Rebranding can be an overwhelming process that shines a light on a company’s challenges. Too often, it can cause turmoil and tension among lead decision-makers. Aspirational transformation can be narrowly perceived as idealistic, costly and too time-consuming. But to succeed in today’s rapidly changing landscape, transformation is mandatory. Staying ahead of customer expectations, technological advancements and marketplace competition is imperative to ongoing success.

Although the process of rebranding may seem daunting, companies have existing core strengths that shouldn’t be ignored or overlooked. A brand’s legacy provides a solid foundation for aspirational evolution and continued business growth. Leveraging those core strengths guides the brand evolution process and ensures a positive and consistent experience for your customers.

To integrate legacy with aspirational transformation, consider three of the most powerful tools in your belt for building upon the core strengths of your brand: a strategic vision for the future, engaged employees and loyal customers.

Strategic Vision
As your company looks toward the future and prepares to evolve the brand, continued success lies in being equal parts realistic and aspirational. Recognizing strengths and owning up to flaws provide a path for authentic and impactful transformation. It’s not necessary to implement all changes immediately. But having a strategic plan in place for how the organization will align with the aspirational elements of the brand can ease the task of prioritization.

By engaging your leadership team, you can take a cascading approach to how changes are planned, communicated and implemented across the organization. Remaining agile and revisiting strategic goals on a regular basis is essential to staying focused and forging ahead. Tracking and reporting on progress keeps all stakeholders accountable and working toward the same shared vision for transformation and growth.

Engaged Employees
It’s no surprise that when brand strategies are championed by employees, they are powerful business drivers for growth. Employees who are bought into the brand are inspired to deliver the brand promise to your customers. To achieve this, the brand strategy must be activated across the organization through internal engagement initiatives. From hiring and employee on-boarding practices to ongoing employee engagement and communication, there are many opportunities to get your employees on board and on brand.

It’s just as important that employees understand the foundational strengths of the brand, while also having insight into the areas that are aspirational. Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to improvement sends the signal that you’re “keeping it real,” and not shying away from flaws. And being transparent throughout the process will help employees adapt to changes faster and more willingly.

Loyal Customers
Today’s customers are in a constant state of evolution. The way they interact with technology is shifting rapidly, and they have easy access to information that impacts their decision-making and buying processes. Customer expectations are high, and there is a growing sensitivity to brands that break promises. In fact, 90 percent of customers who encounter a broken promise ultimately switch companies, or seriously consider it. In order to retain customers, your foundational brand promises must be kept, and should serve as guideposts for improving the brand experience.

To stay ahead of customers’ changing needs and expectations (and to win their loyalty), you must constantly assess brand relevance. Are your products and services continuing to be relevant and valuable in your customers’ lives? Do adjustments need to be made to evolve the product offering and delivery of services? Be ready to integrate improvements into the customer experience. Implementing effective, insight-driven customer engagement strategies and working to continually uncover revelations about their needs, desires and behaviors is imperative to the evolution of your brand. Understanding your customers and keeping up with their needs should be viewed as an ongoing, mission-critical initiative.

Transformation is challenging. But it is a process that builds upon the good and develops over time. A strategic vision, engaged employees and loyal customers are equally important factors when it comes to rebranding. By aligning the current state of your brand with the aspirational elements across all three factors, you will remain grounded and focused on delivering an authentic and enhanced brand experience for the future.