THE NEW YOU: RE-B.R.A.N.D.: How to manage a major franchise brand change with tips from the Neighborly process.

Author:Bidwell, Mike

Rebranding can be a difficult but necessary step in a business' plans for continued growth and development, particularly in an evolving market where consumers' preferences constantly change.

For 37 years, until September 2018, Neighborly was known to consumers by a different name: Dwyer Group, after the company's founder, Don Dwyer. Following a successful launch of the Neighborly online platform in March 2017 - a consumer-facing portal where the company's franchised home service brands were united under one umbrella - it was decided for strategic marketing purposes that it was time to rebrand the company from Dwyer Group to Neighborly.

This would involve so much more than a simple name change; it was a strategic effort led by Lisa Zoellner, Neighborly's Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, to more clearly position the company's image in the eyes of consumers. It was an effort that required "all hands on deck" from the executive departments of the corporation, as well as extensive research and investments, and thorough planning to ensure that the rebrand would be successful. Along the way, the company learned many valuable lessons.

If your company is considering undergoing a major franchise rebrand, the five tips detailed here - remembered easily by the acronym "B.R.A.N.D" - provide a framework for how best to approach the process from the perspective of Neighborly, a company that has now "been there, done that."

B. Brace Yourself for the Process

The decision to rebrand requires extensive deliberation. First, consider the "why" behind rebranding. Then, take the appropriate amount of time to consider all options and the potential outcomes of rebranding. If, after that, you are set on following through with a rebrand, the planning process can begin in earnest.

Preparing a comprehensive rebranding plan requires investment in numerous resources, so prepare to budget for necessary expenses that will accompany these. One resource worth investing in from the start is the help of experienced advisors who can guide you through the process. It is valuable to have someone, or even a full team, at your side as you take on an unfamiliar and daunting process.

R. Research, Research, Research

Once you have decided to rebrand, the next most important step should be research, both internally and externally. Conduct surveys, focus groups and more to determine how your key stakeholders currently perceive your brand. Look for insight into how the current brand...

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