Visibly rattled, he scrambled out of the passenger seat, shouting:
“Mr Campbell, I regret to inform you that on this occasion you have failed your practical driving test!”.
How could this be? We only nearly rolled into the Dudley no. 2 canal. And all that screaming hardly helped me concentrate, did it?
I couldn’t comprehend failing the test. I’d been preparing for months. It was a military operation, I’d:
- Bought the loudest car stereo I could lay my hands on
- Stuffed all of my CDs into one of those giant zip-up wallets
- Settled on just the right keyring.
Had I practised my parallel reverse parking? Don’t be daft, who parks backwards?
Did I know what lane to be in at a complicated roundabout? Who does? Just give a few honks on the old horn and let Jesus take the wheel.
I was eager to hit the roads in my mid 90s Rover 200. It was clinging on to life by a thread, but it was perfect, and it was mine. But was I ready?
On the day of the test, the examiner met a confidently incorrect 17-year-old, with driving skills that no number of CDs could improve.
Three months after, I had another crack at it, and scraped a pass. Just.
This was 15 years ago, and I still can’t fathom why I didn’t prepare properly. But that all changes today. I can’t help you reverse around a corner, but I can help you prepare for your rebrand.
So, grab a Halfords gift card, and as many go faster stripes as you can find, and let’s pretend that this segue into financial services marketing tips isn’t wheel-spinning wildly out of control.
What do we mean by “rebrand” in this context?
I wrote this piece back in 2020 around the ideology that a brand isn’t simply your logo. It discusses the visual and non-visual components that work together to form your brand:
- Logo design
- Colour palette
- Brand personality & image
- Core values
- Brand experience
- Brand equity.
So, a branding exercise would involve working on some, or all of the above within your business. And a rebrand, as you can probably guess, is changing what currently exists, for something different.
It is never as simple as just changing your logo, because much of the heavy lifting within building a brand comes after that part is done. This makes it essential to prepare properly for a rebrand. It’s worth doing, so let’s do it well.
Okay, drive on when you are ready, please.
1. It’s not about you
The most common mistake I witness in rebranding exercises is prioritising what the stakeholders personally like, over what is right for their clients.
Of course, your visual identity must represent you, your values and the personality of the business. But the urge to put yourself in the middle of it all, and stop there, can be overwhelming.
I completely get it, but it’s an urge that needs to be controlled.
You are a wonderful creature and I love you dearly but hear me out: it isn’t all about you. You are not the main character here, your client is. Take yourself out of the spotlight and your brand will be much stronger for it.
Now, at the end of the road turn left, please.
2. Start with “why?”
There are many valid reasons why you may be considering a rebrand. Naturally, there are also some less valid ones.
Starting with the “why?”, rather than the “what?” is important. Way back in 2017, Phil wrote about what his “why” was, and much of that has influenced the way we’ve grown as a business over the years that followed.
Knowing what problem you’re solving by entering the branding process means that you have defined objectives, and can measure how successful the exercise has been. It also dictates the route we take, and prevents getting to a point where “I’ll know when I see it” becomes the answer to hitting the brief.
As we approach the roundabout, I want you to take your third exit.
3. Manage your stakeholders
Last year I wrote a piece about communicating your brand internally that you may have read. The theme was “anti-Pingu” for some reason, but beyond the penguin-fuelled aggression, I spoke about how to build a committee that will be involved in the branding process.
In fact, go there next and give it a good read – it gives you plenty of tips on how to manage the people in the process and increase your chances of not going mad.
Before you begin the rebranding journey, think carefully about who is involved. Having everybody on the same page beforehand will result in a stronger brand that people are invested in.
The way you position a potential rebrand internally can be a delicate undertaking. Change can be slightly unsettling for some, and downright terrifying for others. Understanding this is important, and the better you present the idea to the team, the more engaged they will naturally be.
I would now like you to reverse for about two car lengths, keeping reasonably close to the kerb.
4. Trust the advice you get
Think about the financial planning process.
You aren’t waving a magic wand to ensure your client’s financial futures will be bright and merry.
No. You’re working with people, understanding their lives and specific situation, then showing them the path to where they need to be. It requires them to accept your advice in the first place, and then to actively follow the plan.
The rebranding process is no different.
It requires collaboration, teamwork and a partnership between the both of us. But in the same way your clients have sought advice from you, you have approached us to help. So trust us. Trust the process. There isn’t a marketing agency on Earth who hasn’t found themselves in a position where a client expects them to simply follow orders and do as they say. Needless to say, the end result is always far weaker.
When I give the signal, I’d like you to stop as quickly and safely as possible.
5. Think strategically
As I mentioned right at the beginning, a brand is far more than a logo. And a rebrand should have a strategy at its core.
Think beyond the visual identity.
Every month, we hold free webinars, and this one about how to write an effective marketing strategy for your business shows the many moving parts that surround individual elements, like the logo or colour palette.
So, in preparation for your rebrand, work out what comes first. What is the bigger picture here? Putting a strategy in place will help you to come out of the other end of the process with a coherent and effective brand.
I would now like you to drive independently, following the directions on the satnav until I tell you otherwise.
Pull up on the left at a safe place Mr Campbell and turn the engine off
“I’m pleased to inform you that you have passed your driving test!”.
The planning and preparation that we give anything in life links directly to the outcome.
I could have fluked my driving test the first time around, but the roads of Dudley would have been infinitely more dangerous for it.
So, focus on the right things. Leave out the gear knob that looks like a pool ball. Ignore the urge to fit those unhinged giant eyelashes on your headlights. Those stickers that say “powered by fairy dust”? Nope, in the bin.
And that’s where we come in. Our branding team have worked exclusively in the financial services space for over half a decade now, so for your next branding project email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 8965 300.