I recently had to pick up my wife’s prescription from the Doctors. When I collected it, I noticed that it wasn’t her usual brand and asked if there had been a mistake. The chemist explained that the company had rebranded and rest assured it was still the same medicine. There was even a highlighted note from my doctor confirming what he had said.
When I gave it to my wife, she had the same reaction as me, so I explained the story about the rebranding and showed her the doctor’s note. She wasn’t convinced and was already becoming sceptical. She was reluctant to take it and even went so far to say that wanted to change brands, as she’d had problems in the past and loved her previous brand because she didn’t have any side effects from it.
She agreed to try it and so far everything's fine. But it made me think of how clumsy the whole process had been - the lengthy explaining, the writing of notes, the answering of questions all because of a name change and new packaging.
It occurred to me that by telling no-one about the rebrand, the trust between the brand and the customer had been damaged. It raised more questions than it answered: Why have they rebranded? What went wrong? Why didn’t they tell me? Is it still the same? And because we had no answers, we were ready to switch to an alternative brand straight away. This whole could have been handled so much better with a bit more planning and thought.
People hate change
Whenever there is a rebrand, there is pushback; people are uneasy about change. They have developed a bond with that brand, it’s full of emotions and memories, and so when it changes without warning, they feel uneasy.
It’s important to remember that our customers love our brands as much as we do, so we need to respect that and bring them into the rebranding process. If they don't embrace the change, it can be an expensive exercise both financially, and in terms of damage to your reputation. Just look at what happened to GAP when they attempted a rebrand.
1) Bring your customers into the conversation
Survey them, ask them why they love your brand. They will be flattered to know that you respect their opinion and their insight will help you avoid any unnecessary pitfalls. Knowing how they feel about your brand is vital to making sure your rebrand will resonate, increasing the likelihood of it being successful.
2) Document the process.
Invite them for suggestions on colours, names designs, but still retain control of the process. You and your team / chosen agency will be making the final decisions, but by asking your customers what they think builds trust and is fantastic for social media content. By keeping them informed and involved, you can increase excitement and awareness of the impending rebrand.
3) Share the results
Now that you are coming close to finalising your rebrand, you can start to share the outcome with your audience. However, disclosing everything would be a mistake. The reason to document the process and ask for contributions is to give the form of ownership, build awareness and increase anticipation. Share some, but not all of the rebranding so that they can begin to get used to the upcoming changes, without losing any excitement. The same way that a movie releases a trailer before it arrives in cinemas.
4) Explain why
That is vital. Even if your audience might not like why you are rebranding, they will be far more accepting if they understand the reason behind it. It is also an opportunity to remind people what you stand for and your goals and ambitions for the future. Nobody gets excited by a brand with no direction, so use this opportunity to galvanise your relationship with them by reminding them of your values and purpose.
5) Start the countdown
Now we want to start building up some hype. By announcing a launch date, you are both giving people time to get used to the upcoming change, but also a chance to get excited by it. Up until now, you will have been sharing snippets of the process, so there will be a buzz of anticipation as the final rebrand is unveiled.
6) Launch with conviction
Now that it’s time to launch, all the hard work involving your audience will have paid off as they will be accepting and excited by it. Sure there will be people who hate it, and the keyboard warriors will take this as an opportunity to be outraged and seek attention, but you must stick to your vision and ignore any pushback. People hate change but get used to it surprisingly quickly and once a few weeks have passed, they will have forgotten about the old branding and will be in love with your new branding.
To sum up
Rebranding can be an an expensive and scary process, but by allowing your audience into your rebranding, you aren't losing control but instead, you are using it as an opportunity to reinforce your relationship with your customers, raise awareness of your brand and reminding people of who you are, why you are passionate about what you for and what you stand for.
How can I help you?
Like you, I understand how daunting it can be when it comes to rebranding your business as I've helped many clients rebrand successfully. So if you are considering rebranding your own business, I'd love the opportunity to help you ensure a successful outcome.