1. Planning is critical. The process takes time and money. Establish a budget and a completion date and work backwards from there. This is typically a 4 – 6 month process.
2. Start with some unvarnished, objective truths about your organization and your brand. The best way to ensure this is through an independent, third-party moderator or consultant. It’s important to make provision for professional voice of the customer, or voice of the market research. Yes, both require an investment, but the value is far greater than starting with group think and internal brainstorming. Once you go down that path, every decision that follows is dangerously incestuous.
3. While the branding effort should be lead by a small, core team, it’s important that everyone has an opportunity to contribute, understand the brand positioning, and feel a sense of ownership.
4. Branding is more than a set of words, it’s also a set of behaviors. The promise of the brand should be consistent with the experience. So, be certain the brand promise is relevant, achievable, and sustainable.
5. Finally, this is not an esoteric exercise: branding is part of your marketing toolkit. It’s a response to changes in your products or services, changes in the category or competitive lineup, or some other variable. It is an opportunity to repackage and re-present yourself. You only launch once, so make sure you set aside human and financial resources to properly launch your new brand positioning.