Lessons on Rebranding with Dennis Mambure

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Early last week we sat down with Dennis Mambure the Group Head Marketing and Communications at FMB Capital formerly Barclays Bank where he shared some anecdotes on the subject of rebranding. Here’s how the interview went.

In your own view, what does rebranding entail?

It is a marketing strategy which entails the recalibration of an existing brand by improving one or more of its elements so as to create a differentiated identity in key publics and stakeholders such as customers, competitors and investors. The components that can be changed may include both physical and other softer issues. On the physical  side components that may be changed include names, logos, symbols,  and  colours among others.  Other softer issues that may be changed include culture, ethos, values, work ethic, service orientation and delivery.

 

What nuggets can you share with any brand embarking on a similar exercise?

Rebranding exercise need to be viewed at the right level. It is not a simple process but rather a well thought out strategic move which requires strategic thought, investment, expertise and clarity of objectives. Rebranding is so important that it can not be left out to the operatives. There is need to have sponsorship and buy in from the highest decision organ in an organisation such as the Board of Directors and Executive Leadership. Brands should always start with the “Why” question. It is important to know why rebranding has to be done. Is it to reflect new ownership or to show a strategic shift, or a mere brand refresh, or to do some level of damage control or any other plausible reason.  Once the why question has been answered, the how part of it is essential. It gives clarity in terms of the process to be followed, the elements to be changed, the time frames, the implementation and the unveiling of the new brand. Finally the “ who” question. A lot of introspection is necessary. Who is going to drive the rebranding exercise? Does the organisation have internal experts? Are consultants going to be hired, if so which one?

 

What does success in or after rebranding looks like?

Success needs to viewed from multiple lenses. Internally, if the objectives of the rebrand were clearly spelt out, the outcome will need to be measured against that. Secondly should be clearly if customers and other stakeholders’ perception of the new brand is improved. This can be checked using a number of measures such as brand health check etc depending on the original intentions. Other surrogate measures such as customer retention , attrition and brand awareness.  For me success means minimum disruption to the customer, a superior and differentiated entity.

 

What influence does rebranding have on organizational culture, value and ethos, staff motivation? Does it automatically lead to a new culture?

Rebranding does not necessarily lead to new values, ethos, culture because those elements may actually be part of the rebranding exercise. For example one of the rebranding objectives may be to actually change the service culture , which may in turn call for an overhaul of the bank’s values. In that case therefore  instead of being output to the rebranding exercise, new values , cultures and ethoes may in fact be element of the broader rebranding framework

 

What are the biggest challenges you have experienced  in trying to rebrand?

There are multiple challenges. There are always moving pieces in any rebranding exercise. Issues of budgetary allocation and investment tops the list.secondly instead of narrowing the scope as one rebrands, one may find oneself broadening the scope which then calls for a continuous plan recalibration with budgetary implications. At the beginning on a rebranding the plan may be to change one element of the brand for an example the logo, but as one looks at the logo you may find that the new colour scheme on that logo may not even blend well with the walls of the building upon which one may need to hang the signage. This means new paint may be required for all buildings, as one applies new paint, one may find that certain patch work is required to make the paintwork look nice. This sounds dramatic but in reality this is what one may go through as part of rebranding. In tough economic environments, shortage  of inputs and necessary materials, ever changing prices, power cuts are all common challenges that may compromise the quality and timing of the exercise

 

What perceptions do customers have  before and after a  rebranding exercise? How do you change any customer perceptions?

Essentially, it depends on the rebranding objectives. Naturally one expects a positive change in customer perception. As part of the rebranding strategy, a robust brand campaign is a must. It becomes imperative that key proof points are included in any brand campaign  that follows a rebranding exercise. If for an a rebranding exercise is meant to position a brand as a new youthful and fresh brand, the organisation need to reinforce the desired framing with hard facts, proof points and a clear departure of the previous operational approach

 

Does rebranding really yield positive consumer benefits, functional or emotional or it’s a marketing gimmick?

Clearly it does if properly executed. Remember a rebranding exercise is targeted a multiple stakeholders and a proper mapping exercise will demonstrate the expected benefits be they functional, emotional or otherwise. If the exercise is just about changing colours or logos without deliberate look at the totality of the brand built-up, it clearly becomes a futility. One of the key benefits of rebranding is that if done well with buy in from every member of the organisation, the culture and approach to service may be positively influenced resulting in a better service level to customer.

 

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