Communicating a name change to a business, brand or product is not an exercise to undertake without comprehensive research and planning. Many believe a simple marketing communications plan is sufficient. However there as numerous aspects to consider and a change involves a wide array of challenges and obstacles. But when done right, a change can bring exciting new opportunities for growth.
Careful planning is essential. A conscientious focus on budgets and strategic milestones for implementation will help ensure an effective rebranding process that customers will understand and appreciate.
Branding is more important today than ever before, and your company’s name is the public face of your brand. Changing it requires a thoughtful approach that ensures your investment pays dividends.
The whole process must ensure you build on the trust you already have with your audiences.
Find & Know Your Why
Good Communication is Key
Communication is both internal and external, only carrying out one will not produce a successful name change. Without having internal stakeholders on board any marketing communication will be significantly less effective.
Customers who are already loyal to the brand deserve to be informed about the upcoming changes. It is essential to assure current customers that the pivot will result in a positive transformation and will not affect the service and commitment that the business has demonstrated thus far.
When announcing the change to customers consider your relationship with your audience, then consider which of the following are best: business’ blog, email announcements, regular mail, social media and press releases can all be effective communication methods. The key is to communicate the new brand to all your customers so there’s no confusion. Keepingyou’re your audiences informed will prevent any backfire and less frustration. The more your customers know about your marketing activities, the more they’ll appreciate the changes and improvements. Remember that most people need to be communicated with three to seven times for a change to be accepted and understood, so plan accordingly.
The key to the success of a name change, however, hinges on how well you communicate that change to employees, customers and partners. Creating a communications plan that includes six key steps will help your organization’s name change go off without a hitch.
Begin with your employees.
Your teams are the face of the organization to customers and partners alike, and it is of critical importance that they understand why the name is changing and be able to explain it, succinctly. Hold staff meetings and offer Q&A sessions to help your teams understand why the change is important – and do this well in advance of launching the new company name. Provide talking points for employees at all levels, and make sure that any policies about speaking to the media are understood throughout the organization.
Inventory your marketing materials.
From your website to business contracts and company letterhead, minimize confusion or inconvenience for your customers. Don’t forget about social media profiles and email signature lines. Any collateral in use needs to be reexamined and rebranded.
Announce the name change publicly, with a multichannel approach.
If you are notifying customers by email, follow up with a letter mailed to their place of business. Reach out to relevant media with a press release and consider placing an ad in key publications, if the name change is a significant one. Use your website to host the press release, FAQs, a video and a letter from the CEO. Explain the rationale behind the name change, but in less detail than you did with employees.
Announce it again, in another way.
There is no such thing as overcommunication when announcing a business name change. Remember three to seven times for the average person to acknowledge and remember the message.
Flip the switch.
Pick a day for your switchover and ensure that your customers, partners and suppliers see your new name, not the old one, on all marketing materials. Many organizations have a transition period in which materials have a message along the lines of “new name, same excellent service,” or a temporary logo that incorporates the old and the new, but all materials and communications should switch over to the new name at the same time.
Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with customers and get out in front of new ones. Consider hosting an event to celebrate the launch, such as a happy hour or meet and greet. Or perhaps offer a promotion or discount aligned with the announcement. Don’t forget to reach out to industry and local media to not only announce the name change but also invite them to any events or offer any promotions.
Applying Your Changes to Your Website
Start redesigning the other aspects of your website, such as fonts, color schemes, and even the site’s functionality and usability. Make sure the new site is just as (or more) attractive and usable as the old site. Your goal is to keep attracting leads and maintaining existing customers, so don’t lose your website’s appeal, ease of use, and readability.
Applying Your New Brand to Your Social Media
After your website has been overhauled with your new brand, apply the rebranding to your LinkedIn page, Facebook Page, Twitter, YouTube Channel, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest. But be careful. When a company is well established within its industry and market, the social-media rebranding process needs to be done with care and intelligent timing. Applying the new brand to every social channel all at once will leave no trace of the familiar brand, which will create frustration and confusion for most customers. On the other hand, introducing the new branding too slowly will make it difficult for customers to differentiate between the new brand and the old. So create a timing strategy that’s neither too abrupt nor too slow.
Ensure that all your business listings such as Google My Business are all switched over on the same date as your social media profiles.
Applying Your New Brand to Your Printed Materials
Even in this digital age, sell sheets and other sales tools play an important role. To reduce the number of customers that need to be informed of your new brand, it’s important to introduce the brand to your prospects and leads via printed materials. Be sure to focus on all collateral used by your sales force, such as business cards and any brochures and stationary they may carry. From major changes like your new logo, down to the small aspects such as rounded corners, treat every detail as important. Customers and leads will notice it all.
Applying Your New Brand to Your Company Uniforms
In many ways, your company’s uniforms are an effective means of communicating your new brand. Simple aspects such as the new logo and updated colors stand out significantly on new company uniforms. Remember, it’s important to tell your staff to reflect your company’s new brand with pride by being in full uniform and wearing it neatly.
Applying Your New Brand to Your Company Vehicles
Professionally designed vehicle wraps are effective platforms for displaying your new brand. Local businesses reach large numbers of people through the advertising on company cars and vans. By conspicuously placing the new colors, logo, and other design elements onto your vehicles, you instantly gain affordable marketing. For the maximum effectiveness, apply wraps to your entire fleet of company vehicles. This will provide the highest impact for your new brand as your cars and vans are seen throughout your local areas of operation. If your business’ vehicles already display messaging with your old brand, consider removing the old and replacing it with new wraps. Or, if your company will soon be replacing its cars and vans with new vehicles, you might decide to wait until you can apply your brand to the updated fleet.
Applying Your New Brand to Your Company Signage
Don’t neglect to rebrand your signage! And don’t cheat. Your customers will notice if you force a different logo onto an old, existing sign at your storefront. So if necessary, order a new sign that’s designed specifically to fit the new logo. And, as always, make sure the sign is attractive and minimalistic. Don’t cram too much information into too small of a space.
Enjoy the Process!
Yes, a name change or rebranding is a laborious process with a lot of moving parts. You’re sure to feel overwhelmed at times. In moments of stress, remember that the change is there to help your business grow and with careful planning and smart work, it will be a success. Remember to enjoy the process, and look forward to the benefits your company will enjoy once the dust has settled and your work is done.
As always if you feel you need support or guidance with any aspect of growing your business please reach out and connect.
April 20th, 2021