When undertaking a rebrand, a critical part of the process is communicating what has changed. It is vital that the strategic intent of the rebrand is clear, both externally, to your customers and internally, to your employees.
Change can be daunting, especially for long serving employees and loyal customers who have developed an emotional connection with the existing brand and may be reluctant to embrace the change. A rebrand can only be successful if each and every member of the organisation is on board and stands behind the rebrand. This includes the C-Suite right through to the front-line staff dealing directly with customers. A team that is part of the process and fully understands the journey of the rebrand will be more likely to embrace it and advocate it to customers.
A rebrand announcement needs to create excitement, but it also needs to be clear and consistent.
If a rebrand is well planned and executed, then the communication part should be a lot easier. Ensuring that all of the assets are up to date and internal stakeholders are fully briefed, with a clear understanding of the new brand and expectations, will smooth the roll out of the new brand externally to your customers.
It is important to explain the strategy behind the rebrand decision. For example, this might be through M&A activity, a consolidation within your brand portfolio, a new strategic direction, a new product/service offering or in response to a changing business environment. Ultimately, explaining why a change has occurred is as important as explaining what is changing.
Brand changes can be confronting for both internal and external audiences, especially if there isn’t clarity around what is changing. Whether it is a proactive or reactive brand change, setting clear expectations about the role of brand in your organisation going forward and then providing reassurance throughout the change process is critical. Some organisations like to showcase a before and after approach, so that consumers and the internal team can associate the old with the new and get an understanding of the strategy behind the rebrand.
There are certain fundamentals of your business and brand that should very rarely change, such as your purpose and the reason why you exist for your employees and your customers. A rebrand signifies a significant change in your market positioning, but it shouldn’t change the intrinsic and enduring aspects of your organisation.
A brand change is a unique opportunity to thank your internal and external audiences for their ongoing commitment to your business. Brand changes represent a different direction for your business and their ongoing, enduring support through the process will be critical in the success of the launch.
A rebrand gives you a positive reason to communicate and they are often used to build renewed interest in your brand and to remind your customers of your offering and the benefit you bring. Why should your audiences be interested in this change? What is the underlying benefit that they receive from this change? Often, this benefit is as simple as a renewed energy from employees, and for customers the sense of engagement with the brand they are choosing to align themselves with, which will positively influence their service experience.
As part of your rebranding launch communication, there may be opportunities for increased exposure for the brand via PR and media exposure. Key messages should be clearly communicated to media via a press release. It may also be useful to put together a brand kit for media and partners to access the assets they need to keep the communication consistent.
Your budget will drive how quickly the message will resonate to the market; however, some organisations may not want to make too much of a splash at this early stage.
A rebrand is often one of the first elements in a changing strategic direction for your organisation. There are many more exciting things to follow on from the initial change, and this is an opportunity to keep them engaged by teasing for further exciting initiatives within your organisation down the track.
Finally, your internal and external audiences will have questions (and potentially concerns) that still remain unanswered. Demonstrating accessibility at this point is important and transparency from your business leaders in this period of change is essential. Once the rebrand is launched it is important to monitor the responses, not just immediately, but over time. Some brand measurement may also be required to determine how the rebrand has been received or whether you need to further tweak the messaging or ramp up the communication to have it embraced further.
A rebrand is a significant process and should not be taken lightly. It is critical to get the communication and messaging right in order to assure your customers that the pain of change will be minimal, that the best characteristics of your organisation will stay, and that the attributes they value most will continue on.
It is also important to engage your employees in this process and ensure they are taken on the journey. They will act as advocates for the new brand if they understand and believe in the process and have been communicated throughout.
At BrandMatters, we specialise in strategic rebranding, which includes planning how to best communicate your rebrand to all of your key stakeholders – shareholders, customers and your employees.