August 3rd, 2011 | Contributor

Marketing Matters: Rebranding is a process that takes planning and time

1 Aug, 2011 By: Contributor Hotel and Motel Management

Fran Brasseux

Rebranding an organization presents an opportunity to closely examine your business plan and ultimately serve the needs of your members more effectively. My organization, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, recently went through the process and has a few best practices that can apply to others who are thinking of rebranding–whether you are an organization, a hotel or a business.

The first step of the rebranding process is to regularly re-examine the business performance of your organization. Asking tough questions and conducting extensive research to understand the needs of your members and customers is essential. When HSMAI began the rebranding process, a key aspect was asking for feedback from our members, and using it to adjust, innovate and deliver on brand promises. Collecting research is helpful for figuring out what works and what needs work and can help determine best practices for moving forward.

Although the economic downturn put pressure on businesses, it also presented an opportunity to pull everyone together and design ways to review and improve results. It is surprising how much team brainstorming with a motivated, dynamic staff can deliver incredible ideas such as new products, new marketing, and of course, yield better business results.

After the research and initial brainstorming processes, the next step is to relay that information to key stakeholders. Involving stakeholders early and often brings new insight and value to the table, which will later be reflected in the new mission and overall business plan. Once your organization develops its new "personality," partner with a marketing agency to design a logo and other marketing collateral. The agency—once they understand your business, your brand and your mission—can help design a logo that aligns with the new messaging and fundamental tenets of your group.

Rebranding is a process. To do it right can take a full year or even longer. However, it is worth launching it in well-thought-out phases rather than all at once. Even if you cannot lay out the process in one fell swoop, having that master plan with an agreed-upon timeline will help your organization stay on track. Outlining that plan in phases keeps everyone on the same page, builds momentum and delivers visible, measureable actions and results. If done properly, rebranding will grant you immediate support from your members (or customers) and the industry.

Our rebranding rolled out a few months ago, and everything has been positive so far. HSMAI constantly re-examines the business plan to make sure we are delivering on promises and adapting to the needs of our members as well as industry trends. Conducting focus groups and using social media can help your organization collect real-time feedback, which provides immediate help and also offers a more empowered voice for your members.

Fran Brasseux is the executive VP of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Contact her at

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