A strong brand is an essential component of a successful company. Your organization’s visual identity and messaging are part of communicating the mission and vision of the business to stakeholders. As companies grow and develop, it’s natural that their brands need to evolve. Going through a rebrand or brand refresh process is a necessary component of a business’ development. Updating your brand on a regular basis can help you keep a competitive edge.
By: Andrea Mocherman, LumenVox
However, rebranding can be risky — and challenging. Without the right approach, the process could result in customer confusion. I work at an organization, LumenVox, that managed a successful rebrand after two decades of business. The process was less about shifting the visual identity of the company than adjusting LumenVox’s UX strategy to better align with the sales process. For companies considering a rebrand, I’d like to share my tips for ensuring a smooth and successful process.
Timing is everything
It can be hard to know when it’s the right time to take on a rebrand. In my experience, I’ve found that you need to consider the time and financial investment needed and also make sure the company itself is ready. If you’re unsure if your business is at a point where it makes sense to rebrand, there are a few common indicators to consider.
Your current brand feels less relevant or modern. If it’s been a while since your company last updated its brand, it might be time to modernize it to avoid being seen as an archaic or slow-moving business (even if that’s not really the case). You may also want to make the most of a design trend to represent a more modern identity.
You need to align with marketing priorities. When your products or services aren’t performing well, it could be useful to tweak your branding to capture more attention. Your business may also be looking to reach a new customer or market segment, which could require an change to your company’s brand.
Your current brand doesn’t stand out. After a while, your company’s brand voice could get muddled. One too many cooks in the kitchen may mean that you need to review and streamline company messaging to ensure it’s clear and consistent. Or, if your branding doesn’t come across as unique, a rebrand could be just the thing to help you stand out.
Your company needs to adjust after a significant business change. Business combinations like mergers or acquisitions typically signal that it’s time to change your branding. Other public incidents or business errors are also natural points to ensure your branding reflects your company’s commitment to improving.
Get inside your customers’ heads
After you’ve determined if your business is ready for a brand refresh, a great next step is to consider who your current customer is and gather their observations about the company. Collecting customer input through stakeholder interviews is invaluable to the success of your rebrand. You’ll gain a ton of valuable insight about what’s working and what’s not — and you may even uncover some common themes that you would have been hard to discover otherwise. A best practice is to find out as much as possible about customers’ emotional reaction to your company at different phases of the customer journey. I advise carrying this input forward as you continue through the rebrand so you can ensure the changes will be in service of your customers’ wants and needs.
Make a plan and stick to it
As you probably know, launching a rebrand is a complex process that will take time and a well-developed game plan. Our company found it worthwhile to thoroughly evaluate the competition and general industry branding trends to get an idea of how your new brand will fit in or stand out. A branding or customer experience agency can act as a guide through this process, but you can also conduct some research on your own. If you do want to work with an agency partner, identify your expectations first. Agencies specialize in different aspects of branding (e.g., logo and visual design, customer experience, brand narratives, etc.) so you want to be sure they have the right expertise to meet your goals. With this information, you can determine what agency is best suited to meet your needs.
Consider your customer’s journey
Beyond changing the visual identity of your company, don’t forget to evaluate other parts of your brand that may need to be tweaked. This was the area my company primarily focused on and our work paid off significantly. Go through your company’s owned channels to confirm messaging, voice, and tone are being used consistently on all platforms and external materials. If stakeholder interviews revealed a common complaint about confusing website language, take the time to make changes as part of your rebrand. It’s great to demonstrate your focus on excellence through your company’s logo and tagline but it can also be hugely helpful to address customer pain points as part of your overall brand management.
Generate excitement through a strategic rollout
As business leaders, we all care deeply about setting expectations within our organizations and with our customers. Introducing changes to your company’s brand can be intricate, especially because of the emotional attachment that your internal and external audiences may have about your former brand identity. To ensure success, I recommend building support internally. You can do this by ensuring your leadership team is supportive and equipped to champion the new brand among their teams. In internal communications, spell out the reasons why the business is rebranding and what the organization hopes to achieve with its new brand. Doing so can help curb confusion or negative reactions.
Next, you can focus on communicating to external audiences. One helpful step is to draft an FAQ document to form responses to questions that you think might come up, so you can respond quickly and with a unified message. You might also build some excitement by sharing periodic teasers through newsletters or social channels, but this isn’t necessary to success (especially if your team doesn’t have capacity to monitor and respond to comments or replies). Another option is to create a long-form blog or email blast that shares more about the business rebrand and its evolution. You can also highlight changes you made based on customer feedback, which shows that you’re listening to customers and that you value their input.
Although a brand refresh can be a complex process, it can also be a significant marker of success. If I could impart one singular piece of advice to other company leaders, it would be to keep your customer front and center and use their input to develop a brand that truly speaks to their needs. If you follow these steps, your rebrand is sure to create meaningful results for your company and customers.
Andrea Mocherman, Vice President of Marketing & Communications at LumenVox, is responsible for the company’s marketing strategy and initiatives to elevate brand awareness and drive demand for LumenVox’s industry-leading speech and voice biometrics technology. Andrea has over 15 years of experience successfully building and executing marketing and communication strategies for multiple global technology companies, including K2, Flowroute and Nuance Communications.