In "Heart & Mind Branding," you feel an emotional connection to the brand, then make logical conclusions about what the brand means. This powerful approach is the brainchild (and registered trademark) of HEASLEY&PARTNERS, but I learned about it from Laura Cunningham of Charlotte Pelton & Associates. Laura talked about re-branding--"it's not just a new logo"--with the Treasure Coast Chapter of FPRA.
Done right, re-branding can take months to prepare and years to roll-out and evaluate. It starts with a brand inventory, cataloging every item emblazoned with the logo, tagline and colors that represent your organization. This task usually reveals appalling breaches of brand etiquette.
A strategic planning process discovers how stakeholders experience the brand now, and explores how and why re-branding should change that experience. The creative process is more than an exercise in artistic expression. It also envisions the marketing and PR tactics that can introduce stakeholders to the new brand in a positive way. This means testing concepts on real people in surveys, focus groups or one-on-one interviews.
When you execute the brand roll-out, you're selling a new interpretation of the old brand. If you've done your homework, people will buy-in to the idea that the re-brand embodies the current company culture and articulates the brand promise to its stakeholders.
Of course, everyone's a critic, and there will be some (including media) who pooh-pooh the new look and feel. Laura gave several notorious examples, including Gap (which rolled back a new logo), the Y (formerly YMCA, now taking international heat) and Xfinity (formerly Comcast, no longer just a cable company).
When circumstances dictate a re-branding, be prepared to spend the time and money it takes to do it right. If you don't, your biggest fans could become your most vocal hecklers.