Rebrand before hiring a new Marketing Director

: : branding : :

by Garrett Curry

"But first, we need to hire a new Marketing Director, because they should be included in the process". 

Sigh. It's always unfortunate to hear this from a prospective branding client, because it normally means months of radio silence. This is due to the difficulty of successfully hiring and on-boarding a new Marketing Director. 

Meanwhile, their business continues to hemorrhage as their precious marketing dollars are spent on a broken brand that’s facing the wrong direction and whistling the wrong tune. Once a company determines that it’s time for a rebrand, time is of the essence.

The process itself takes months to execute, and the implementation of a refreshed brand into your marketing efforts will take several more months. Essentially, I tell clients that rebranding could be a year-long process.

Regardless, plenty of CEOs will delay getting started while they scramble to hire a new marketing director. Although branding and marketing broadly occupy the same space of creative strategy, they serve very distinct roles and require a very distinct set of skills. Here are five reasons why companies shouldn't delay a rebrand by waiting for a new Marketing Director.

1 // The new Marketing Director will already be overwhelmed

The job descriptions of marketing director and the expectations placed on them are almost comical. They must not only perform the daunting tasks of moving the revenue growth needle and creating a funnel that supports your sales team, but also to oversee everything creative.

This could include collateral design, overseeing the design of your new website, copywriting, coordinating trade show appearances, and programming your lunch and learns all fall on the shoulders of a marketing director. Oh, and don’t forget they’re your blogger and social media manager. Let’s add onto that the company party planner, volunteer day t-shirt designer, and catch-all for anything else that requires Adobe Creative Suite.

Should you really be adding brand strategist to their job description? In fact, telling talent you’re expecting them to hit the ground running with a rebrand might dissuade them from joining your company altogether.

2 // The new Marketing Director will have limited familiarity

The rebranding process requires a lot of discovery. This means gathering your stakeholders for a meeting of the minds to understand both where you are and where you’re trying to be. This means asking really intrusive questions about your company, its services, clients, competitors, positioning, tactics and culture.

And while asking so many deep and difficult questions, a new marketing director might not be able to offer deep thoughts about the brand strategy of a company they’re barely familiar with. Regardless, during brand discovery, stakeholders will keep turning to the new guy/girl and ask, "What do you think?".

Additionally, the tenured team members and top executives, the very people who carry the most valuable internal insight, tend to bottle up because they don’t consider themselves creative marketers.

In fact, only 1% of employees feel extremely confident voicing their thoughts during critical company moments. Siloing the rebranding discussion within the marketing department is only likely to make that issue worse, not better.

3 // Marketing Directors are strategists and tacticians

Although marketing directors are quite familiar with the world of branding and its power, they may not necessarily be passionate about the more abstract side of it. Branding means researching audience sentiment, sharing things that may challenge stakeholders (their bosses!) and introducing a brand trajectory that may very well disrupt the cultural foundations of a business.

As tacticians and strategists, however, Marketing Directors are masters at implementing that brand, taking command over all your marketing channels, measuring their analytics, and making nips and tucks along the way that lead to more reach and bigger sales.

It's a mistake to expect a Marketing Director to build the plane they are expected to fly while they are trying to fly it.

4 // A rebrand will draw better Marketing Director candidates

As any business owner knows, the power of a strong brand will not only more effectively reach your audience but will also draw greater talent. Recent studies show that not only do applicants review website and social media materials of a company before applying for and accepting a job, but a proactive branding strategy reduces future turnover by 28%.

Any company that signals strong messaging, robust internal culture, dazzling collateral and delightful web experience will be at the top of the list for the best marketing directors out there. Also, most talented marketers are smart enough to avoid companies that lack in strong brand identity.

So, a rebrand before the new marketing director joins up may very well result in a better marketing director.

5 // A rebrand will quickly onboard a new Marketing Director

One of the efficiencies of a stellar brand is that it makes the onboarding process of new hires much simpler and much more effective. This is great news for a new Marketing Director, because they typically only get a week to learn the ropes.

Rather than spending their first several months trying to understand the company’s brand identity and culture, they can quickly start leveraging new tactics and start driving sales and growth more quickly. This is great, as most companies only dedicate a week to onboarding.

Rebranding is a delicate process. It can take months to get where you need to go, and even more to see concrete results. Waiting around for Cinderella while holding a slipper not many are willing to wear could be a devastating mistake that follows you through several quarters.

Are you ready to position your business for the perfect Marketing Director?