How to Maintain Your Rebrand Strategy Post-Launch
So, you’ve just rolled out your company’s rebrand. Congrats! This means you put a lot of thought, time, energy, and (probably) money into building the visual and messaging strategy that will define your company moving forward. (No pressure.) Time for a pat on the back because it’s smooth sailing from here on out, right?
Well… not exactly. Pat yourself on the back, by all means — you deserve it —but do realize that there is still important work to be done. To achieve external (customer- or client-facing) success with your rebrand, you need to ensure everyone (or at least anyone who will have their hands on the brand) is on the same page internally.
In order to protect the new-and-improved strategy you just worked so hard to create, it’s going to take some anticipatory problem solving. Here are four things to keep in mind immediately post-rebrand.
1. A style guide is essential.
If you haven’t already developed a new style guide, do so immediately. As in, right now. You might think you don’t have time, and you’ve already done the leg work, so maybe you’ll just get to it later, and — no excuses. Not having a style guide will haunt you. Maybe not tomorrow, and maybe not in a month from now, but before you know it, enough time will have passed that the reasoning behind the rebrand will become fuzzy. Better to get ahead of it. To start, here’s a basic checklist of some essentials to include:
- Company mission statement
- Core values and brand differentiators
- Logo specifications
- Typefaces and usage
- Color palette (including CMYK, RGB, and HEX codes)
- Imagery usage (photography and/or illustration aesthetics and mood)
- Tone of voice across all platforms
- Editorial style (AP, Chicago, in-house, or a combination?)
- Any non-negotiable guidelines for designed materials
It may seem overwhelming at first, but nailing this stuff down in the early stages of implementation will save you lots of frustration and wasted productivity down the road. You can even start with a bare-bones version and gradually build it out into a more comprehensive guide. The point is that it’s in everyone’s best interest for anyone who will be touching the brand to have access to this information — and ASAP.
2. Your team is the glue that holds it all together.
Making sure that everyone on the marketing and creative teams is on the same page at the time of launch is crucial. There are a lot of moving parts to manage during this phase — from crafting copy that successfully reinforces the new brand to providing the updated assets to other departments in the company. Moving full steam ahead post-rebrand is necessary, and during this undoubtedly busy time, frequent and consistent communication is of the utmost importance.
In order to prepare for rapidly shifting priorities, take this opportunity to streamline your team’s communication and project management process. If you have a solid system that seems to be working — great! Move forward, and be open to modifying where necessary if you encounter any hiccups in one particular area. If not, really consider devising one quickly. There are so many project management tools available, such as Basecamp, JIRA, Omniplan, Asana, Microsoft Project — the list goes on. The right choice for you will require some research and will depend on your industry- and team-specific needs. Devote some time to this before you get mired in the day-to-day tasks, and your team will thank you later.
3. Some hand-holding will be necessary.
You now have a shiny-new style guide, and it includes all the need-to-know guidelines for implementing your updated brand strategy across all touchpoints. The project management process used by your department is solid. Your team has even been slaying it when it comes to internal communications: you’ve diligently updated other departments about the rebrand, and you’ve provided any other relevant guidance and tutorials (especially if your CMS has changed). Finally — everyone’s on the same page now, right?
Well… possibly not. Remember, while all of this information may seem intuitive to you at this point, it’s probably not going to be intuitive to anyone who hasn’t been involved in the decision-making since the concept phase of the rebrand. Expect to be met with extensive questions, or even some resistance. Understand that people are going to need some patient, focused hand-holding — and that’s to be expected.
To facilitate this process, make a plan, and delegate roles strategically. Who on your team will be the go-to person for troubleshooting tech concerns? Who is the resident brand advocate — the one who will proudly, persistently, and firmly enforce the style guide? Will anyone share roles? How will you handle employee questions? Whatever you decide, communication is key. Don’t assume everyone is on the same page, and do keep everyone informed about how to support the rebrand and how to get their questions or concerns answered efficiently.
4. Keep an open mind moving forward.
Alright — everything seems to be under control now. You have a style guide, the marketing team has an impenetrable handle on their communications process, and other departments are receiving the information and support they need. Surely, the rebrand work is mostly over now, right?!
Well… not entirely. While the rebrand implementation should be in great shape at this point, you still might encounter some unforeseen obstacles, neglected considerations, or just entirely new needs that simply didn’t exist at the time of developing the rebrand strategy. Don’t fret; this is totally unavoidable, despite all of your hard work.
Remember, branding — and business, in general — requires some fluidity, especially in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. While strategy is extremely important, do be open to incorporating an iterative approach. Maybe your brand messaging is well-suited for all of the traditional platforms and the social media giants, but then, out of nowhere, an emerging digital platform provides unparalleled opportunities to target your desired audience. You would be doing your company a disservice by not adapting your strategy as these changes come.
Expect this to be an ongoing process. Do continue to honor your overarching goals without giving in to impulsive decisions — but also keep an open mind, and weigh the pros and cons of adding to (or subtracting from) your rebrand strategy and execution as needed.
These tips come from my personal experience and are by no means exhaustive. If this advice was helpful, or if you have anything to add, please let me know in the comments section!