A comprehensive rebranding project

By Tom Dougherty

The complete comprehensive rebranding

comprehensive rebrandingThe most potent brands look, feel, and sound just like the target audience that the brand targets. It is part of brand anthropology (the scientific study of human interactions with commercial messaging) to engage the target audience with laser focus.

If you don’t understand this form of brand strategy, look here to become familiar with it. Creating a brand story with the belief systems of the target audience separates a common brand from one purposefully created to steal market share. We forge the persuasive sticky points from that understanding.

But what does this comprehensive rebranding mean?

comprehensive rebrandingComprehensive rebranding starts with a dispassionate view of your brand. Your attachment to an idea or a value holds you back. It is hard to be this self-critical. That is why an unbiased third party (like us) helps.

There is only one agenda. You must work to create a persuasive brand that attracts new customers. Holding this one plan as the goal, many values, and messages that are part of your brand’s story suddenly look like obstacles.

comprehensive rebrand\ingSingle-minded focus is the essence of strategy. If you have one goal, you will accomplish it.

So, the first challenge you face is to simplify your goal to a single idea. We look at brands from an emotional viewpoint. Finding that emotional essence is the key. How does the audience feel about the brand? And, to take it a step closer to the strategy, who are they when they use the brand? This idea is the backbone of a comprehensive rebranding project.

Finding the magic spot

Comprehensive rebrandingEvery dog has a magic spot. Usually, it is on their belly right near their navel. Scratch that spot, and the dog’s legs will automatically move. As if the act of satisfying the scratch comes with an involuntary action. They can’t help themselves.

What is your brand’s magic spot? What place always begs for scratching in your prospect’s identity?

The magic is a subtle find. They might have to grow accustomed to that itch. Possibly, no one scratched it before.

In a comprehensive rebranding, we relentlessly look for that spot. We know that it exists and that once the prospect is aware of it, they will instantly look to scratch that itch. Like the dog we mentioned earlier, the feet start to move.

The brand itch becomes annoying

comprehensive rebrandingWe have all done this in our lives—not noticed something and thereby ignored it. Once pointed out, it’s all you can see.

In a comprehensive rebranding, we hunt for those magic spots and decide the most acute of the lot. We choose ONE, not a handful.

We are finding that emotional place and making it visible does not need an aggressive scratch. Most times, a light tickle will do the trick. The more fundamentally defining it is, the more powerful the urge to possess the brand.

Comprehensive rebranding elements

First, you need to learn as much as you can about the prospect. Not just the usage and attitudinal stuff, but the emotional scaffolding they possess. You need to make sense of the target market’s motivations.

Comprehensive rebrandingI remember years ago. I developed a fascination with old pocket watches. In the beginning, I would open the back and look at all the internal elements. The intricacy and delicate parts amazed me.

But I never understood what everything was and how they made the watch work so beautifully until I took one of them apart.

Now I know the inner working. I have the language of the watch. I can anticipate failures and diagnose problems.

In our research for the comprehensive rebranding, we take the watch apart. We dissect the emotional attachments and fundamental beliefs of the prospects your brand must attract to grow. In essence, we learn their language, and so do you.

Some things are not what they seem

Societies continue to evolve and change. What seemed impossible yesterday is commonplace today. Change is a constant.

comprehensive rebrandingJust this past week, in the world of athletics, we have seen two interesting occurrences.

One, NCAA Universities man need to start paying the athletes on their teams.

And two, a prominent NFL player, has announced to the world that he is gay.

So, if your brand embraced both NCAA and Professional athletics, would you need to adjust your brand message? The answer is maybe.

Brand permissions come from your target audience

When properly constructed, a comprehensive rebranding not only uses the language of the prospect. It understands it—all the grammar and idioms.

comprehensive rebrandingToday nothing matters more than sincerity. Many people today feel alienated from what was the mainstream. And those lucky enough to feel connected to it value that connection. It is gold to them. So, would you need to tweak your messages based upon the new norms in athletics? Not if you always spoke with sincerity. Sincerity aligns you with change.

But commercial language is often insincere. It comes across like a bad radio commercial. Formulaic and predictable.

The last half-century has taken its toll. Your customers and prospects are cynics. They want to believe, but they wait for any sign that the shoe is dropping. They have radar out looking for insincerity.

If they sense you are trying to be politically correct (from their vantage point) and pandering in any way, they abandon you.

The difference between sincerity and truth

comprehensive rebranding

In a comprehensive rebranding project, we focus on sincerity. Truth, in our world today, is more fungible than sincerity.

Truth comes from facts—sincerity arises from beliefs.

In my early experiences in branding, I learned to distinguish between these two things. P&G always told the truth. They were strict about any claim their brands made. But often, their commercials seemed formulaic and informative rather than sincere.

There is a commercial playing today here; take a look.


It tells you everything Tide does, but its imagery and storyline are exaggerated and unreal.

You might find it entertaining but not persuasive. If I did not know that P&G tells the truth, I would ignore this ad completely.

See more posts in the following related categories: Brand Anthropology brand strategy Branding Positioning persuasion rebranding