Full disclosure…I’m not in the branding game. I have some good friends who specialize in it, and I’ve done some in the past…but it’s just not for me.
With that said, my current content marketing gig has allowed me to meet several companies who went through a branding process—either with an outside consultant or through an internal review—only to struggle in rolling out their new brand messaging. They’ve got a fancy logo, fresh colors, and snappy tagline…sitting there in the corner and collecting dust.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. And don’t fret. It’s not too late. Below are some tips on brushing off your brand and rolling it out to your staff, customers, and prospects.
Rolling out a brand takes significant time and manpower. To be successful, you must rely on more than one person. Instead, bring key staff members from various departments of the business together to form a brand rollout team. This group will be responsible for establishing and managing the timelines (phases) of the rollout, the budget, the marketing and PR plan, and the master schedule of rolling out and updating all corporate materials.
Make sure the new brand means something to people by moving it from theory to tangible, concrete actions. To do this, consider holding periodic branding sessions with employee groups to share your vision of the brand and then ask your employees how they believe this vision can translate to their daily tasks. Document what you discover in these meetings and then brainstorm on any next steps.
Make sure all current and future employees know how to maintain consistent usage of your logo, colors, tagline, etc. Engage a designer to create a brand style guide that includes a full list of approved logo options; a breakdown of things not to do with the logo; and the approved typography and colors.
Make sure your staff can easily find materials related to the new brand when needed. Create a repository that holds such things as the new brand meaning and goals, brand style guide, hi-res logos, elevator pitch, branded templates, etc.
Make a list of all your key audiences (staff, customers, prospects, vendors, partners, social media followers, etc.) and then identify the optimal communications tools to engage each group in rolling out the brand.
Compose a news release and post it on your website explaining the new brand messaging and what it means to you, your customers, and prospects. Have fun with it! Write a new release in standard format, but also consider including an infographic that visually describes the brand. You might also create quick video interviews with current customers and staff and incorporate them into the release.
Make sure people can easily find your new brand messaging on your website by placing new information on your homepage for a sufficient amount of time. Consider using the aforementioned infographic there or have a designer create a few layout options. Also, make sure all elements link to a section or landing page on your website that fully encapsulates the story behind this messaging. Let this be a destination that’s easy to find and share and use this page to house new stories, videos, photos, etc., all related to the brand and give page visitors a simple way to engage with you.
To effectively roll out a brand you must definitively go out with the old and in with the new—as in out with all old materials and in with all new ones. Don’t let old materials circulate throughout your office and go out to customers or prospects. Have your staff add outdated items to a list that they see around the office or still use and be sure all relevant items get updated with the new brand. And then, have staff drop off all outdated materials at a centralized location in your office for you to dispose of and/or recycle.
Prepare branding materials for future employees to embrace the vision for the brand and become new brand ambassadors for the companies. Help them understand the background and meaning of the brand, as well as key messages to share in their roles.
While it may have been presented to your employees in the past, it’s time to fully rally the troops. Hold a fun meeting—perhaps an ice cream social or a summer barbeque—to again share with your staff the new logo, describe the new tagline’s meaning/goals, and outline your rollout plan. Let them know what the new brand means and what they can come to expect in the coming months. Also, in advance of this re-launch meeting, purchase some company swag for your employees to take with them—such as t-shirts, pens, coffee mugs, etc., so that they can begin embracing the new brand immediately.
Keep the internal energy going throughout the year by challenging your staff to share their stories of how they’ve leveraged the brand to impact customers in tangible ways. Recognize/reward those who best live out the brand in their jobs and challenge others to find new, creative ways to do the same.
Announce the new brand via social media outlets and a series of engaging email campaigns. Engage a designer to create a new email template—incorporating the new brand look—to use for this and future email campaigns and inform your customers, prospects, partners, vendors, etc., about the new brand. Be sure to outline the meaning behind the new brand and consider linking off to your press release and/or your new branding resource landing page on your website.