Remember when Snickers was Marathon?
Remember when Burberry was considered gang-style attire?
Remember when McDonalds knew nothing of salads or fruit?
What all these have in common, is that, to a greater or lesser degree, they have gone about the process of a rebrand.
Of course, for most envisaging the very word ‘rebrand’ it conjures the idea of a team of marketers sitting down to concoct a new logo, select a new name and change shop fronts.
But the concept of rebranding isn’t just a matter of name and visuals.
In fact, some of the rebrands we’ve heard most about in recent times have been about changing ‘ethos’, ‘messaging’, or indeed ‘product positioning’.
This approach is just as appropriately termed a ‘rebrand’ because it’s looking at redefining where the business is in the market place, how it’s perceived, and whether it’s reaching out to the right audience in the right way.
This week comes the announcement from Baker Tilly that it will be adopting the brand name RSM later this year.
The company has been very clear in its messaging to the media about why it’s making that decision.
Managing director Laurence Longe has been quoted saying: “Adopting RSM as our name will simply accelerate our path to a recognised unified global brand and strategy.”
He adds: “Although our name is changing, we will stay true to our roots…”.
What works around the way Baker Tilly has chosen to PR the news of its rebrand is that it’s doing it’s utmost to ensure that customers old and new know why it’s doing it, when it’s doing it, and that it’s not running away from the core of what its current loyal stakeholders already trust.
Here’s a handful of tips on how to achieve a good rebrand via your marketing:
Be clear on timing:
Nothing will annoy customers / suppliers / stakeholders more than hearing on the grapevine that you’re rebranding and then not knowing precisely when and how that’s happening.
Give a specific timeframe to all those concerned and ensure that your media distribution channels frequently keep people alerted to the countdown of when your livery / messaging / positioning will change.
Clarify the reasoning:
You don’t need to issue a document the size of War and Peace to every customer, but you do need to use your press release, your social media feeds and your letters to staff and clients to express a reasoning behind the transition.
No-one wants to see change for change sake, so let them know why it’s happening and why it should be seen as a positive.
Take a leaf out of the book of a brand like Volunteering Matters (the new name for CSV). Their spokesperson was clear in media outreach: “We believe Volunteering Matters describes what we do better, will be easier to find and access and therefore will inspire more people and change more communities,” she said.
Provide new reasons to engage:
Make the transition a time for people to want to engage with you further. Use your social media activity or your marketing collateral to demonstrate a willingness to have your current supporters be part of your journey.
Share with them your imagery or change in messaging, encourage feedback, explore competition activity in relation to the change.
Stress the consistency:
As with Baker Tilly emphasising its maintenance of its core messaging, do reiterate the importance of your longstanding heritage.
Let people know that while aspects are changing, other fundamentals are still very much in place.
Use analytics in various forms to assess how successful the interim rebrand changeover period has been, and to keep you abreast of what’s being said by your industry, the media and your customers.
Make sure you’re armed with ways of addressing comment, and identify how successful you’ve been in your deployment of the activity.
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