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September 20, 2022

Mission Multiplier – When is it Time to Rebrand?

Jane Pfeiffer

Hello. I’m Jane Pfeiffer, founder and president of Fieldtrip. Thanks for watching and welcome to this week’s edition of Mission Multiplier. Fieldtrip is an organization that helps nonprofits close the gap between the people they serve and the mindset and lifestyles of the people that have the resources to help, but just may not yet have the empathy or understanding to step forward and do so. And when you close that gap, you create a mission multiplier. So today we’re going to talk about the need to rebrand and when do you know it’s time to rebrand? Well, let’s start with the big guys. What’s one thing that Nike, Apple, Google, Facebook all have in common? Yeah, you could say it’s the size of their bottom line. They’re global organizations. But actually, it’s that they started small. And when you start small, you have to have a brand. But so many things change over time. And with experience. So these organizations kept up with the time and their own growth and now have some of the most recognizable brands When you say the word brand, many people think of it as just your logo, this visual mark that defines you.  Well, that’s like saying your personal image or reputation is based solely on the shoes that you wear. Now, I like a good pair of shoes, but I would like to think that my personal brand is a lot more than just that one visual piece. So the brand encompasses both that visual identity and the intangible feelings that come around the brand. There are things like fonts and colors and styles, photo treatment, but it’s this essence, and we’ve talked about that, that three word inspirational essence, that a brand really represents. And unless you have all the elements defined and working for you, it’s really, maybe just as simple as a logo and a guideline document that you have in a folder somewhere That’s not a true living brand.

So let me tell this story through the lens of my own experience in rebranding the agency. When I started, I really had much smaller ambitions. I was going to focus on media strategy and did successfully. In fact, the name of the agency was strADegy, but it was special because instead of the traditional spelling, it was strADegy, because the capital AD in the middle was for advertising adding value. And so 3 minutes and a couple of Post-it notes and BAM, I had my first name for the agency, and it worked for a while. I just simply didn’t think any bigger. I was really focused on staying with what I knew. But over time, we hired additional employees who had talents that lived way beyond the experiences that I knew in media and research and consumer studies. And so we opened our doors to different opportunities and that’s when I fell madly and passionately in love with branding. Now that we had these capabilities, we were picking up more work. Our media capability stayed in place, but now they were activating the brands that we built. So it was playing a different role, not that it became less important, but that this branding work came first and then media took it out into the world. So the team, not myself, actually recognized that the current agency name strategy was an obstacle that no longer reflected what we did. And I at the time thought, you know, nobody’s complained about it. I’ve never heard a negative thing. So it’s got to be fine. Let’s just not worry about it. And that went on for a while until it did. So the signs that it’s time to rebrand can be very subtle and very quiet, so quiet that you have to listen carefully, or they can be a rude slap in the face and you wake up and you know that it’s time. So I’ll share that I got the rude version, what that slap in the face was and how I made the decision in next week’s video.

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