Empower your team to make your rebrand launch a success
There are many reasons an organization might opt to undergo a rebrand:
- Signal relevancy and responsiveness to market demands
- Demonstrate capacity to reinvent/improve services
- Capture industry whitespace before competitors
- Increase sales by putting brand top-of-mind
- Create a buzz to boost key stakeholder brand appeal
- Better reflect core mission and values
- Address a recent M&A (Merger & Acquisition)
- Rewrite story to attract future employees and engage current ones
Whatever the reason, making it successful is a top priority. Especially given the typical timeframe between major rebrands is 7-10 years, with smaller refreshes to elevate visual identity in between.
Rebrands have gained momentum this past year. I’ve even seen an uptick in interest among my own marketing clients.
Rebrands, done well, can amplify a brand’s reach and solidify its audience connection. But they can also be a significant investment—one where companies cannot afford for their new brand launch to fall flat.
While a thoughtful activation strategy is critical. One of the most common ways I see companies fall short is by neglecting to take their employees along for the journey.
But the good news is, there are simple actions any organization can take to ensure their biggest brand champions (and evangelists!) are involved from day one.
3 Reasons to Communicate with Employees from the Start
Employee support is crucial for all organizations, but especially for those in the staffing industry, given the predominantly customer-facing roles most staffing employees hold. That’s why, for staffing firms, it’s even more important to get a rebrand right.
What I’ve learned from my years in marketing is that, for every big undertaking, it’s typically the follow-through that determines long-term success.
When it comes to a rebrand, companies tend to laser-focus on getting the name, logo, and messaging just right. And rightly so. Your brand is how the world sees you. In the case of a rebrand, you only get one chance to make the right impression.
But a brand isn’t just shapes, colors, and words. Your employees are also your brand—arguably, the single most important part of it. How employees feel about a company, and their investment in its success, is reflected in conversations with current and potential clients and talent.
Employees want to feel like their voice matters, that they can be proud to represent the company they work for and be excited to share and accurately represent every great change with the world.
If they are only told about a rebrand weeks or days before launch, none of that can happen. Here are three reasons that’s an issue:
- Brand representation. If employees aren’t kept in the loop from the beginning, critical information about why a rebrand is happening gets left out. Without context, especially if they are only told about the new brand launch days before it happens, employees aren’t equipped to properly talk about the brand change to customers or embrace the new brand messaging on their social channels.
- Client experience. If employees are unclear about a company rebrand, that uncertainty can spill over to client interactions. Getting mixed messages or vague answers to questions could signal to clients that perhaps your company isn’t the right one for them after all. Word-of-mouth still carries weight, and in today’s business climate companies cannot afford any blemishes to their reputation.
- Employee satisfaction. We all know what it feels like to be left out of something by someone important to us—the hurt that can create. For employees, not being involved in, or informed about, a company rebrand can signal to them that they aren’t important. If they feel undervalued, their performance may decline or they might look for employment elsewhere. Some of the best employees are lost this way.
To avoid these risks, I advise clients to consider how employee buy-in impacts the success of a rebrand and its launch before they 100% decide to move forward with it. And to consider whether they’re willing to be fully transparent about the reason behind it, the research that goes into it, and the level of investment it will take in terms of time, money, and effort.
It’s a great way to start off on the right foot. Considering employees from the get-go makes the entire process a more streamlined one. That’s a win-win in my book.
5 Simple Ways to Take Employees Along for the Rebrand Ride
If you’re going to invest in a full-scale rebrand—a complete overhaul to values, mission, messaging, visuals, and sometimes the name of the brand itself—you’ll want to take employees along for the ride.
In fact, they are your greatest secret weapon when it comes to generating buzz and extending your reach post-launch, especially on valuable social channels!
- Content shared by employees receives 8X more engagement than content shared by brand channels.
- Messages shared by employees go 561% further than the same messages shared on brand-owned channels.
The key to harnessing these impressive possibilities is activation. And empowerment.
Employee activation is the one area that tends to get overlooked with brand launches. But it’s the one area that can have the greatest positive impact if employees feel proactively prepared to embrace the change from inception to launch.
It starts by creating a detailed plan specific to your brand relaunch. With the idea that, in the future, it can be modified to work for any larger initiative within your organization. Key components should align with the following pillars:
- Be informed. Evaluate where employees are today with their connection to your brand. Include them as key stakeholders, leveraging employee sentiment surveys and 1:1 interviews with both recruiters AND back-office employees. Look for pain points that need to be solved or key themes you can carry over to the new brand.
- Be informative. As soon as a rebrand is considered, let employees know. And involve them in the evolution. Explain the reason for the rebrand (Spinoff? M&A? Shift in customer focus?). Update them on rebrand progress and let them know how their feedback informed the initiative. After all, organizations with effective internal communication strategies are 3.5x more likely to outperform their industry peers.
- Be creative. A rebrand can be exciting, but it can also be stressful. Help alleviate fear of change by making the process fun. Get creative in how you share information—think animated videos or gamification—and stay positive in employee communications, especially as it gets closer to the official launch. Consider creating fun branding giveaways that employees can use or wear to showcase the new brand in public or on social.
- Provide tools. Managing expectations is one of the most crucial steps during a rebrand. Be sure to provide employees with a countdown or calendar that details major milestones by months, weeks, and days, and maintain consistent updates well in advance of the official launch. Share talking points ahead of time, as well, so employees have time to study them and ask questions if anything is unclear.
- Focus on repetition. The sooner you establish a regular cadence for email updates, update calls, and other communications, the easier it will be to empower employees to put their best foot forward when representing the new brand. After all, employees already have a strong relationship with your existing brand—you can help them have an even stronger one with the new one.
You’ll want to keep employees engaged. That’s the key. Whether the process lasts a few months or a few years.
I encourage my clients to have as much fun with it as possible. The more employees are excited to participate, the greater the chances that the rebrand will make a splash in the best possible way.
Rebrands Happen from the Inside Out
The term employee advocacy gets thrown around a lot. But it’s not a buzzword. It’s not a trend. It’s an important factor in the success of an organization. And when it comes to rebrands, it’s vital to success.
For staffing agencies embarking on a rebrand, putting employees in a position to be your strongest brand champion is one of the most important steps to focus on. But that’s a good thing. Because the collective power of your employees to share your message is nearly unstoppable.
Believe me, I’ve seen it in action. And I’d love to tell you more about it. Feel free to email me at email@example.com to learn more about what has become one of my favorite marketing topics.