What is your 2017 rebranding strategy?

Rebranding a company is akin to restoring your favorite vintage car, completely revamping your menu, or even removing unwanted tattoos –– and typically all at the same time.

Rebranding is often mistaken for just new graphics or fresh lipstick.

Yes, a new logo, better photography, and a redesigned website are part of a re-branding campaign. And yes, fresh works-of-art must eventually adorn your business cards, marketing materials, website content, packaging, uniforms, signage, trucks, etc.

However, rebranding a company actually requires re-thinking your operations, product offering, and human resource excellence first. Underlying goals are to cascade revenues and improve retained earnings as a result of your brand's new value.

Restoration phase

Rebranding efforts and budget depend on how rusty, dented, or damaged your business model’s image or reputation truly is.

Rebranding may require taking your entire "car" apart –– restoring, replacing, or resurfacing each piece –– and then putting it all back together impeccably.

The leather and stitching has to smell fresh and look new. The paint and trim must shine like the sun. The engine and all mechanics must purr and not rattle.

Bottom Line: Customers and employees must really want to visually and trustfully take a ride with you in your freshly restored chariot.

So, if you could restore certain physical and visual aspects of your company, business, or organization, what would your "dream car" look like?

New menu phase

Rebranding a company also requires questioning every ingredient and dish on your "menu." No matter what business, product, or service your entity endeavors, rebranding your company requires delivering consistent deliciousness that paying customers line up for during every hour you are open for business.

Your chef or culinary team, so to speak, must continually roll out fresher, tastier, more profitable offerings day after day, season after season, if you expect to truly rebrand and earn editorial PR.

So, if you could improve every aspect of your product and service offering, what would your new "menu" look, taste, and smell like? How great would the coffee and pastries have to be? How delicious would the wine and cheese have to be?

Tattoo removal phase

Every company, executive, and board have made decisions they truly regret. Rebranding a company often requires atonement for previous fumbles –– unsatisfied customers, years of declining sales or market position, and love-lost between partners, staff, the public, or a specific community.

We call this phase of re-branding "tattoo removal." The idea is to carefully remove previous branding mistakes and ugly PR misfortunes from your marketplaces’ memory by making proactive moves that earn refreshed customer trust, patronage, and word-of-mouth kudos.

So, what specific "ugly tattoos" would your business most like to remove from its current reputation and ongoing relationship with customers? In other words, for what missteps do you no longer wish your company to be known?

Make no mistake, rebranding a company requires renewed operational and staff excellence, fresh product value innovation, cascaded demand from new customers, marketing works-of-art, and compelling synergies with all staff, suppliers, stakeholders, and the media –– each of which are not easy or free.

For example, when a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons acquires a property, the company does far more than put their logo on the front door. The property, menu, and staff are revamped from A to Z to five-star standards.

Conclusion

In my experience, this 3x "Restoration + Menu + Tattoo Removal" approach more easily engages diverse employees and executives who are about to rebrand any company or organization.

Passionate topics such as vintage sports cars, modern foodie menus, and the decision to wear permanent ink encourages powerful "outside the cubicle" thinking and imagination, well before any new logo or website artwork is rebranded and re-released.

So, what does your 3x organizational "Restoration + Menu + Tattoo Removal" rebranding strategy look like for 2017?

Baron Christopher Hanson is the principal and lead strategist at RedBaron Consulting, LLC based in Washington DC, Charleston SC, and Palm Beach, FL. A former rugby player, Harvard graduate, and expert on growth strategy, re-branding, and operational turnarounds, Baron has written for Harvard Business Review, SmartBrief, and Switch & Shift considerably. He can be reached for consulting and speaking engagements via http://www.RedBaronUSA.com/ or over Twitter @RBC_ThinkTank.