Coming to a point where you have the feeling that something essential needs to be changed is a big deal to any business owner and rebranding is an important undertaking even for large brand names who have been on the market for years.
It is natural to feel uneasy about such changes when you know your audience got attached to your brand and that any step in the wrong direction can result in loss of their interest.
Losing a part of your customer base might not sound like something of great importance but these few voices can turn away a number of your current customers from you and stop recommending your products or services to prospective customers.
For the rebranding to go smoothly, here are some guidelines to consider.
Careful planning is everything
Hopefully, no one will take rebranding lightheartedly and try to go about it without a plan, however, a lot of people don’t think everything through. Your brand and business weren’t built overnight so the rebranding process cannot be done quickly unless you wish to risk your success.
You need to have a detailed plan including a timeline, a list of people and what their tasks would be. You would need to know who you are relying on for different segments of the process, such as the announcement preparation or answering press questions. Another essential aspect is to be prepared for any unexpected situations in terms of reacting quickly and making the plan flexible enough to sustain minor drawbacks.
Inconsistency is to be avoided
If you don’t take all segments into account, you might end up with more than a few inconsistencies which is something your business and brand might not be able to sustain. For instance, it may happen that you have already made a new logo and gone through with rebranding but you accidentally continued dealing out business cards with the old logo.
So, make sure that your email address and signature, business cards, internal and external documents, and other administrative items are all updated in accordance with the rebranding vision. Also, don’t forget to match domain names, site titles, keywords, and other web elements, as well as content guidelines, newsletter templates, and promotional materials.
Internal launch comes first
There is a practical reason internal rollout comes first – getting everyone on board doesn’t just mean your current customers but your company’s employees as well. Many business owners disregard the fact that the employees also have to understand and become a part of the changed brand identity because they are the mechanism that keeps everything going.
You can have the creative team explain the plans in detail to the other teams and hand out promotional materials such as branded promotional hats since such gifts will help the employees feel closer to the transformed brand. Then you should encourage feedback and questions and if you deem it would make them more honest, allow them to leave comments anonymously. In general, these activities will strengthen the bond they have towards your company.
External rollout as the key moment
On the day of the rollout, everything will run its course and there is little room for last-minute changes which is why the previous stages are so essential. If something unexpected happens, you need to avoid panicking or to have people around you to calm you down quickly because being the head of the process, you need to be composed and resolve anything that comes your way.
Before you give the green light, double-check if your promotional videos, newsletters and press announcements are ready or scheduled properly and that the content you would be sharing across different channels explain your brand’s evolution the way you want it to, as Mastercard did with an infographic. Stories grip people more than numbers so make sure you know your story in and out and the why’s and how’s of the rebranding process since you are the face of that re-birth.
Customers’ POV shouldn’t be disregarded
No matter how much you believe in this change you just made happen, you need to be prepared even for some whiplash since you can’t please everyone. We are by nature cautious when it comes to changes so some degree of audience dissatisfaction is to be expected. Although you may think that breaking it down to stages might help them embrace it better, it is actually more prudent to just rip the bandage so they can slowly get used to it and not risk creating confusion.
Transparency is necessary if you wish to preserve their loyalty and for them to expand your customer base. Also, it is vital you ensure they know all the vital details that concern them, such as changing their login information. And to get them on board as well, encourage feedbacks and embrace both positive and negative comments because they will facilitate this transition period and will perhaps serve as guidelines about what can be fixed.
If not done properly, rebranding can seriously affect the rapport with your customers, and consequently your revenue. Before embarking on this journey, make sure you have everything planned in detail and prepare a supply of enthusiasm and patience so you can achieve top-notch results. If you work meticulously to get everyone on board, then the rebranding will be an immediate success.
Rebranding goes hand in hand with marketing. For more on both topics, check out these articles:
5 Steps To Create A Social Media Marketing Strategy