Brand Building: So you've rebranded, now what?

Oct 22, 2014

These comprehensive campaigns are more than a marketing exercise.

Do you roll your eyes when you hear of a firm going through a rebranding? Be honest. Certainly the concept of branding has been slow to be embraced by the design and construction industry, but it is gaining acceptance. Many firm leaders are realizing that to better compete in this crowded market, having a strong brand goes a long way toward providing a competitive advantage. In a market where the margin between winner and loser is often very small, every little advantage is critical. Whether you have rebranded or not, or are even still in the process of understanding branding, read on. Last month’s article discussed rebranding and brand refreshes from a conceptual standpoint. Let’s now go a step further and work to dispel some of the misconceptions of rebranding and delve into some of the details of branding. First of all, most firms make the mistake of viewing branding, and rebrandings, purely as a marketing activity. As such, most firms do not truly rebrand. They simply change their marketing messaging and marketing materials and then go on a promotional blitz. Unfortunately, often everyone in the organization is doing pretty much the same things they did before the launch. If you are considering a rebranding or have recently rebranded or are likely to rebrand, consider these tips to get the most out of this significant investment.
  • Rebrandings demand that your actions match your message. Do not rebrand and tell your market that you are going to be a new and improved version of yourself, and then just go on being yourself. Most of the time, rebrandings are an effort to be somebody or something else. Look carefully at everything you are communicating and make sure every department, system, and procedure in the company is congruent with that. I had this saying when I was leading marketing at my A/E firm: “Say what we do, and do what we say.”
  • Rebrandings or refreshes offer an opportunity to open a dialogue with your clients. These activities are not just about pushing a ton of information and “look at the new us” messages to your clients. They are about getting real about the things you need to work on and your clients are your best source of that info. Include your best (and not best) clients in a two-way conversation about who you should be. Then make meaningful and noticeable changes in the organization to reflect that input. The most effective marketing today is one that is inspired by a two-way exchange of information and ideas.
  • Push your branding messages through every layer of your organization. Rebrandings are about every single employee getting on board with what the “new you” really means. A meaningful rebrand demands that you examine every aspect of your organization and being willing to make changes to improve. That means every employee must be on board with the necessary changes in order to effect true change. Additionally, rebrandings benefit your culture as much or even more than they benefit your clients and customers. Rebrandings and refreshes are a shot in the arm for your culture and you need to leverage that to its fullest.
We launched our new brand Sept. 26 at our 2014 Hot Firm and A/E Industry Awards Conference in Beverly Hills. ZweigWhite officially became the Zweig Group. A lot of work went into making sure all of our visual branded elements were transitioned at that moment. It took a lot of forethought to anticipate all of the things that people would see after 4:30 p.m., when we launched the brand. If you have gone through a rebranding, you likely know what I am talking about. So now what? Well, we still have a lot to do. In fact, we have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us. We are going to survey our clients (you), we are going to survey people in our market. This company has gone through much change and we are ready to find out what you really think and what you really need and we are willing to make the changes to get there! Chad Clinehens is Zweig Group’s executive vice president. Contact him at
This article first appeared in The Zweig Letter (ISSN 1068-1310), issue #1077, originally published 10/27/2014. Copyright© 2014, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.