“True re-branding involves updating a company’s goals, message and culture.”
- Luke Brassinga, Likeable Brands
So, you’ve decided to re-brand…
This is a big decision. Something has led you here…maybe a lot of personnel changes, a restructuring, an influx of new products and services. Or, maybe you just feel like your current brand isn’t cutting it. You’re not getting the volume of customers you used to, your logo is feeling a little old-hat or your just plain sick of associating yourself with the same tagline, colour scheme and artwork.
Whatever the issue, a re-brand can work wonders for your company or it could be a huge flop. Most of this depends on the thought, time, and creative juice you pour into the re-branding effort.
I’ve often heard ‘re-branding’ referred to as a corporate buzzword…just another one of those things upper-level management like to say to make nothing sound like something. You know, like ‘synergy’ and ‘participaction.’
Well, that isn’t true. Re-branding is a real, involved process. It’s risky, too.
The first thing you must decide in approaching a re-brand is why you want to do it…What has elicited the re-brand and prompted you to change? Once you know that, you can examine the best way to go about implementing change. Is this strictly an image-based re-brand? Are you creating a new tagline, more in-tuned with your company’s core values? Are you doing a website overhaul?
My advice for a successful re-brand is to go big or go home. You have to commit lots of time and thought to coming up with a new concept that works. Inevitably, you do have loyal customers who have become accustomed to a certain standard when interacting with your company’s brand. In re-branding, you don’t want to upset these customers, confuse or fluster them. You want them to have a clear understanding that your company is still upholding a high level of service, you’re just changing your look and feel to more poignantly communicate what makes you special; better than your competition.
Here’s how social media can help…
Extending the re-brand to your social media channels is a huge step toward making the whole process successful. Again, this stage can be daunting—you’ve gained followers with your existing brand. How do you know they’ll want you once you’ve changed? People have hopped off bandwagons because of botched re-brands. Anyone remember Cherry Coke?
The thought and commitment you applied to your re-brand needs to extend to your social media strategy. You need to ensure your fans and followers know why you decided to re-brand. If you don’t remain transparent throughout the re-branding process, you run the risk of confusing your followers and fans as to who you were and who you’ve become.
Make sure you announce your re-brand in the weeks preceding on your Twitter and Facebook. It’s a great way to generate hype and give your followers an opportunity to weigh in on what they’d like to see. Pick an aspect of your re-branded artwork or logo and design some new backgrounds, cover images and profile pictures for your social profiles. Drive traffic to your new imagery by asking your followers what they think of the new ‘look.’
Social media will be invaluable in promoting your re-brand, soliciting feedback on your company’s new identity and providing outreach for existing customers and followers who want to navigate your re-brand and explore your company’s new look and feel.
Some notable re-brands…
Keep in mind, these are just the logos. A lot more went into these corporate overhauls.
Tips for utilizing social media in your re-brand…
1/ Ask lots of questions. Every day.
If you want lots of feedback and a good read on how customers/followers are responding to your re-brand, you have to ask! Post questions on Twitter, Facebook and Google + with links to aspects of your new site, promo materials or logo. Leave your questions open-ended, give your followers a chance to express themselves. Not all the feedback you get will be constructive, but there’s a good chance at least one social media responder will give you something you can use…maybe something you hadn’t even thought of.
2/ Give your customers a voice and let them know they’re being heard.
Let customer/follower feedback be public. Even the things that aren’t overwhelmingly positive…and respond to everything thoughtfully. Imagine you were a loyal brand follower and then, out of the blue, everything you loved about that brand changed overnight—and you had no forum to express doubts, concerns or questions! Chances are, you may feel a little betrayed, out of the loop or confused.
Let your followers know you’re listening.
3/ Run a contest
Nothing gets people in a positive frame of mind like the chance to win free stuff. Put your new branded imagery to good use and develop a cool Facebook contest app that hypes the re-brand and gets people excited about your company’s new direction.
(Aside: Make sure your complying with Facebook’s contest guidelines. See Policy, procedure and the art of saving your hide)