May 9, 2022 | Branding
Rebranding a business or organization is a challenging and exhilarating process. It’s exciting to shed an old brand that no longer fits and replace it with an upgraded or new brand.
Most rebranding efforts involve a small group of team members. Here’s how to share the news with internal and external audiences so that the launch of the new brand is a success.
Open communication leads to a more successful launch of a new brand
Usually, a rebranding project involves a group of key employees from the leadership tier of the organization and people from marketing or communications. This makes sense because rebranding is an important strategic decision for an organization.
However, being too insular with your process means that you miss out on essential insights from other sources. Additionally, it can tell the result feels thrust upon and therefore rebelled against by people who were excluded from the process.
There are five key ways you’ll want to communicate about your rebranding plan, and it starts far before you’re ready to unveil a new name or logo.
- Gather input from employees or members
- Gather input from external sources and audiences
- Communicate progress on the project
- Plan for the roll-out
1. Gather input from employees or members
Depending on the size of your organization, people outside of the immediate group working on the rebranding project may have little or no knowledge of the planned rebrand. If possible, involve additional team members so that there is acceptance and excitement about the new brand in the works.
It’s better to involve employees early in the process rather than springing it on them once everything is complete. Also, we do NOT recommend having them vote on a new name or logo. Those types of ‘beauty contests’ rarely work out.
It’s much better to involve them in the strategic input that’s part of a branding project’s early and hugely important research and discovery phase.
Good questions to get input from employees include:
What do they hear from customers and clients about your brand?
Team members who directly work with customers and prospects probably have essential insights into how your brand is perceived in the marketplace. For example, they might hear remarks like, “I’ve never been in here before because I always thought you did something different.” Or, “I’ve seen your ads and thought….”
What are the most significant objections that arise in the sales process?
Not all sales objections can be addressed with a rebrand. But sometimes, it’s the mismatch between a prospect’s perception of a brand and the organization’s reality that makes a sale difficult. For example, if your visual identity screams ‘low cost’ but your prices are high, a more luxury-feeling brand would help you attract the correct type of prospects.
What other brands do they value or would they want to emulate?
It’s essential to understand who your direct competitors are. It’s also helpful to hear what other brands your employees, partners, and customers know and value. These can be important benchmarks for your rebranding process.
2. Gather input from external sources and audiences
Partners, customers, or vendors can provide a valuable exterior view that’s helpful in the rebranding process.
Getting outsiders involved with an important internal business project like rebranding can feel risky. But remember that the goal of your updated brand is to make it appealing to prospects, customers, partners, members, donors, etc. And as much as you try, you can’t always guess what’s most important to them.
Be careful how you solicit input. It should be targeted, so you get data and anecdotes about the perception of your brand. Too many external opinions have the potential to drive you off course because their ultimate goals and concerns may not match your business goals.
Again, the best way to gather external feedback is early in the process. You can survey or interview customers or partners and get input on these items:
What is their favorite thing about your company?
You may be able to use these memorable and positive traits as a nugget of something in your new brand. Great brands reflect honestly on the organization they represent. So if your clients and vendors are mentioning something about your products or how you work, it’s something that may be worth elevating to a core element in your brand.
Ask them to describe, in their own words, what you do. Or ask them what confuses them about your product or service.
Rebranding is not just about visuals. It is an opportunity to clarify and refine your brand messaging. You know your offerings inside and out, but you may be surprised how much confusion there is about precisely what you offer in the marketplace. Understanding what outsiders think of you and what they misunderstand about you can help you do better with this in your new brand messaging.
Now that you have relevant insights gathered from employees and external sources use these observations as guideposts in your rebranding process.
3. Communicate progress on the rebrand project
A rebranding project takes several months from start to finish. As you move through the process, it’s good to keep some internal team members up-to-date on your progress.
Who you tell depends on the size of your organization. Enormous organizations may not keep every employee apprised of the project, but small businesses should.
There are two good reasons for this:
- Open communication is almost always better than doing things in secret. Your employees or members will appreciate the transparency because it eases their minds about the coming changes.
- Your employees may think of some overlooked places that you’ll need to remember to prepare for. For example, your team may have forgotten that an online customer portal will need to be updated and requires help from an external IT vendor.
4. Plan for the roll-out
This is arguably the most critical step for successfully launching a rebrand.
Plan for the mechanics
Start by creating a list of all the places that need to be updated with your new brand. Here are some of the common ones to get you started:
- Business cards or printed marketing materials
- Social media channels. Do you need to rename your page or secure new handles in addition to adjusting any cover or avatar graphics?
- Business listings (if your name is changing)
- Email templates
- Letterhead, proposals, estimating templates
- Vehicles, uniforms, signs, tradeshow booths, etc.
Start writing your story
Your current brand is familiar. Rebranding means change, and change is notoriously difficult for humans. People may instinctively push back.
It often feels better if you can explain why you made the change.
There are two critical components to this story:
- explain why your old brand wasn’t a good fit and
- show why the new brand is a better asset to the organization.
To share why your old brand was not serving your organization, you can use ideas gathered during your input phase of work. These may be data points from a survey or quotes from interviewed people.
Then, paint the picture of how you want your brand to be perceived. Give specific details about why the new brand—the new name, logo, or messaging—better represents your organization and adds value to your business.
Schedule the launch
Don’t just decide, at the moment, to put your new logo on your website. Plan out the sequence of internal communications, external communications, and how the actual brand launch will happen (see below).
Find the right day for this big announcement and complex dance. Have all of your key employees and partners available at the critical time, not when someone is on vacation! If the rollout includes working with external vendors, make sure they understand the essential nature of the deadline and are available with the right resources.
Also, think about what happens with old assets. For example, if you change your name and domain name, remember that someone should have your old website redirect to your new one.
5. Launch your rebrand!
There will probably be one day when you formally announce your rebrand and update your marketing and communications channels. You may be imagining a big ‘reveal,’ but you’re more likely to have a smooth and successful launch with a more planned and measured approach.
Here are the key steps:
Start telling people that change is coming
You don’t have to reveal the new name or new logo, but about 1-2 weeks in advance, tell them an exciting announcement about a rebrand is coming soon. You can do this by email or speaking directly with key partners or customers.
Queue up the new brand
Get your most visible external channels ready. Have everything prepped for your website, social media channels, and physical location changes. If you’re changing domain names and social media channels, it’s OK to turn them live a couple of days in advance. This will ensure that they are ready on launch day. Have them written, formatted, and ready to go if you plan to send a mass email or make a social media announcement.
Share the news
On launch day, let everyone know and tell the story you crafted in advance.
Continue to remind people
Keep reminding people of the connection to your old brand in your marketing and communications, especially if you have a new name. For example, on your website’s home and about page, you should mention any previous names for your organization for at least one year. You may be surprised how many people aren’t paying attention to your rebrand.
Rebranding takes a lot of effort, time, and money to complete. Still, suppose it moves your organization from feeling disconnected from its brand to feeling excited and proud of its brand. In that case, it will be a worthwhile investment and a business asset that increases in value over time. Make sure you celebrate the hard work and new beginnings that are part of a rebrand.