What Does Rebranding Cost? Exploring a Rebrand
Branding is about more than just how you look. It’s the fundamental story behind your whole brand equity. So what do you do if that story needs a refresh? That’s where the process of rebranding comes in.
Rebranding isn’t about delivering an instant change overnight. Remember that brand image today isn’t about what you tell people your brand is, it’s about how your audience talks about you. There’s no special button you can press to suddenly switch audience perceptions.
A comprehensive rebranding process is about building the framework to change your brand story. Often that’s underpinned by a visual journey, but equally key is understanding and influencing the wider conversation about your business. Ultimately that means the cost of your rebrand depends on just how extensive that framework, and the conversation might be.
The case of BP rebranding
If we’re talking big frameworks, there are few bigger than multinational oil and gas company BP. The story of BP’s rebranding in the early 2000s is both one of the most misappropriated myths, and more helpful insights into the trust costs of rebranding.
A quick search on Google for ‘BP rebranding costs’ will happily throw up list article after list article crying out in dismay at a much-mocked US$200 million logo redesign. This misrepresented myth suggests that BP, internationally iconic and hugely successful multinational, was somehow so flush with corporate madness that it paid hundreds of millions of dollars for a geometrically pleasing green and yellow flower. That is simply not the case.
The US$200 million figure oft-cited for this logo represents the investment BP made in a wider rebranding exercise. That not only included the significant resources to visually rebrand everything from stationery to thousands of petrol stations, it also included service upgrades such as providing internet access and weather updates at the pump. That’s not just an isolated visual change, it’s a comprehensive attempt to build a better brand strategy that resonates with its customers.
The cost of a conversation
BP is an equally intriguing exploration of the cost of a brand conversation. No matter which way you look at it, oil and gas companies aren’t always everyone’s favourite brands. That’s especially true in the wake of a tragic environmental disaster.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 saw hundreds of millions of gallons of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. The event not only caused the tragic death of several workers, it also delivered the
worst environmental disaster in BP’s extensive history.
BP’s turn of the century rebranding exercise had crucially targeted the environmental image of the brand, seeking to position it as an efficient, responsible oil and gas company. While you might argue it’s hard to position an oil and gas company as environmentally responsible, the reality is that this multi-million dollar effort had arguably worked to a greater or lesser degree.
In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico spill, this perception drastically changed. A stark example of the brand conversation disaster emerging in the wake of this very real tragedy is easily seen in NGO Greenpeace’s competition to redesign the BP logo. While the cost to the environment is arguably incalculable, the cost to BP was another US$500 million spent trying to change the conversation in response to the disaster.
Costs to consider when rebranding
BP offers an extreme example of the cost of a rebrand. It’s unlikely that your brand will be trying to steer a conversation around the impact of an environmental disaster. It does however highlight that rebranding costs are hugely dependent on the size of your organisation, and the conversations and frameworks you’re working to shift.
So what costs do you need to consider when assessing your rebrand?
Remember that talk about conversations? It’s not just about what you want to be, it’s about understanding what your audience wants you to be. A good rebranding strategy involves detailed research to understand what your target audience expect, and how best to position yourself to unlock value in that understanding for your business.
The cost of a new visual direction is an integral part of a rebrand. That means the vital importance of a new logo that represents your brand in the eyes of the world, but it could also include everything from a standardised colour palette to unique company font.
Once you’ve got your new design, don’t overlook how much it will cost to implement those changes. Consistency is key with a rebranding exercise. That means replacing items like company stationery, printed customer facing documentation, business signage, and much more.
Brand image lives online just as much as off. If you’re really looking to undertake a comprehensive rebranding exercise, you need to assess and understand how that will impact your digital assets. It could be something as simple as changing the logo on your website, or it could be a far deeper change to adjust a diverse range of digital collateral.
A rebranding exercise is a huge opportunity to generate fresh new excitement in your audience. That
doesn’t happen without you putting in the effort. You need to consider press releases, launch events, amplification and communication as well as promotional offers, all as part of a vital launch strategy to make the most of your rebranding journey.
Want to explore rebranding with a brand that understands the conversation? Get in touch with Content Nation and see how we can build your brand a better framework for the future.