Rebranding sends a powerful message, serving as a bellwether of exciting things to come and a reminder of the need to keep moving forward, especially in this age of digital transformation.
When done well, rebranding can help set the tone for an organization and energize stakeholders, from investors and analysts to partners and employees. It is also an opportunity to uncover and activate a brand’s intangibles, demonstrating their value and sharing how they make a brand unique. Rebranding can strengthen market position, help achieve revenue targets, improve employee productivity, and drive growth.
So it is important to acknowledge the purpose behind rebranding while galvanizing teams around a clear approach to going about it. This simple framework highlights five best practices to keep in mind during any brand transition.
1. Tap audiences for input: You need to inform, educate, and inspire your employees and partners every day but especially at the start of a process that will affect your company’s positioning and culture. To ensure everyone has a voice, try sharing an employee survey that yields informed decision-making while garnering support throughout the entire rebranding initiative. Once you have reached internal alignment, turn your attention to board members, investors, partners, and current, past, and prospective customers to identify any nuances that may require a more personalized approach.
2. Articulate your reasons: From high-level strategy to day-to-day operations and culture, the new or refreshed brand should speak to every aspect of the business, positioning the brand as a protagonist representing as many stakeholders as possible and inviting everyone on a journey to discover new meaning, purpose, depth, and dimension. Ensure that your audiences are able to associate with the emergent brand ethos and that they are made aware of how the rebrand will benefit them.
3. Be transparent: Use timely and personalized communications for each audience, helping ease fear and instill confidence during this time of change. Questions are inevitable and actually signal interest, engagement, and the desire to be included and heard. While social media may generate awareness in a more participatory way, e-mail, social media, and other digital applications can inform existing customers in an effective, personalized manner. Every interaction is an opportunity to share the thinking behind the new direction and to gain consensus or feedback regarding the decision. If the reason for the rebrand is in service of overcoming a negative association or experience, never shy away from tackling this issue head-on. Acknowledge the rebrand as a vital step to becoming a clearer reflection of your brand’s vision, values, and promise.
4. Celebrate the best and leave the rest: Customers have come to know and trust your brand. For that reason, it is important to acknowledge and honor your heritage while looking forward to a promising future. A clear platform that includes rationale for business and brand decisions should be adapted by platform, channel, and media. This forms a virtuous cycle of targeted communication while utilizing the entire omnichannel ecosystem to paint a bigger picture of your new brand and your place in the market. This requires careful planning but also ensures that everyone understands the core values, intent, and rationale that have informed the new direction.
5. Live your brand: Strong identities bring brands to life and elevate them in the minds of customers. Transitioning a brand isn’t the beginning or the end of a conversation with your audiences. It’s a moment to be celebrated as well as taken seriously and a process that will help illuminate the essence of who you are and what you stand for. By encouraging continuous dialogue and fostering ownership, you create brand ambassadors and build loyalty. Your team and your customers will clearly see and understand how the brand touches every aspect of your culture and is represented across every communication and touch point.
What Success Looks Like
Getting it right requires a unified and shared vision, as well as alignment of individual roles and responsibilities across all stakeholders. It hinges on open communication. Success means you will have launched a new brand in a meaningful, relevant, and personalized way, without forfeiting brand equity or disrupting engagement. By spelling out your reasons why, you can empower your team to take the new brand and run with it. Clear guidance ensures brand elements are reinforced at every opportunity.
This is a unique time to create a compelling and memorable experience that expands what audiences know about you and to foster a greater understanding of your business and what the future holds. Rebranding can catapult your company and stakeholders to the next level, but only if you go about it strategically and for the right reasons.