Thinking of rebranding and changing your business name? We did it ourselves this year, and we’ll share with you what we learned in the process
On June 1,2020, with a snap of our fingers we rebranded from SNAP to picnic social. Why? Well, after two years as SNAP, we understood that in order to grow we needed a name and brand that matched our business strategy. In this blog we’ll share with you what that process looked like, and whether it may or may not be the right next step for you to take in your own business.
Making the Decision to Rebrand
Are you thinking of rebranding? For us, as it is for you, the decision isn’t made lightly. We loved our name SNAP, however, when we began in January 2018, our business was small and we didn’t have a long-term strategy nor the research that went behind an important decision like branding. Instead, we were consultants, and as many can relate, just happy to have clients to work for.
Fast forward to February 2020 and it became apparent that as our business grew (yay!) we required a business strategy and model that could help us meet future goals in five and ten years’ time. To make this happen we scheduled three important meetings and we advise others who are considering a rebrand to do the same:
- First, we sat down with a business coach and she discussed what steps we needed to consider, to pave the path towards success.
- Next, we sat down with our team and discussed what mattered to them to make this business successful. We felt it was important to be on the same page, and that helped to define our values and mission statement.
- Then, we sat down with a branding consultant and web designer to review our goals, values and business strategy and how best to express them with our new brand.
Throughout the process we made a checklist to help us stay on track and celebrate this momentous milestone in our business’s history. Of course, we wanted everyone to know that we changed from SNAP to picnic (otherwise what’s the point, right?) so we decided on a launch date and stuck to it in an effort to make a big splash.
picnic’s checklist for rebranding your business:
1. Define your business goals for the next 5 to 10 years
Your brand should be there for the long-term to express how you see your business growing and evolving over the next decade. When we first started SNAP we didn’t think about our vision and what it would take to get there. This time however, we understood the opportunity to think big for a rebrand. Think about what your ultimate hopes and dreams are for this business and what it takes to make them happen. Not only does this help you to understand why you’re rebranding in the first place, but it also provides guidance towards your business strategy and the messaging to support your “North Star’.
2. Research your industry and your competition
When we first started SNAP did we bother researching business names, registering a corporation and filing the proper tax work? Nope! We began as a small consultancy and didn’t forecast how a business might evolve over the years. Thankfully, we learned from our mistakes and this time took great care in researching business names, website domains and local competitors. Use this rebrand as an opportunity to choose a name that is unique and conveys your long-term vision.
3. Create a team and schedule workflow
Who will be part of your rebrand process? You may decide to hire someone to design your new logo, colours, fonts, patterns and animations. For picnic, we hired Workshop Creative to design our rebrand, and we were very happy with the results. Whoever you choose, make sure to agree on deliverable dates that will give you enough time to plan a brand launch.
Once we decided on a brand consultant and website designer, we put together an internal team of five members to support a smooth transition from SNAP to picnic social. We created a workflow document of deadlines due:
- before our June 1 launch date,
- the day of our launch date (June 1), and
- post-launch date (June 2 and onwards).
Exactly what must be completed before a brand launch? A lot. Depending on how large your company is you will need to revise your:
- Website design, content, meta data, domain, and redirects
- Change of email addresses
- Change of email signatures
- Business cards
- Internal documents (employee handbook, pay stubs)
- Company bios and profile pics
- External documents (presentation slides, invoices, proposals)
- Third party directories
- Social media channels
Many of these tasks will need to be completed before your launch date. Others, such as your social media, newsletters, emails and email signatures will be done the day before or day of. Use your launch date as a day to celebrate with announcements, parties and SWAG for a job well done. This is a big milestone for your business and you want to commemorate this special day for you, your team, your clients and potential customers!
4. Create an accessible folder of brand guidelines and templates to use
As you begin accumulating your brand guide, templates, logo formats, images, video, etc., begin storing them in a place that is easily accessible for your staff to find and use. Change is hard, so make it easy for your team to understand the transition.
Your brand guide should provide examples of acceptable logo usage, colour usage, tone of voice and the type of images and visuals you want conveyed. You will also want to provide a public folder that contains assets and brand guidelines for media, consultants and contractors or subcontractors to glean from.
5. Launch your brand internally first
Safe it to say, all of your staff should know about the rebrand well ahead of time, along with reasons why you’re rebranding and opportunity for them to ask questions and provide comments. Your staff know your customers well and may be able to provide insights to consider before the launch date. They are also your brand ambassadors and will be there to share in your milestone and talk to their own networks about this exciting change. Organize an unveiling event and share how they can help with the launch by changing their email signatures, using new templates and sharing key messaging.
You will also want to launch your brand to your clients a day or two before your public launch to get them on board too and respond to any comments or feedback. Depending on your relationship with your customers you can share this milestone with them by:
- Phone call
- Delivering a SWAG item or gift
When picnic launched June 1 we made a day of it and hand delivered cupcakes to each one of our clients, along with postcards explaining why we rebranded and how to reach us with our new contact information. Clients loved the thoughtful gifts and we got great photos to share on our social media about the occasion.
6. Let everyone know about your launch!
Your launch date is finally here, now you want everyone to know about it with prepared press releases and posts for your website, your blog, your social media, your email marketing and even pamphlets! Get ready ahead of time with fun visuals, video, photos and a schedule of posts that follows the story of why you rebranded and what audiences can expect from this new brand. Thanks to picnic’s launch date road trip we were able to post lots of images and fun anecdotes to share of current clients and staff members.
7. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best
I’ve managed many events and campaigns throughout my career and one thing I’ve learned is that hardly ever do things go according to plan. You can prepare as much as possible ahead of time and yet something will go awry. Before our rebrand I warned my team of this and explained the best way to prepare for the unknown is to be ready with answers to every possible scenario.
- Will deadlines fall through? Create a fallback plan.
- Will there be technological issues? Create a contingency plan.
- Will there be logistical issues? Prepare with a plan B.
- Will you receive negative feedback/negative reviews? Respond to them right away.
- Will there be environmental issues/an Act of God? Acknowledge the events and respond accordingly.
In the end for picnic, the unexpected event was Black Lives Matter. We launched the day the protests became a social media uprising. So what did we do? Well, thankfully we had already begun promoting picnic the day before and began inviting people to follow us. We shared our launch day with them and then held back from any more posts. Tuesday, the day of #blackouttuesday, we acknowledged the events happening and responded by only sharing posts of BLM resources and creative throughout the week, along with donating to causes we cared for. By the end of the week we felt it was the right time to bring back posts of picnic and share our milestone through personal accounts. We learned a lot throughout that week and it helped set the course for how we will promote picnic socially and support local small businesses ethically and diversely.
8. Continue to tell your new brand’s story
While your new brand guidelines might be set in stone, your story won’t be. Post-launch the work continues to create consistent content that speaks to your audience and networks and builds on your new brand. Choose a team (whether inhouse or out) that will carry your brand forward with a marketing strategy, content creation and analytics to optimize reach.
Each week, our team at picnic provides valuable resources and insight to small to medium sized businesses just beginning their marketing journey online. Follow us on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter to learn how to build your following and target your audience online. If you require more support with a campaign, SEO strategy or social media management, contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us know whether this helped with your own rebranding efforts or there is anything you feel we missed! Share in the comments below.