Top 5 Lessons Learned from Rebranding
As many of you know, we recently underwent a major rebrand, changing our name from Studio Graphique to Guide Studio and revamped our logo, website and visual identity. While we have worked with countless clients on major rebranding projects, we’ve learned so much in going through this process ourselves. It has been quite an undertaking! Now that some of the dust has settled, we’ve been able to take some time to reflect on our experience. Here are some of our major takeaways about how to execute – and manage – a successful rebrand.
1. Know why you’re rebranding
Before diving into the rebrand process, explore why a rebrand is necessary with your colleagues and even a third-party consultant. A rebrand should happen when you realize your existing brand no longer mirrors who you are today and where you are going. Whether you are adding new products/services, merging with another company or seeking new clientele, it’s important develop a clear rationale for making such a big change. In many cases, a rebrand can give your business a big boost, but it can also be confusing to your current followers who love the “old” you. An authentic and well-thought explanation will go a long way for getting them onboard with your big news.
2. Give it plenty of time
A rebrand doesn’t happen overnight, and changing your name and logo are just the beginning. Now that you’re committed, you need to plan to update your website, sales collateral, office decals, tradeshow booth, advertising, signage, social media, legal documents, checks and more if you’re going to do this right. Whatever time frame you currently have in mind, you may want to double it to give yourself a long enough runway to get everything done.
It’s helpful to create a working document of every little place where your old name and logo are listed. Here you can assign projects and production to your supporting team along with due dates and deadlines. To ease the transition, updating materials can be managed in phases with the most important, external-facing items at the top while other, less-visible items may be handled later on or even post-launch.
It may seem easy at first, but it’s tough to balance a rebrand while also managing multiple other projects. Prepare yourself mentally and settle in for the long haul.
3. Rally the team
The most rewarding aspect of our rebrand has been getting our entire team involved in the process. It’s important to educate everyone about the new brand and gather their feedback. While you may not choose to incorporate or execute on all of the ideas generated by your team, the brand is a reflection of your entire organization so their input is critical to creating something authentic. Your firm would not be who it is without the team of people who work to support it day in and day out. The new identity has to resonate with them, otherwise it will come across as fluff or a PR move without any real substance. A brand really comes to life when your whole team is championing it.
4. Prepare for the ripple effect
Even if your organization is not undergoing a dramatic shift, changing your name and logo can have a ripple effect on your brand, even in subtle ways. Your internal and external stakeholders are going to view you differently, and while that may sound a little scary, you can reaffirm your commitment to them and impact their attitudes in a good way. We recommend seizing opportunities to modernize your design, refresh your vision and mission statements, and update messaging across your website and collateral. Take time to tell a new story about your brand – one that brings people into the present and leaves a positive impression about what the future holds.
Nobody cares more about your brand than you, but your inner circle and those you interact with your brand are impacted too – clients, partners, community organizations, media and more. If your excitement is genuine, those around you will feel it too.
5. The destination is the journey
A rebrand takes a lot of work leading up to launch, but it’s not over once you’ve shared the new name or logo with the world; there’s a lot more work involved in helping your followers understand your brand. The “rule of seven” applies in this instance too – consistent messaging, frequent touch points and communicating via all available channels can help you gain traction sooner than later. You won’t have to start from scratch every time, and hopefully you’ll have plenty of tools and messaging to repurpose for each update.
Our best piece of advice to leave you with is to enjoy the journey. While there may be some bumps in the road, it’s an experience worth noting. Sure, we were eager to get to the finish line, but some of our best team-building and a-ha moments happened throughout this process. We’ve learned so much along the way, and we look forward to applying our big takeaways to the work we do with you.
Preparing for your own brand launch? Download our Brand Launch Plan guide and template.
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