In our article title “Should I Rebrand or Refresh?” we discussed when a company/business should go through the rebranding process and when it should simply execute a refresh of its identity. Rebranding is not as simple as deciding on a new name, logo, and motto. The process can be very complicated and there are many moving parts that are often forgotten about because they seem so minor. In this article, we will use our own experience of the rebranding process to show you what to think about when rebranding.
We will assume that if you are considering a rebrand of your business, you have already considered the main things mentioned above, such as:
New Business Name
New Associated Colours/Identity
New Website & Domain Name
For this reason, we won’t be covering these items specifically, but will look to cover the below topics at a small to medium business level, using our own rebrand for examples. If you’re a larger business then the same information still applies, but will have to be scaled up in size:
New Business Email Addresses
When changing a businesses name, there is going to be a lot of moving parts. This includes a new domain name (web address) and associated functions such as email.
Changing your email address is both simple and complicated at the same time. Simple in the fact that you simply create new email accounts for each staff member and/or contact account listed, but difficult because you now need to make sure that every single past client knows about your change of address.
What we did at Vision Digital to make sure this rand smoothly was as follows:
1. Created brand new email addresses well before the new brand was to launch
2. Tested these to make sure they all functioned correctly
3. Created and added new email signatures to each account to be consistent with the new branding
At time of launch
4. (see brand deployment timing for details on time schedule specifics) Created email rules so any emails our old email account received were automatically forwarded to the corresponding new account (e.g. any email sent to [email protected] is, at this point in the process, now automatically forwarded to [email protected])
5. Send out an email to our databases of previous clients, current clients, and business associates to advise of the rebrand and advise very clearly about new email contact details
(note: these are 3 separate email databases and each database was sent a different email)
This worked absolutely perfectly for us, as not one email has been missed and after we let our old domain expire, the automatic forwarding will cease. This is great as it gives your business several months after rebrand launch to make sure you have changed contact details with anyone who may want to get in touch with you at your previous email address.
In here, we want to also suggest that while it doesn’t come under “emails” specifically, it is important to remember to either change account contact information with the differing software services you are signed up to, or set up new accounts specifically for your new brand. We mentioned this here because if you were to follow the steps above, you will continue to receive any and all notifications from these 3rd parties and it is very easy to forget to update your details before your previous email accounts expire.
Website URL Redirections
So, you’ve got a new business name. The next logical step is to purchase a new domain name for your website that matches your new name.
Once you’ve settled on a new web address (making sure it matches your new name, is simple and easy to remember, and has brand continuity) you need to make sure that you look to redirect people to your new website.
Again, these redirections can only be put into place after the rebrand launch. Implementing your URL redirects before the launch will mean people are landing on your new website before you’re ready for them.
Before we go any further, what exactly is a “redirect”.
In essence, wen in place, it takes a visitor from the web address they clicked on, or typed into their address bar, to the web page you want them to land on.
Here at Vision Digital (at the time of writing this) we currently have 2 main redirections in place for our homepage.
Our old domain name/web address, and our current domain variation both redirect to our homepage.
Why bother with redirects?
There are 3 main reasons why it is crucial that these are put into place
1. If anyone has been hiding under a rock and doesn’t realise you’ve rebranded, or has been recommended to you before your rebrand and took some time to get around to checking you out, a redirection helps them end up in the right place
2. If anyone has ever bookmarked a page on your old site, or any of your content has been shared online, a redirection guides people who click the bookmark/online link to the updated information and stops them from getting an error page
3. It’s great for SEO as a redirection tells Google that the old and new content is linked. This way you can minimise the impact to your SEO that rebranding might have.
Redirections take a bit of time to set up, so it’s good practice to prepare for this well in advance of the rebrand launch and noting down the old URL and where this will be redirected to. This will heavily reduce the time it takes to set up redirections once you have launched.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you have, you will most likely have social media accounts that are part of your branding strategy.
You need to make sure that you carefully plan a strategy to updating and re-identifying these accounts with your new logo/name etc. upon your rebrand launch.
By now, hopefully you are starting to realise that there is a lot of changes that can only be made after you launch your rebrand, and social media is another one of these.
In our case, we had planned out which social platforms we were going to keep and had a strategy in place for each of these. In the weeks leading up to our rebrand, we began to release “sneak peeks” at our new identity (colours and logo etc.), but didn’t reveal the new name until launch date. This helps with your current social followers/fans to become comfortable with the upcoming change. It also builds excitement and anticipation for what is about to happen.
Before you launch, you need to have a clear understanding on what social media handles you want to use. Just like everything else, they need to be simple and consistent with all of your branding.
We recently published an article titled “What to do When Facebook Deny Your Page Name Change Request” where we discuss the fact that you’re not guaranteed a name change for your Facebook business page, and what to do if you are declined. This is worth checking out and planning for. It took us around 5 days after our launch to get this sorted out, but luckily enough we had been posting for weeks about “something exciting” happening, and then we were just honest with our Facebook followers and told them that we had a bit of a hiccup with our Facebook name change.
No one called us out for it, and we only received positive feedback about it all.
When it comes to Instagram, this can be a little tricky, as you want to keep all of your followers, so it makes sense to simply change the name of your account. This is the simplest and fastest option, but it can lead to difficulties, as you can’t change the account name until after your rebranding launch, and only then will you find out if the account name you want is available or taken by another user.
In our case, we found that many variations of @visiondigital were already taken. We ended up settling on @Vision__Digital (2 underscores), which is less than ideal, but it taught us a valuable lesson is the value of being prepared.
Another way to go about your Instagram account would be to create a brand new account, as early as possible, and spend some time figuring out the best account name for it. Once you settle on the new name, this new account is effectively a nae holding account. You don’t use this account at all and once you launch your brand you can delete this name holding account (which will free up your desired account name) and then you can change the account name on your active account.
With Youtube (luckily) we didn’t have a huge library of videos yet. Because Youtube accounts are linked to Google accounts, it could mean that a completely new account is required to be created.
This was the case for us.
Our Youtube account and all of our shared files (Google Drive, Google Calendars etc) were linked to our old email address ([email protected]). This meant that we had no option other than to create a new Google account with the newly created email address and copy everything across.
This included our Youtube account and videos. We made the decision to simply start from scratch. All of our previous videos had our old logo on them anyway, so we started all over again and haven’t looked back.
With a new logo and identity comes the need to change out any promotional materials.
Flyers, business cards, letterheads, email signatures, posters, promotional pens etc.
It’s up to you to decide if you want to continue using the old stock since it has already been paid for, but how many times do you want a new, or potential, client wondering why the pen you gave them is for a different company?
Overhaul of Identity Marking
With a rebrand comes a complete overhaul of your identity markings.
Anywhere your old logo is placed needs to be replaced with the new logo.
For small businesses this could simply mean changing out some images on blog posts, or creating a new logo footer to go on images and video for marketing. But it could also mean signage changes for office spaces, or computer desktop/laptop background image changes.
Everything needs to show the new brand in a consistent way.
Brand Deployment Timing
Before you begin anything you need to think about your timing. This is two-fold.
1. How long will all rebranding tasks take to complete
2. What time of the year should we aim to launch our new branding
How Long Will All Rebranding Tasks take to Complete?
It is highly recommended that, if you are serious about rebranding, you sit down with a consultant that can help you plan everything that needs to happen, and form a strategy for you.
The consultant should be able to help you form a timeline based on your own specific needs and requirements (e.g. a small one-man operation will have far less to do than a large business that has signage all over town).
What Time of Year Should You Aim to Launch Your New Branding?
There are certain times of the year which you should absolutely avoid (hello, Christmas!), but apart from that, this is really up to what suits your business needs much better.
It would be best to aim for a time of year that you know is typically a little quieter for you. This is so that you can pad the lul in business with some hype around the new rebrand, but also so that you have the capacity to answer any queries or tend to any potential issues that might arise.
It is also our suggestion that, if you are going to do this in-house, you use times like the end of the year, when it is often much quieter, to focus on preparing everything for your rebrand launch. This doesn’t mean you have to launch at the start of the new year. It’s entirely possible that you have everything completed and waiting to launch for months before you actually take your rebranding live. As long as it suits your business needs, there’s no real right or wrong way to do it.
New Brand Awareness
Lastly (but probably most important), you need to think about how you are going to create brand awareness after you launch.
We’ve mentioned a couple of ways already (emails to your database and social media announcements), but how are you going to go about making the general public aware of your new branding?
OK, we know and understand that most of the “general public” won’t care one little bit that you’ve rebranded your business, but it’s important to create awareness among people and get them talking, or at least thinking, about your business.
This is where your marketing team earn their money.
If you don’t have a “marketing team”, then this is down to you, or you can contact us at [email protected] to organise a marketing strategy session and we can help you plan this.
Do you rent out billboards?
What will your strategy be, and how much money are you willing to spend on an awareness campaign?
At the end of the day, you could spend 2 years planning this, and have the best potential brand in your industry, but branding is all about what people think when they hear your business mentioned. If they don’t know about you and/or your business, you have no branding at all.
If you have any comments or questions, leave them below and we will be sure to respond.