This blog is a repost from a couple of years back, but we thought it would be good to reexamine the rebranding process in light of our recent refresh.
Rebranding from the Inside Out
Rebranding a brand or a company is arguably one of the most difficult challenges that communicators will face. It’s more than changing a logo and a name. It’s changing attitudes and perceptions that are oftentimes deeply embedded in the minds of consumers. Additionally, if a company has decided to rebrand, many times they are also ready for a shift in company values, which is a huge undertaking.
This post will not help you decide if it’s time for your brand or company to rebrand itself. That’s a completely different discussion. But it will provide a guide post for how you should start your journey. And trust us, it is a journey.
Once you’ve made the decision to rebrand – and gone through the rigorous process of what you want your new brand to convey, and what that means to your company culture and customers – it’s time to bring it to life. To start, the single most important step to a rebrand is to get your staff on board with the impending change.
The very first audience for any brand is its employees. The people who spend their working days entrenched with the products, service and communications of your company. They are the front line – the originators of your word-of-mouth marketing.
If a random person from the street asks one of your employees why the company logo changed, you don’t want the answer to be, “I don’t know. They just did it.” By being upfront, honest and including your people along the way, you’re much more likely to roll out a successful rebranding campaign.
Not sure where to begin? Let us give you a few pointers on places to start.
Straight from the horse’s mouth.
Don’t let the way that your staff finds out about an upcoming change be from an outside source. Anytime a company has news that will have a great impact on everyone involved, it should come from the highest authority possible within that company. It gives the news credibility and helps to nip rumors before they can begin. Nothing adds to bad morale like employees feeling like they are out of the loop. It’s like finding out that your best friend is moving to a new house from a mutual acquaintance. Why didn’t they tell you first?
For the same reasons as hearing the news from the head honcho, be as transparent about the upcoming changes as possible. Avoid the rumor mill by communicating why the change is happening, when it will happen, and what this means for people within the company. Obviously, sometimes not everyone needs to know everything and sometimes you won’t have all the details figured out, but at minimum be honest with your employees. If you are hoping to complete the rebrand in 9 months, but it may take longer, say that. Hearing the who, what, when, where and why from company leadership is always better than hearing tidbits of information at the watercooler on the third floor.
The more your employees feel like they are part of the change the more they will get behind it. No one likes to feel like they are on the outside of something important. They want to be part of the change – to feel like they are making a difference.
An employee that is passionate about his/her company can be one of the most persuasive outlets for your message. So once you’ve got your employees on board with the rebrand and feeling like they are part of it, use it! Make your employees part of the plan to communicate the rebrand to your external audiences and consumers.
Have an Open Door
This is critical throughout the process. At every step of the way, people need an avenue to voice their opinions. Are you going to make every single change that people suggest? Of course not. Are you going to be able to respond to every comment? Probably not. But creating an environment in which team members feel comfortable sharing their opinions can give you two things: insight into your company morale, and potentially a solution to a problem you didn’t know you had.
There are loads of ways to execute these five pieces of advice into an internal campaign. You can hold internal focus groups, town hall meetings, team building exercises, and so on. Whatever makes sense for your company to communicate your goals and how you’re going to get there to your team.
Every company will be different, but the bottom line is – no matter what industry you’re in – if your employees don’t believe in what you are doing, neither will your customers. When rebranding, make sure your employees back the change, or they’ll be in line with your critics.