Rebranding was first introduced as a type of ‘makeover’ for a company where new graphics, slogans, and logos conveyed a change to the consumers. This strategy is most popular for businesses looking to attract new audiences, stay relevant in the market, or outside factors like acquisitions.
Today, rebranding isn’t limited to new logos or color palettes. It can be an essential change in the way you communicate with an audience, both in tone and method. Shifting the way you speak to your audience can increase engagement, elevate brand awareness, and introduce new or modernized messaging – but it’s not right for every situation. Let’s break down how you can decide if rebranding is right for you, and where to get started.
Time for a Change
Deciding to rebrand company messages and communication is not an easy choice, nor an easy fix, but sometimes it is a necessary move in the right direction.
If your social channels are looking like a highlight reel of other peoples’ ideas or success, it may be time to take a step back and brag about yourself. While engaging with other pages is good for networking and some audience growth, it can downplay your own success and lead confused followers into a competitor’s business. Having a cohesive look when sharing company news is an essential part of branding, and can help build a more loyal following.
Dips or plateaus in audience engagement could be a result of a change in audience, overused campaigns, or even mismatched branding efforts. Looking at each platform’s interaction rates is a key indicator as to whether your message is getting through to audiences, or if it gets lost in the crowd. You also need to look at what you are communicating about your brand. If the information being put out by the company no longer catches attention or doesn’t fit with brand goals or products, it’s time to revise written material.
Where Do I Start
As daunting as it may seem, look for one or two particular strengths and build off of those. If those strengths don’t feel like they’re doing enough, look to similar brands seeing success and see where you can improve. The key is to have a clear purpose in your rebrand, if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.
The people that best understand your business are the people that work with you, right? So, include them in the process. Asking employees’ opinions on branding and approaches is one of the best ways to get informed, honest feedback in addition to building community and appreciation between employees. They are the ‘real people’ in this equation that can help you better communicate changes to consumers and up the authenticity customers wish for.
Do some digging into your audience and competitors. What are they responding to from similar businesses? Has your target shifted and needs to cater to a different group? Understanding the audience is a fundamental piece of rebranding communication efforts.
Communicating Changes to Key Audiences
Deciding on a clear, uniform rebrand is only half the battle. Sticking to your decision throughout transition periods and criticism is essential to the effort and future success. Global healthcare organization, HIMSS, recently rebranded with remarkable success, but their SVP of Marketing and Communications noted, “You never forget that you are restructuring something that is living and breathing…There will be some pushback. Especially when you all are so committed and it really is a mission-driven organization.” Change is often feared and resisted but soldier on in confidence.
When thinking about how exactly you want to announce your rebrand, utilize each function available on social platforms and web services your business uses. To retain your IG crowd, introduce engaging ‘stories’ and revamp your typical post format. Twitter users love the flow of information, but stand out with polls, images, videos, and humor, if it feels right. LinkedIn is a great place to show off your employee’s hard work- especially if they share it to their own pages.
Avoiding the Extremes
When rebranding, it’s best to avoid the ‘extremes’ on either end of the spectrum. The first extreme happens when you lose sight of the difference between updating and overhauling. Straying too far from your brand’s original identity often ends in confusion and even less engagement than prior to the change. The other side of the spectrum is where rebranding feels applied to only a portion of the services and outreach. Brands can experience extreme pushback and outright criticism if they disregard international perceptions or customs, or attach themselves to products or people that make little to no sense. Disjointed efforts or new messaging has the same confused, isolating effect on consumers that overhauling does.
The foundation of a rebrand effort is the reason ‘why’ you are doing this. Without a confident, solid reasoning, everything built upon that could fail. Maintaining good intentions throughout the process is key, and as HIMSS’ SVP notes, “It’s really a rare opportunity to shift the core of your organization and to bring that business strategy to life which is the most important thing.” So, look to coworkers for support, prepare for the unexpected, and walk confidently into the future.