Studio Ostendo operates in multiple creative fields including photography, design, and education.
Embarking on a rebrand can seem like an overwhelming task. Every business, company, or institution needs to make sure it’s doing it for the right reason, has the right team in place, and has buy-in from each group of stakeholders (or at least understanding).
Even with world-class branding (which wouldn’t be true if the following happens) proper implementation and roll-out strategies are required to make the impact you want. As such, it’s important to make a rebranding plan before the launch. Let’s talk about practical things you can do to make your rollout brand less stressful, and more successful.
Whether gathering visual assets or briefing your team, here’s how to launch a rebrand and set your organization up for immediate and long-term success.
My Grandpa Dean instilled in me the 6P System — Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. One of the best ways to make a rebrand go smoothly is to follow this sage advice by planning for anticipated objections, pitfalls, and rollout execution. Most of this is done ahead of time which means decisions are strategic rather than reactionary.
In your rebrand process, who needs to be notified? Who will prepare all the assets? And which assets? When will you launch, and what is the messaging sequence? Who will prepare these messages? Who should answer press calls and deal with media relations? Build a team, delegate work, create timelines and checklists, and equip everyone involved with the tools and info they’ll need. By ensuring everyone is enabled in a rebranding process, people can hit deadlines and potentially even spot opportunities to use resources more effectively.
Each brand asset and piece of collateral gets produced on a different timeline. You don’t want to publish a new website and send the rebranded business cards to print the same day—you’ll need the new cards in hand for all the new attention you’ll get. Once you launch your rebrand it should be effective immediately—throw away that old linen stationery and dusty office nameplate. Any and all required assets should boast the new branding at the launch.
Companies in branding limbo feel the negative effects on both the external perception of the brand and internal reception because:
To help you make sure no collateral goes unconsidered, here’s a quick checklist of things that usually need to be updated:
All of this can seem like a lot, and not every brand is ready to implement everything overnight. However, even if the plan is to rebrand in phases, it’s important to have a master list and to be clear about what is getting implemented and when. This acts as a roadmap of the brand launch process that you and your team can follow and execute. Be sure to prioritize major brand items, like website, signage, and other highly impactful brand assets.
Most people are resistant to change (just ask Malcolm Gladwell or Alessandro Baricco about their books on the subject), which is why it’s crucial to make it as easy as possible for your team to get aboard your new brand and implement the new guidelines. A brand style guide is the key. Make sure your brand style guide is simple to navigate, easy to understand, and includes plenty of examples.
Every team will have questions, so make sure they know who to ask about usage. Most questions should be answered by a thorough brand style guide, however. Make sure yours is in an easily accessible place, whether a shared online file system or a custom website URL. Along with the brand style guide, make sure files are easily accessible. Brand assets such as logos, color palettes, fonts, etc., should all be easily accessible.
It can be strategic to launch your new brand internally first in what’s considered a soft launch. Soft launches are great ways to get everyone on the same page, work out any issues, and prepare for the new brand hitting the outside world. This allows your team to understand the brand story, to grapple with new challenges, and equips more than just those involved in the rebranding process with the tools they need to talk about it. There are a few ways to launch internally first:
Most importantly, make sure everyone feels heard and knows who to go to with questions. By bolstering your internal team, you’re practicing the launch and building an army to help you launch to the public.
Once the launch day shows up on your calendar, get excited. Make sure your team is ready and confident to unveil the new branding. Here are a few tips for launching your brand externally:
Rebranding and building new brands is always an exciting process, but it’s never the end of your brand story. Your brand as it currently exists has some sort of nostalgia, integrity, and meaning to others that have built up over the years. Preserving those qualities and improving them for the future is crucial to help your new brand enter the hearts and minds of your team, employees, stakeholders, and audience. And remember, it will take time for the dust to settle on your rebrand, the same way it took time to build your brand in the first place.
Post-rebrand, your content and messaging play a huge role in telling your story. Make sure you and your team are empowered to do this well across all interactions.
If you’re struggling in your rebrand process, don’t feel bad about calling in reinforcements. Try the tips we’ve listed above, and let us know if you ever need a little extra guidance.