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Launching a new brand, for many businesses, is both an exciting and an emotional process. It represents turning over a new leaf and committing to new goals and values. The new brand stands for an expansion, a change in direction, or maybe just a modernization.
While rebranding is almost always a positive experience for the business, it still comes with risks. After all, brand recognition is a significant benefit for many businesses, and a new brand risks losing some ground on that front. Because of this, it is important that companies plan their new brand launch carefully, so that they establish a narrative about the direction their business is taking, and create a strong connection in the minds of their consumers between their old brand and their new.
If you are facing this challenge in your own business, here is how to launch a new brand identity so that your customers hear your message.
A new brand is as important for your internal team as for your external audience. As exciting as it may be for you, a new brand can also be an anxious time for staff if they don’t know what it means for the direction of the company. Many of your employees—especially those who have been with you for a while—may also have an emotional attachment to the old brand. Helping them understand your rationale behind the rebrand will win them over.
An internal launch shouldn’t be sudden. In fact, you should involve your employees in discussions about the new brand. Talk to staff about where they feel the company is heading, and use that input as you develop your messaging. Then, once you’ve developed the new brand, launch it internally and listen to the feedback. If something is off with the new brand, this is the best time to find out.
One common source of confusion when a company rebrands is that old brand materials often remain in circulation for years afterward. Employees use old business cards with the old brand or logo, internal signage is slow to change, and flyers remain out of date. It’s confusing enough when a customer receives an email from someone who still has the old logo in the footer, and all the more so if that employee keeps forgetting the new brand name.
Instead, act quickly to gather up all materials with the old logo, and replace your branding materials as quickly as possible. Make it a priority to have all staff transitioned to the new brand standards as soon as you launch, so that clients aren’t confused by mixed messages.
Your new brand launch is an opportunity to craft a message about your business. Unless you’re rebranding for the heck of it (which is obviously a bad reason), your customers and your staff will want to know what the big commotion is all about. Why go through the trouble of rebranding unless you have a compelling reason?
Narratives are also more memorable to clients and customers alike. If you want your new brand to stick, tie it to a story.
Most businesses have several audiences, and not all of them need to hear the same story. For instance, a non-profit might have customers, donors, and volunteers as part of its base. Donors will need to hear a message that focuses on the non-profits mission and all the ways the new brand will help achieve its goals. Volunteers will be more interested in new service opportunities. And customers will want to know how the new brand affects the products and services being offered.
These stories should all align with your overarching narrative, but they will have their own twist. By planning your message for each audience, you will connect with the part of your story that matters most to them.
How will your customers, clients, donors, and the general public learn of your new brand? This is, perhaps, one of the most crucial questions businesses face. They may make an announcement, but if no one hears, their rebranding will fall flat.
Your brand relaunch should cover as many outlets and avenues as possible. Blog about it. Post about it on your social media channels. Send out a press release. Run some ads. You don’t have to focus all this on your brand story, but you will want to saturate your audience with images of your relaunched brand.
Finally, while you will want to make a push with your new brand launch, the real work will come in the months and years to follow as you sustain your brand presence and work to fulfill the new set of brand promises you have made to your employees and customers. Without follow-through, many businesses fall into a cycle of launch, neglect, and re-launch.
If you want to save yourself the expense of another rebranding effort a few years down the road, work hard to maintain your brand narrative through consistent marketing and outreach.
Not every brand launch is a success. Sometimes the new brand doesn’t retain the recognition of the old, losing an audience in the process. I’ve seen brands successfully transition to a new identity, while others have carefully walked their brand back after a failed relaunch.
However, if you want to create a new brand identity for your business that customers will remember, the key is to focus on story and consistency. Keep telling your story, and your brand identity will change to meet it.