How to Successfully Communicate to Customers That You’re Rebranding
Aleph Invested in Workiz When They Were Send-A-Job. Read How They Mastered The Art of Their Rebranding
Whether you’re a small company or a full-fledged name-brand, undergoing a rebranding is hard work. I know because recently my company, Workiz, decided that it would undergo a name change. So, it was out with Send a Job (our old company name) and in with Workiz.
But, how to communicate this to our customers? Surely there was a practical guide lurking SOMEWHERE on the internet, that could help me work through an event that comes as often as the bicentennial? Spoiler alert: Not really. However, there WERE a slew of unhelpful articles with vague pieces of advice like “send an email to your customers letting them know that they’re going to see some new things.” Ugh. Not helpful!
Having lived through the experience, I decided to write my own, no-nonsense guide that small businesses can use to communicate their rebranding to customers, based on my experience at Workiz. Obviously you’ll need to amend this to suit your own company, rebranding goals, and client-base, but at least this will give you a running start in the right direction.
So, You’ve Decided to Undergo a Rebranding. Mazal tov!
1. First, Get Clear on Your “Why”
First, it’s time to get crystal-clear on your “why.” At Workiz, this meant clarifying why we were changing our name, and what this change meant for our customers.
So, why did your company decide to change its name, anyways? When dapulse changed their name to monday.com, it’s because people couldn’t properly pronounce their name and were even laughing at it. Pretty straight-forward, really.
However, when it came to Workiz, it wasn’t so clear-cut. We had to dig into the psychology of this change. When we put our heads together, we realized that we had evolved past our original goal of providing a platform for field service professionals to send jobs to their employees. We were now a vision of what we wanted our customers to achieve — field service management made as easy and frustration-free as possible. So this was really a change in vision, identity and perception for us as a company and for our customers. Great.
2. What Do Your Customers Need to Do to Support This Change?
In our case, it was pretty easy. Our rebranding consisted of just changing our name from Send-A-Job to Workiz. Besides a change in name and logo, there wasn’t anything that our customers really “needed” to do, aside from be informed about the change and maybe re-enter their password to log in to their software.
Ok, so I needed to communicate to Workiz customers that:
- Nothing was changing aside from our name (and provide reassurance)
- Everything would work exactly the same
- They might have to re-enter their user and password to login to our software
But this may not be the case for you…
You should definitely consult with your Product team, R&D and Support, to ensure that there are no technical barriers to whatever is changing. If so — you’ll definitely need to understand what’s changing, how this impacts your customer, and any special instructions that you’ll need to communicate to customers.
3. Decide Who You Need to Communicate Your Message to
At this point in the process, you’re going to have to clearly understand:
- What changes you’re making ✔
- Why you’re making those changes ✔
- Who these changes impact ?
This is the audience that you’re going to need to communicate your changes to. Also, think about which segments aren’t directly affected by this change, but which can be leveraged into a potential marketing opportunity (like cold leads.)
At Workiz we decided to communicate this change to the following segments:
- Customers and Current Trials -Those who would notice and were currently affected by the change
- Cold leads, or leads that had reached out to us for information, and trials that had never converted into actual customers. Even though they weren’t directly affected by our changes, we decided that the day of our name change would be a great reason to re-establish contact, tell them about the change and re-entice them to try our services.
Ok, great. We knew who we wanted to speak to.
4. How Much Notice Do You Need to Give Customers, and What Will The Timing of Your Messages Be?
Because our changes were relatively simple and straightforward, we decided that two weeks notice was the ideal amount of time. For Workiz, two weeks was just enough time to get our customers used to the idea of a new name, but definitely not overkill.
We decided to let our customers and trials know about our changes:
- Two weeks before
- One week before
- The day of the change
Our communication plan breakdown was:
Two weeks before:
- A blog post from our CEO
- An email to all customers and trials
- An after-login message to all customers and trials
- A social media post
One week before:
- A reminder email to all customers and trials (despite who had opened / not opened)
- An reminder after-login message to all customers and trials
- A social media post
Day of name change:
- An announcement email to all customers and trials (despite who had opened / not opened)
- An announcement email to cold-leads, communicating our name change and inviting them to start trialing us again
- A reminder after-login message to all customers and trials
- A social media post
If you’re change is complicated or requires collaboration with customers, you’ll need to decide what’s the ideal amount of time to sufficiently prepare customers for any changes and get them onboard.
5. Which Platforms Are Right to Communicate Your Message?
At Workiz, it was important for us to meet our customers where they already were. Based on our customer usage we decided to let our customers know about our name change via the following platforms:
- In-app messages — Most of our customers use our web and mobile apps on the daily to create jobs and manage their schedules and teams. So in-app messages were a “must” for us.
- Emails — Our emails tend to have pretty good open rates, so email for us was definitely a “must.”
- Social Media — Workiz enjoys a fairly active following on Facebook and Twitter, so announcing our name-changes on these platforms for us was a “must.”
- Blog — While our emails, in-app messages, and social media posts would briefly address our name change, we decided to have our CEO write a blog post that would explain in detail our reasons for changing our name, our company history as well as current and future goals. This is a hidden blog post, only accessible to those with a link, meant for customers, prospects and cold leads who “really” wanted to know the reason for our name change.
6. Map All the Places Where Your Company Name Appears on Your Site and on External Sites
Now, pick your brain and create a spreadsheet that lists your website’s old name, both on your company site and on any third-party or external sites. This includes changing your actual website domain, all of your social media profiles, company email addresses and domains, email signatures, review site listings, knowledge base articles, and even the name which appears on any customer credit card invoices.
Now, brainstorm where your old business name could be listed outside of the web. This could be your phone recording that need to be updated, your physical mailbox, business cards, etc. This will take some time to develop so definitely involve your fellow Marketing team. Then, you’re going to need to create a plan to change all of these listings in a systematic way.
7. Now, Write Your Content
When it comes to writing your rebranding content, I do have a few suggestions that worked well for us at Workiz.
Decide on the tone:
What is the feeling that you want to convey to your readers?
For us at Workiz this meant communicating:
- Excitement — We wanted to convey that our rebranding was a positive move, and not something to be dreaded
- Positivity About the Future- Our goal was to communicate that this change was the beginning of more positive upcoming changes for the future
- Reassurance — We let customers know that we were the same great field service management platform, and everything would keep working as per usual
- Expectations — We let customers know that they may have to log in to their account again, but that was the only change they could expect on their end
Decide on the length:
For us, it was important not to bombard our customers with too much information, especially during their normal, day-to-day workflow (like in-app messages.) That’s why we decided to keep our announcements to a bare minimum, sharing only what our end-reader needed to know, while linking to a more in-depth blog post where they could get more information about our name change, if they were interested.
This ended up working really well. End-readers had all of the information they needed at their fingertips, while choosing for themselves how much information they wanted to know about the Workiz rebranding.
Did you find our suggestions helpful? Whether your company is currently going through a rebranding or has upcoming plans to rebrand, we’d love to hear about what customer communication strategies worked for you! Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments below, and share your insights.