Brand to Believe In: 5 Tips for Successfully Rolling Out Your Brand
An internal brand rollout is not about the stuff. It’s not just about the new logo, colors, ads, website or coffee mugs. It’s about the promise that you make to your customers and clients. And the people who work at your organization are the ones who make that promise happen.
Why are most internal rollouts met with a yawn? It’s because they are slapped together at the end of a long process and usually given a very modest budget. Additionally, what is obvious to senior management about how the company is viewed and how customers buy is not top of mind for most employees. So all too often, everyone assumes one communication is enough. But it simply isn’t.
If employees don’t believe in the brand promise or can’t even explain it, then the entire rebrand has a good chance of failing. On the other hand, if employees get behind the rebrand messaging, they will double up their efforts to live it. Employees of all ages are inspired by a company where leadership has a vision and a plan.
So what are some of the tips to keep in mind when doing a rebrand?
1. Overcome internal skeptics by selling them on, not just telling them about, the new brand
Internal skeptics are lurking around every corner, so it’s critical to overwhelm them with reasons to believe the rebrand is a smart step. First and foremost, the rebrand communications should be handled by Marketing, not HR. Why? Marketing is skilled at selling. And a rebrand requires selling the promise of value in a way that is authentic and will resonate with both internal audiences and buyers.
Although Marketing should create the rollout strategy, the messages should be delivered by your CEO, not your CMO. A rebrand is about vision. It is about values. It is about the future of your organization, and it warrants the top dog delivering the message.
Don’t skimp on the internal rollout budget. Internal audiences will notice if they only get a cheesy, poor-quality T-shirt and memo about the rebrand. They will just assume that the rebrand is not all that important. Make sure the materials you provide employees have been given as much thought as the external campaign. Internal communications must be true to who you are and have wit, clarity and some real punch. They shouldn’t cause people to yawn.
2. Align rebrand messages with internal realities
Clients and employees need to hear the same messages. For example, you can’t go to market with a message that your company is all about “innovation” when you have no internal R&D budget and your compensation systems only reward sales or the billable hour.
Invest the time to make sure key stakeholders have really thought through how the rebrand trickles down to every corner of your operations. The devil is in the details, not just in the obvious brand tools like a website.
3. Empower employees to deliver what marketing campaigns promise
Once you’ve aligned your messages so that the internal and external mantras are the same, make sure your employees can deliver on the new brand promises.
What actually needs to change in the way you do business to ensure that the brand promise happens? Do you need new tools? Are new motivational approaches in order? Is there a game plan to deal with naysayers and disrupters?
4. Celebrate. Give the brand rollout energy – and do it in person
Don’t just make the rollout a step on a checklist. Rather, carve out time and a place to celebrate the strengths of your organization and thank your employees. Make it fun. Make it clear how the rebrand helps build a stronger and better company. Your employees are essential in making the brand come alive, and they must be on board.
Give brand ambassador awards that are fun and meaningful. Everybody likes to win something, and your rebrand can be a catalyst for employees to see the company differently.
5. Reinforce the brand forever
The hardest work on a rebrand starts the minute you roll it out. You’ve got to keep reinforcing it to your internal audiences. And as you hire new employees, you’ve got to make sure they are a good fit. Carve out a physical area of your offices devoted to brand values and real stories about how the brand is working. And update it often.
A rebrand without a serious internal rollout and buy-in is like building a house that looks great on the outside, but when you open the door, there is nothing there.
A rebrand is too important to be handled casually. It’s a strategic business decision that requires buy-in from your whole organization, top to bottom. Selling it to your own people is every bit as important as selling it to your customers.