Whether your rebranding decision is driven by a merger or acquisition or competitive reasons that necessitate refreshing your brand image in the marketplace, irrespective of the catalyst for change, rebranding strategies require time and research to be done right: Setting your rebrand strategy is just the beginning. Below is our guide to executing a seamless rebrand, including a review of the channels and materials affected and recommended best practices for managing the transition.
1. Engage cross-functional stakeholders. Gather your organization’s cross-functional leaders and identify what internal and external audiences should be notified about your rebrand. Then define the paths for notification. For example:
- How will customer service and/or marketing manage the brand transition with end-customers?
- How will you notify suppliers, distributors and partners?
- Are your operations prepared to accommodate any increased demand for your product or service resulting from the rebrand?
2. Identify the affected marketing channels, including:
- Customer communications (billing statements, call center IVR/phone systems, transactional emails)
- Organic communications (traditional and mobile websites, social media, landing pages, online communities)
- Paid advertising (print, TV, radio, Internet, paid search)
- Product packaging (if your product is software, you will also need to update any brand instances within the user interface, including brand colors and graphic elements)
3. Take an inventory of the branding materials that need to be refreshed. [Tip: If you already have one, your marketing resource management system is a go-to resource for locating existing marketing materials to be refreshed, such as old taglines and logos]
- Business cards
- Direct mailers
- Invoices/billing statements (print and electronic)
- Presentation templates
- Product manuals/specification sheets/warranty registration
- Product packaging/shipping materials/insertions
- Promotional materials
4. Develop a communications plan. Once you’ve taken an inventory of all the items needing to be refreshed and prepared your new materials, the next step is to create a plan for communicating your rebrand to internal and external stakeholders. Seattle’s Best Coffee President Michelle Gass recommends finding a creative way to tell the story that illustrates your decision to rebrand, such as the YouTube video created to announce the rebrand of Seattle’s Best Coffee. Your communications plan should also define branding guidelines for your employees and include a strategy and schedule for updating your social media: Francis Moran & Associates offers expert tips for rebranding through social media to help ensure a smooth transition.
5. Safeguard the details until launch. Keep your new brand under wraps until the launch by sharing information about the brand on an as-needed basis only prior to your internal and external launch dates; this will also help protect your new branding from leaking to competitors prematurely.
6. Manage the rollout with a marketing resource management system. A marketing resource management system is a powerful platform for launching your new brand materials. Marketing materials can be uploaded prior to the launch of your new brand and automatically switched over on your specified rollout date and time. Marketing resource management systems can also be used to ship rebranded materials on a specific date or to ensure that rebranded materials cannot be ordered until a pre-scheduled date. This functionality is especially useful in making certain that distributed sales channels adopt the new brand. Finally, marketing resource management systems help to locate, update, and customize materials over time, with the convenience of integrated workflows to manage the approval process. Additionally, a full-service MRM partner can provide third party assistance helping to update materials with your new branding.
While this list is not exhaustive, above we have outlined the major channels and materials affected in a rebrand. As this blog demonstrates, there are many considerations and factors involved in any rebranding process, beyond the complex preliminary steps of identifying the business case and objectives for rebranding.
Have you rebranded before? Which of the above steps have been most effective in your transition?