Agency life is an evolutionary process and brings times of stability as well as disruptive changes —some of them forced upon the agency from the outside, some of them deliberately initiated to bring the organization to a new level.
The Austrian PRGN member formerly known as asoluto has gone through such a change and since May 15, 2019, is on the market under the new brand “accelent communications.”
Sooner or later, almost every agency is at least evaluating the benefits and risks of a similar step. While every situation and every market is very different, we still dare to share some experiences and basic advice on agency rebranding.
Define who has a say in the main decisions
It can be the decision of the owner alone — or it can be the result of a worldwide poll. Between those extremes, choose carefully who you let influence the basic rebranding decisions. A closed-door process of a single person bears the risk that relevant input is neglected. But if too many people are involved, the whole process gets difficult and slow. Think about involving your team members and people from the outside, maybe persons without any connection to the PR business. And make a difference between idea givers, influencers and decision makers. These are totally different groups of persons in your process.
Define who you want to impress
Branding is about impressing people — but the right ones. Your 5-year old son or daughter might give very enthusiastic feedback to a funny-pinky-twinky brand, but the CEOs of your five biggest clients might have a slightly different perspective. So, take your time to assess: Who are the people you expect positive feedback from — when they see the new visuals, hear the new name, visit the new website for the first time? Whose enthusiasm is crucial for your organization? They are not necessarily only clients, your list might also comprise actual or future employees, partners or company owners.
Define where you stand and where you want to move with the new brand
Branding is not the same as positioning, but the two topics are closely related. Your visual brand and your brand name should express your brand identity and should make manifest what your company does and values. Maybe you want to head toward new values and aspirations — then try to consider these in the creative process that leads to new branding. It’s always better to align the brand with the desired future of your organization than with the too-well-known presence or — even worse — a more or less glorious past (that will never come again for sure).
Be realistic and pragmatic
In finding the perfect name and visual presence, you can spend hundreds of (non-paid) hours and still not find the perfect result. Actually, there is nothing like a perfect result. In the end, every brand is a compromise. Just think of a new agency name: It should be simple, but surprising; it should be understandable, but also inspiring; it should be globally decodable, but still unique; it should sound well but differentiate itself from the competing brands. New branding will never meet all those criteria, so be prepared to define priorities.
Remember: In PR, the brand is you
One of our clients told me during our rebranding process: “You can name your company Cinderella if you want, as long as you remain our contact person.” What a compliment! In a personal service business like ours, it’s all about the people and their expertise. The rest is necessary, but not essential. So please: Be proud of yourself. Keep learning. Get better in what you do every day. Celebrate realism and creativity at the same time. Use things, but respect or even love people (never the other way). This is what clients will really honor (at least as long as we deal with human beings on the clients’ side).