Rebranding an organization, complete with brainstorming a new name, is a big deal. The need and desire for a company to rebrand often comes after several years of discussions on the pros and cons of taking this step. And, what often tips the scale in favour of moving forward is the realization that the company’s culture, vision and values have advanced beyond the existing public perception.
Here at UpHouse, we recently took the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD) through a rename and rebrand process to relaunch them as Manitoba Possible—an organization that sees what’s possible, fights for possible and makes possible happen for people with disabilities. The new name and brand accurately reflect its culture and way of thinking.
Here is what you need to remember when going through the rebranding and renaming process from start to finish, whether you work in-house or at an agency.
1) Do your research. Hold workshops, send out surveys, meet with the executive team and talk to staff at various levels of the organization. Before you can envision a new brand direction, you need to understand the organization to its core. And, you need to determine who is on board, and where you may face some resistance to change.
Gathering as much feedback, information and opinions as possible guides you on how people feel about the shift, what they would like to see and why.
Someone who feels that their voice is being heard is often more open to the idea of change.
2) Update on your progress. The brainstorming process is not necessarily a short one — there are many factors to consider. It will likely even result in more than one good idea. (In the case of Manitoba Possible, we developed three distinct brand themes, presented them for consideration and then drilled down on a name from the preferred theme.) Be sure to keep leadership up-to-date on your progress and involve them in all key decisions along the way. This will go a long way to ensuring you have buy-in when you arrive at a final product.
3) Plan an internal launch before an external launch. Once a new name and brand are ready to go, present to staff only. Like asking for input at the onset, an internal launch gives staff a chance to get excited about the brand before it’s seen by the public. Doing so makes it easier for everyone to warm to it (for those who may still feel apprehensive) and become brand champions.
4) Be organized so nothing gets overlooked. Introducing a new brand means that every single piece of marketing collateral needs to be updated before the launch. For small companies, this may simply mean building a new website and creating new business cards. But for large organizations, there may be a lot of branded material to update. To make sure nothing gets overlooked, compile a master list of all branded materials—brochures, letterhead, water bottles, tablecloths, banners, posters, etc.—and determine who is in charge of what. Then work through the list until it’s complete. It may seem tedious, but it’s the most effective way to make sure nothing gets left behind. This is also a good opportunity to assess what materials you want to move forward with into the future, and which ones no longer make sense for your organization.
When it’s time to publicly launch the new brand and name, it should already feel natural.
Staff will be excited to champion it within their networks, and all marketing and communications pieces will be ready to go. The transition for the public will hopefully be welcome, as if the new name and brand was always meant to be.