How to Effectively Communicate Your Rebrand

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Change is in the air as many brands have undergone a makeover in recent months. As About.com became Dotdash and the San Diego Chargers were relocated and renamed the Los Angeles Chargers, social media was bursting with thoughts and opinions on these rebrands. Even here at Cision, we’ve just gone through the process of rebranding (see our post on Tuesday that explains how we approached rebranding and best practices).

Although some rebranding is contractually obligated with an ownership change, many companies choose to overhaul their brand in order to reposition themselves in a crowded marketplace. The naming process itself requires a lot of heavy lifting, but so does the communication that must follow.

Read on to learn how you can tell your best rebranding story. 

Start with your employees

They are arguably your most valued stakeholder, as they embody your brand and share the story with customers. If your employees don’t understand or identify with your rebrand, no one else will. If time permits, try to involve them in the rebranding process. This could be as simple as getting feedback on a new logo design or conducting a mini focus group to see what your employees think about your company narrative.

For our rebrand launch, it was incredibly important to have our employees voice their views and opinions on our global brand and identity so that we can best serve our amazing clients. Using surveys, interviews and focus groups, we spoke to employees across different lines of the business and regions. It took a few months but was certainly worthwhile.

Tell all your stakeholders

Before you make the news public, share it with all important stakeholders. The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) recommends communicating the following in writing to all stakeholders:

  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Key objectives
  • Relevant research to demonstrate why you’re making these rebranding decisions
  • Changes in competitive positioning
  • Implications for specific departments

You should try to communicate your rebrand on as many marketing channels as possible like email, blog and social media to ensure users are well informed and can find your business. The more ways you reach out, the less confusing the change should be for customers. When WIND Mobile, a Canadian telecommunications company, became Freedom Mobile last year, they issued a press release which clearly outlined its brand change and reaffirmed its commitment to current customers. This was in conjunction with a newspaper ad that explained the changes, along with updated social media profiles and a website redesign.

Take all your properties into account

We all know that a rebrand is much more than just a logo change. There is a number of moving parts involved and you’ll need to take into account all the places where your old branding exists. For starters, you’ll need to make changes to the following assets:

  • Website
  • Marketing collateral (product sheets)
  • Letterhead & stationary
  • Social media accounts (usernames & logos)

To stay organized, consider making an Excel spreadsheet to keep tabs on all the pieces that need to be rebranded, along with any status updates you may have and who’s accountable for that piece of content.

COMPANY REBRAND EXAMPLE

Category Property Requirements Status

Website

Homepage New logo
Name change in copyright – bottom of page
Completed
About Us page New images
New copy
Blog New logo
Blog post explaining new changes
Editing

Social Media

Twitter New handle
Updated bio
Tweet explaining changes
New icon
Completed
Facebook New handle
Updated bio
Post explaining changes
New icon
Completed
LinkedIn New name
Updated bio
Post explaining changes
New icon
Completed

Stationary

Envelopes New logo
New company name
Letterhead New logo
New company name

If you plan to rename your social media handles, it might be good to pin a post to the top of your feed explaining that you’ve changed your name and then direct customers to a longer explanation elsewhere, perhaps on your blog or to your website.

Expect some resistance

Let’s face it – you can’t please everyone. Change takes time but to ensure continuity, you need to be prepared to defend your branding decisions at each and every turn. This is why having your employees on board is imperative to your rebrand marketing success. By spending considerable time on preliminary research and speaking with employees, customers and other key stakeholders, brands can be confident in their decision to make the right changes for their business.

For large companies, consider having brand ambassadors within each regional office who understand the brand journey and reasons why you’ve rebranded. They can help answer questions and address concerns locally while championing the brand to employees who may be attached to old messaging.

Some rebrands are born out of backlash. After the release of Super Size Me, McDonald’s began a long rebranding process, which included location renovations and more healthy food options for customers. The company also strived to be more transparent with its “Our Food, Your Questions” campaign, which included behind-the-scenes videos and infographics explaining its production process and allowed customers to have their questions answered in real-time by employees.

Conclusion

While rebranding is no simple feat, with the right planning and organizational processes in place, it can be a relatively smooth experience.



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