scary. 

Like any epic journey, the first step is being prepared: we follow a series of simple and proven steps to help our clients have total clarity on where they’re headed, and help make the experience productive, inspiring and (dare we say it!) enjoyable. One client likened it to “stepping into the lifeboat”: when a brand isn’t clearly defined, a storm, large wave or unexpected about-turn can leave you clinging to the edge, toes disconcertingly close to the water. By building a solid foundation, you can be confident that your passage will be safe, and that troubled waters won’t cause nearly as much seasickness (okay, we’ll stop with the analogy now!).

When embarking on a rebrand, your very first step is developing a vision of the future. Rebrands are a major investment for most businesses - the worst thing in the world is a rebrand that’s no longer relevant in 3-5 years. So, begin with a FutureThinking exercise and place yourself in the future of your brand, then work backwards from that future to build the brand you need. After all, you wouldn’t drive a car whilst looking in the rear-view mirror (we’ve now moved from sea analogies to land analogies! Look at us go!). And while what’s been done is important, where you are going is the most important thing to consider when building a new brand… so make sure your windshield is clean!

Once a vision of the future is clearly articulated, the next step is the Brand Oyster. This is a simple one-page diagram that outlines a business’ competitive environment, capabilities, typical customers & their needs, and then focuses more deeply on their mission, positioning, personality and values.

At the core is the essence: this is what we fundamentally believe in that guides our behaviour in everything we do.

The Brand Oyster distils down the brand, using insight generated from a variety of sources including stakeholder interviews, the FutureThinking workshop, focus groups, qual/quant research surveys and values analysis. It identifies the fundamental truths behind your brand and then helps you to articulate them internally. It serves as a rallying cry for the team undergoing the re-brand, to ensure everyone feels ownership and excitement around the future, and it means that the creative development has firm foundations in reality, relevance and rationality.

With a strong “why”, the creative development becomes about much more than a new logo, strapline and visual identity. It becomes rooted in the true purpose of the company… and that makes it stick, both with your audience and with your employees. 

Very few companies or organisations can clearly articulate why they do what they do. But here’s the truth: there’s little point to a rebrand without first gathering the insight to supplement your approach, the risk being that a lack of insight and strategy makes rebrands lack distinctiveness within their market. Looking at the bigger picture can shape your behaviour, outsmart the competition, and help drive long-term results… whether that’s on water or on land.

Curious how psLondon can help your organisation’s brand be fit for purpose? Reach out to kendra@pslondon.co.uk for a chat!

Download: The (Re)Brand Workbook