Much like spring cleaning, the time to rebrand inevitably rolls around. And with the biggest economic changes of COVID-19 still to come, now is the time to start planning for new ways of doing business. In the midst of this crisis, a rebrand might bring some welcome and refreshing excitement. But it’s important to do it right. And doing it right means handling communications effectively from concept to launch.
Some say a company typically rebrands every seven to 10 years. In reality, it’s not a time-bound decision. Rebranding is necessary when it’s a response to changing markets, outdated marketing, globalization, mergers, or other factors that shed new light on a company’s public identity. Successful rebranding is never a random tinkering with the logo.
“You have to change the guts first, and then update the skin to match it,” says Kelly Hyman. Hyman grew upas a child actress, but chose to follow a career path as media commentator and lawyer. “If you’re clear about the changes you’re making internally, it will be easier to communicate them to the outside world,” she says. Here’s how to keep communication central to your rebranding process.
ClueYour Staff In Early On
People naturally resist change, and your employees might not initially warm up to the idea of are brand. If you wait until it’s fully formed before dropping the news, it could leave them feeling alienated and resentful.
“Sometimes, employees are the last to know about a rebrand. That’s not good for morale,” says Susan McLennan, President of Reimagine PR. She cautions that it could engender feelings of resistance similar to those you might face from your customers. “The last thing you want is for your employees to feel confused, alienated or even left out of the revitalization of the brand.”
Instead, let them know early on that there’s a rebrand in the works. Include them by picking their brains for ideas, and encouraging creative participation. They’re not just furniture, after all. They are the company. They should be part of the brand, too.Internal communications come first. When your staff is cheering for your brand, it’s a good sign that it will fly.
Plan Everything in Advance
A rebrand should be company-wide, across all departments. In other words, this is not just a makeover. It’s a reprioritizing, a refocusing, a restructuring of values. When the film Super Size Me broadsided McDonald’s public image, the fast food titan countered by changing not their logo, but their menu. And they updated their interior design to include earthier tones, supporting the new idea that McDonald’s and good health are not mutually exclusive.
This kind of strategy takes thorough planning and execution, which starts with interdepartmental communications. Every facet of operations should support your new message.
TellYour Public the ‘Why’ Behind Your Rebrand
It’s important for your public to know what you’re doing differently, what’s staying the same, and why. If your rebrand is grounded in solid planning, these questions should be easy to answer in clear, concise ways that will get people excited about your business moving forward.
Expect a little backlash to any new logo. People will need time to settle into a new look. If there’s an extraordinary amount of criticism, then do pay attention. There have been instances like the Gap’s famous 2010 disaster where the logo was just poorly conceived and executed. But even a good logo change will provoke some complaints.
Customers need the security of knowing that key products and services will remain steady during the overhaul. If you’re an individual instead of a company, make the transition make sense for your public. The Rock, for example, went from football to wrestling to acting in natural stages, maintaining his penchant for showmanship the whole time. “I use a lot of my acting skills in the courtroom and on television as a legal analyst” says Kelly Hyman. “My clients know that my background, and my career rebrand, all serve one continuous narrative, one that sets me apart as a strong advocate.”
With your employees behind you and a solid plan in place, launching your rebrand will be exponentially more dynamic and meaningful. And you’ll be more likely to hit your targets. All your marketing materials will draw from changes that are already in place, providing your public with clear indicators of stable transition and growth. Although we’re facing an uncertain economic future, you can use this time to incubate the post-pandemic incarnation of your brand.