10 tips to ensure your rebrand is a success

From the perspective of both Direct Response & Brand Marketers

Source: History of Nike Air Max, Buro247.com

We put together a handy list for folks going through this challenging process of a rebrand. Given brand and direct response can be at odds with each other, we wanted to provide you with a way to align your teams and share our best practices from both perspectives.

We have had the pleasure to work with Penny Lorber, principal and owner of Ethera Creative for about 4 years now. She is an expert in branding, design, and company messaging.

Source: Penny Lorber Ethera Creative

For this post, Penny and I sat down to collaborate and provide our best practices for startups and larger companies going through a rebrand and how to ensure they are set up for success.

Penny has done branding work for YouTube, FlyWheel, and Menlo Ventures.

Source: Penny Lorber created while working at Moving Brands

Steps to a successful rebrand:

1. Measure

Take stock of how your current brand is doing. What do the metrics say? If you don’t measure beforehand, what will you measure your progress against. A marketing agency may help you do this. It is wild how many businesses we work with have Google Analytics and MixPanel “set up” but are gleaning zero insights, have large gaps in the data, or not set up correctly. We enjoy helping build a basic executive summary or smart dashboard to make sense of the data and track performance.

What metrics should I be looking at?

I would break that out by qualitative and quantitative data. Of course each business will be optimizing for a different north star metric. Once a user group is segmented to ensure we are not generalizing, we look at direct / organic traffic pre and post rebrand the following metrics can give us an indication of performance:

  1. Bounce Rate
  2. Time on Site
  3. CVR: Conversion Rate
  4. Survey Your Customer Base to measure how they feel about your brand on an ongoing basis
  5. Survey Non Customers in your market to understand recognition, consideration set, pain points
  6. Qualitative Research using tools like UserTesting.com
  7. Heat map tools like HotJar to measure user behavior

Important to note that even in a successful rebrand, some of these metrics could be go down in the short term due to various factors. If there is a change in the conversion funnel, on-boarding, key ad copy, call to action, or trust symbols, that can yield a lower conversion rate. If we can isolate variables and see an improvement in a metric like conversion rate over time by applying some CRO best practices on top of a visual refresh, then we have some additional data supporting that our rebrand was effective.

Source: Airbnb Rebrand

2. Hire a brand agency

Hire a trusted brand studio / agency to take on your product. Trust them. They are professionals. You don’t tell a surgeon how to operate on your brain, so let other professionals do their job as well.

Of course, any brand studio worth one’s salt, will do research, pour over company information and goals, and gather the insights and opinions from key stakeholders.

Source: Penny created while working at Moving Brands

3. Get key stakeholders involved early

Get the primary influencers and decision-makers of your brand and product involved in the process early. Let them weigh in during the process. This helps builds consensus and buy in on your new brand.

This is not unlike the approach needed when working on many company projects to ensure there is buy in across the company to key stakeholders.

4. Research, research, research

The agency will do this for you with your input.

— What are your goals?

— Who is your target audience?

— What are your competitors doing?

— What are the market trends? General trends?

— What are the industry best practices?

— Look at benchmark brands?

— What opportunities are not being capitalized on?

This is important so you know where to go forward.

5. Know your values or define them

Hint, they are not what you make. Most likely, your values will be unearthed, defined and spelled out in your brand strategy. Use your brand strategy as your roadmap to make decisions going forward.

6. Stand out

Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Just because it’s working for them doesn’t mean it’s right for your company. Do what expresses your brand. Tell your story. Be authentic. Dare to be different and true to your values.

Source: Lego Movie Impact and Wilson Case Study

7. Make a decision

Choose the direction that best represents the company’s values. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone. It almost never happens. Make a decisive decision and go with it. Brands grow with use and time.

8. Use your brand materials and market

Implementation. Get your brand in front of your audience.

Don’t go half way. Be consistent and implement the brand across all channels and touch points. Market. Having a new visual look and feel doesn’t get it in front of your audience. You may have to hire a marketing agency or advertising agency to help you get in front of your target audience and to decide where to invest your marketing dollars.

We recommend creating an open dialogue between teams during this stage. Provide the direct response agency with a clear channel of communication with your in house team and brand agency. This can help improve performance and agility, as paid marketing teams and firms can learn a lot about new customer data and provide the brand and in house team learnings in the form of small iterative testing and consumer insights.

9. Measure and evaluate

Use metrics. Are you reaching your goals? Have the metrics changed compared to the numbers before the rebrand? Make sure you are taking action to directly change the metrics you want. You have to use marketing strategies.

10. Make adjustments

Looking at data over time from different segments of users can tell you whether or not your new look is performing well or not. Sentiment on social media can be measured with tools like Sprout Social, HootSuite (great article from them on the topic), Google Analytics, Google Alerts, Meltwater, Facebook Insights, and HubSpot Marketing Grader. A strong analytical growth / inbound / social agency can help here or in house hire. Goal here is to monitor changes and report out learnings based on the data. Typically we need to look at a same date range before and after the rebrand launch to understand short term impact.

There is a lot more than goes into the set up, review, and performance of a rebrand but we hope you find these 10 key guidelines helpful to help ensure your next brand / rebrand is a successful one.

Penny Lorber & Tye DeGrange

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