Whenever an organization thinks about a name change, there are lots of emotions and memories that surface. Sometimes those emotions and memories can even become obstacles. Some are relatively minor and are easy to get around, but others can turn out to be insurmountable — especially when they occur at the highest levels. That’s why one of the first questions we ask our clients that contact us for rebranding is:
“What does your CEO think of the idea?”
If the CEO isn’t willing to champion the idea it won’t go very far. His/Her leadership is absolutely critical to the process — because no one else has the same clout.
Most Board of Directors are made of long-time members that have certain qualities in common: they are older, generally more conservative in their outlook on life, and somewhat resistant to change. In particular, they want to be good stewards of shared history, they want to keep the legacy alive, and they certainly aren’t going to change names just because the AVP Marketing says they should. But the CEO has the stature to get them to listen. That’s why the CEO has to explain why they need to change.
Once the Board is on board, then the CEO has to make sure the Executive Team is on the same team. Management needs to hear the same strategy that the Board hears, understand the end goal, and work together as a team to reach it.
Bringing in an outside consultant can be a tremendous help in the process. They can advise how to communicate to and involve the members, give suggestions and build a strategy, even provide an amazing new brand identity at the end. What an outsider cannot do, however, is lead like a CEO.
Get the CEO to commit, to convince everyone that it is the right thing to do, and now is the right time to do it, and things will change.