A Southpaw perspective on rebranding your agency

Earlier this year, full service marketing agency Nexus/H completely rebranded to become Southpaw. Here, Tom Poynter, group managing director, offers his top tips for rebranding an agency…


The 80/20 rule applies

Don’t find excuses to delay the re-launch. 80 per cent readiness is more than ok. Beta versions of new systems/processes mean you can get going. Striving for perfection in all things prior to launch leads to missed deadlines and frayed nerves. Get on with it – you can always tinker and add the pixie dust you’re looking for once live.

“This project is a client!”

Don’t let the rebrand get bumped off the agenda by the day-to-day demands of the agency.  This project is critical, is time-sensitive and needs to take an equal priority to client work.  Force the agenda with your agency influencers, drive it from the top down and don’t accept any blockers or bullshit.

Rip up the drains

This is your one shot to drive change, make a difference and be noticed.  Don’t just jump in with lots of clever ideas, words and naval gazing. Start with a cold, hard look in the mirror and honestly assess where are you today, where do you want to be more tomorrow, how will you differentiate in your category and how will you get noticed. If you need to get out of the agency and go offsite to find the head space you need, then do it. Develop your brand ladder, have a three year vision, identify your strengths, understand your weaknesses and define a plan to get the agency “match-fit” in time for launch.

Change everything

Out with the old and in with the new.  From branded bags, memory sticks, letter-headed paper, right through to people not fit for the future – it all has to go.  Be ruthless (we had three skips) and clear it all out.  You need to create a sense of “this is really happening” within the agency to get out of the blocks early and with impact.

Bring the agency on the journey  

Don’t keep the rebrand a secret. Break your departments down into small working groups to shake out the true implications (and costs) of re-branding for each function within the business. Once the core strategy is set, it’s time to “open up the kimono” and have the talent within the agency contribute ideas and insights that you never would have discovered on your own.

Launch and celebrate

Rebranding is a demanding experience, so, when the launch finally arrives, try to enjoy the moment and clear at least one night (and morning-after) from your schedule to celebrate and get annihilated with your team.


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