From Uber to CareerBuilder to Google / Alphabet, organizational branding has been a top priority lately. Companies change brands for a variety of reasons, including mergers and acquisitions, reputation issues, or changes in strategy.
Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that a brand change is an important – and expensive – decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Among the various areas to address, here are five critical tasks for a successful brand.
1. Collection of information
What needs to change? How do we get there? To get the answers, it is important to note the following:
- Key internal stakeholders who have a deep understanding of your company’s strategy. His insights often shed light on follow-up surveys among other prominent target groups.
- Team members. Make sure you collect enough demographic information (how long have they been working and what role? And so on) to understand the context of your answers.
- Customers, especially the type of companies that focus on their future strategy. As with the employee survey, it is important to assess their brand perception at this time, along with whether it is linked to any of their ambitious qualities.
- Market experts and analysts to learn more about the landscape.
Often an important result is whether the renaming also involves a renaming. In other words, are your company’s perceptions so imbued with your old positioning/reputation that they cannot be dismissed?
Furthermore, competitive analysis is an essential part of information gathering. Work with your team to understand the market, including how competitors communicate and visually represent themselves, so you’re prepared to differentiate yourself.
2. Positioning Development
To create a strategic and competitive position, bring your business and market perspectives together into key insights.
Another step is to collaborate on a positioning statement—an internal statement that identifies your company’s audience, structure, rewards, and value. While concise (usually a sentence!), it is important to measure the impact of each word so that we can articulate and justify its inclusion in the organization as a whole.
3. Create a brand identity
This stage is particularly exciting; here, strategy, positioning, and intangible vision are translated into a concrete visual identity and possibly a slogan. Here are some suggestions:
- Take core values into account. It’s important to populate your brand identity with the core values your company has identified. (For example, at Brainshark we are “energetic”, “expert” and “collaborative”, so we assess our position and brand identity at each stage, taking these characteristics into account.)
- Do your homework. As mentioned, research the market to differentiate yourself in the assessment of positions and a new visual identity/logo.
- Don’t underestimate color and its ability to indicate features. Use color whenever possible to convey core values and consider whether your palette will be different from the competition.
- Location, location, location. Think of the different places/scenarios where your brand will appear, eg a logo on your website, icons on Twitter and other social media sites, etc. You may need to create different icons that are visually appropriate for different scenarios.
- Test: Test your position, branding, and slogans with the target audience. Does it reflect your core values? Are you talking about your audience’s weaknesses? Be careful? Hopefully a final “yes” is the first step. Collect feedback in a way that can be easily shared with stakeholders across the organization.
4. Content development
As you apply your new placement and logo to all of your content and campaigns, be prepared for a growing list of elements that need changing – from your website to business cards, email signatures, and more!
One of the main tasks of content: The creative team must develop style guidelines for distribution throughout the organization. You might also consider creating an internal ‘brand book’, which summarizes all the work around the brand to create an emotional bond. At Brainshark, we’ve also created a branding video to convey our new identity and generate excitement and to share on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and more.
5. Activating the brand
Content also contributes to a successful internal implementation. Create and share a FAQ and issue “brand ambassadors” from each section to answer questions about the new brand and how to apply it. If these ambassadors were involved from the beginning as information and feedback channel, that’s even better, because it’s important to keep employees informed and build enthusiasm.
Try to create a buzz for this by revealing the new brand internally. For example, we held our annual corporate event at Boston’s famous Fenway Park and unveiled the new logo on the scoreboard. Employees were thrilled! While in-house development can take many forms, you can also build excitement with promotional products—notebooks, mugs, fleece, USB chips, etc. – with the new brand.
From the day of the public launch, the entire company must be a brand ambassador. Take steps to ensure they describe your business the same way – whether they are prospects or attending a cocktail party. Of course, make sure your customers are aware too, with easy access to your blog post, newsletter, or other communication announcing the change.
In addition to the public launch, you need to run a branding campaign; However, keep in mind that all of your subsequent campaigns, if executed correctly, will feature the new brand, which will increase overall brand awareness.
The most important question (and the core of your brand): How do you know if you’ve had an impact?
It’s important to get a basic measure of new brand recognition. Then assess brand awareness at appropriate intervals to determine if your marketing campaigns are working as expected.
In the course of a brand rebrand, marketers must be willing to take on many roles – switching between departments to ensure the new brand is reflected, for example, in their internal software applications, the production organization, and even, if applicable, at your board office.
If you plan carefully, make informed decisions, and agree along the way, your brand should add value. Power!