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Cost & Timeline for Rebranding

Post by 
Pranav Savlani
February 21, 2022

“How much does rebranding cost?” and “how long will it take to rebrand?” are the two questions each client wants answers to.

Most small businesses end up investing anywhere between INR 10 - 20 lacs in branding. Studies show the average B2B business spends about 5 percent of their revenue on marketing. With that in mind, an average rebrand will cost anywhere between 10 and 20 percent of your marketing budget.

Before we can direct you to a solution it is important for us to understand the problem you are facing, your background and then strategize a way forward. We typically ask targeted questions to help determine the type of rebranding approach best suited to your business. The cost of rebranding is determined by the touchpoints that are most critical to your organization. A small business that gets most of its customers by distributing brochures should spend more on the brochure compared to a website.

Types of Rebranding

To begin, there are 3 types of rebranding exercises a company can look at namely a Brand Refresh, Brand Reset or a complete Brand Overhaul. The answer to the following preliminary list of questions helps us determine which one you should go for:

  • How old is your company? When long has the brand been around?
  • Do you have any sub brands? If yes, how many sub brands do you have? 
  • What’s the employee strength?
  • How many customers do you have?
  • Is your geographic reach domestic or international?
  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • How competitive is your space? Can you name some competitors?
  • What are your top business goals?
  • When do you need to achieve these goals by?
  • What would a successful outcome look like?
  • What is your budget for this project?
  • What is your timeline for implementation?
Small company vs big company dilemma?

So you operate a small company and think the rebranding exercise will be cheaper. The answer is Yes and No. Yes, If the small company has a clear business model and are focused in their approach the rebranding exercise will cost less. Unfortunately, the size or the revenue of the company cannot help determine the cost rather the nature of the business and the complexity determine the cost.

More often than not we end up seeing bigger challenges with smaller companies as they have ambitious goals and much more complex requirements. The small companies may not know how their customers perceive them or what their competitors are doing. Therefore branding for smaller companies is usually more challenging and requires more research. 

A large company most times has a lot of data about their customers and they have well defined positioning. They have much simpler needs and basic objectives. On the flipside they may have multiple brands or a much more challenging nature of business. 

Conclusion, company size or revenue does not help determine the cost of rebranding. The nature and complexity of the business dictates the pricing. The following are some broad categories of rebranding that help estimate the scope of work. Depending on the company’s requirements the scope could be edited.

*Please Note - The following are not packages. They are only broad categories to help you understand the difference between the levels of rebranding.

Brand Refresh

Budget: 4 Lakhs to 8 Lakhs

Timeline: 3 - 4 Months

The most common form of rebranding is a brand refresh. It typically includes the following elements:

  • Brand Discovery
  • Visual Identity
  • Corporate Stationery
  • Website
  • Copywriting
  • Photography/Renders

The project starts with a brand discovery. Brand discovery in layman's terms is research. We start the process by understanding you, what makes your business unique, what values does your brand have internally and how are those presented to its users. Is the brand communicating what we want to communicate to its users or is there some discrepancy. Once the discovery is done we move on to visual identity and your brand starts to come to life.

While most of the project scope here remains the same across clients the variance in branding cost depends on the complexity of the website and the complexity of user segments. If you are catering to a wide variety of segments for example Urban tech developers on one end and rural population on the other, the challenge becomes a bit harder and would typically cost a bit more.

With respect to the website the difference can be a static brochure type website on one hand and a sophisticated lead generation tool on the other. Websites can be ecommerce pages or be content specific requiring content management systems in the back end that need to be designed and thought through well. Website typically remains the centerpiece of a brand refresh and the complexity of the website determines the cost and time for the brand refresh. Websites and photography go hand in hand. Stock photography doesn’t work well as it kills the uniqueness quotient which hampers brand perception in most cases. Some of our clients go for high quality custom renders for their firm as it is more affordable compared to a photoshoot. The cost of photography changes the range of a brand refresh.

Brand Reset

Budget: 10 Lakhs to 40 Lakhs

Timeline: 6 - 8 Months

The next stage of rebranding is a brand reset. Companies that have pivoted, that have grown at an aggressive rate or have aged typically go for a brand reset. A company that has aged without any change in the brand needs to think deeply about its operations, customers and future. A brand reset includes the following:

  • Brand Audit
  • Customer Research
  • Brand Discovery
  • Brand Strategy
  • Naming and Tagline
  • Brand Identity
  • Corporate Stationery
  • Website
  • Copywriting
  • Photography
  • Marketing Collateral

A brand reset involves a lot more research into the business, the products/services, the customers, the competition and so on and so forth. This means the time required and costs associated are far greater than those of a brand refresh.

  • Are you struggling to differentiate your company or articulate your unique value propositions?
  • Is your product or service difficult for customers to understand?
  • Is your brand misaligned internally and/or externally?
  • Are you unable to effectively communicate to each of your distinct audience segments?

If any of the above questions are answered yes, a brand reset is the type of rebranding that may suit your brand. 

The exercise will start with a brand audit that will help understand the market scenario and your current brand positioning. Next step would be to conduct customer research and develop personas. The vastness of your customer base and the number of different personas would dictate the amount of investment in customer research. An in depth conversation with key internal stakeholders would also help with the branding exercise. Lastly we need to understand the value proposition and unique selling points that help us stand out from the competition and are critical research areas to define your new brand and help with brand positioning. 

Once the research is complete, we get into the brand naming and tagline. If the current name has become outdated, doesn’t represent the brand or has any negative publicity associated with it, changing the brand name is advised. Renaming is a powerful and often unavoidable initiative. But it can add lacs to the cost of rebranding, as it usually requires weeks of research, brainstorming, and vetting.

Brand Overhaul

Budget: 50 Lakhs to 1 Crore +

Timeline: 9 - 12 Months

This type of rebranding is done for the companies that have multiple brands under them or the challenge is very complex. Think about HUL, P&G and the likes that have many brands. The challenge to do a rebranding exercise for these companies would be challenging as one has to think about all brands under them and define a way forward. Other companies that are spread across geographies or have gone through mergers and acquisitions such as AB InBev pose a different set of challenges apart from the many different brands under the company name.

A total Brand Overhaul is the ultimate rebranding exercise and represents the max one could spend to solve a design/branding problem. A brand overhaul often includes the following:

  • Internal Brand Research
  • Customer Research
  • Brand Audit
  • Brand Strategy & Positioning
  • Brand Architecture
  • Naming and Tagline
  • Brand Identity
  • Website
  • Copywriting
  • Photography and Video
  • Marketing Collateral (Brochures, Product Catalogs, E-brochures, Display Boards so on and so forth)
  • Brand Guidelines
  • Brand Rollout

Here are some of the steps explained in detail below:

Brand Overhaul Research

An overhaul research is the most intensive type of research. We speak to the management to understand the future of the company and get an insight in to all stakeholders. Then we start speaking to internal teams across Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and so on and so forth to understand the internal brand perception that may differ from the management's perception. This research fuels design thinking by highlighting different challenges and exposes the design team to think about all possible outcomes of the rebranding exercise. In most cases such research also gives the most common brand values and strong direction for a visual and verbal design.

Brand Architecture

Brand architecture is the integrated system of names, symbols, colors, and visual vocabulary that maps out your brand and its offerings. Oftentimes this includes multiple sub-brands in an organized hierarchy. The type of brand architecture will dictate the scope of work of the rebranding exercise.

Brand Marketing Collateral

Think of your marketing collateral your brand sells through. If you are selling physical products, a brand overhaul exercise will include the packaging of each product. Other marketing collateral could include social media templates, brochures amongst others. Example - A rebranding overhaul for an airline would include boarding pass, check-in counter display screens, gifting bags, and other in plane accessories such as blankets.

How to choose the right branding partner?

Choosing a right branding partner is a key step overlooked by many. A big agency may not always be the right choice. Rather the branding partner that may give the best output is the one that is the most similar to your organization or department. 

Scenario 1

A Fortune 500 company that is present across the globe facing a challenge of a brand overhaul is best suited for a large agency that is also present in multiple geographies and has a larger employee strength (40 or above). 

Scenario 2

A Fortune 500 company faced with a rebranding challenge for one of the products with the intention to move fast, a smaller agency may be the right choice. Boutique agencies are highly specialized and much nimbler. You’re more likely to ensure that your project is prioritized by working with a boutique branding agency.

Scenario 3

You are a small to medium sized enterprise with regional offices or your sales are focused to defined geography (Country, City) or a particular customer segment. A boutique agency may be able to give you access to top talent and senior level staff. 

Learn more about when is the right time to rebrand.