8 best launch strategies for a rebrand

Whether it’s time to upgrade your brand or change it completely because so many elements of the original aren’t working, sometimes rebranding is necessary. Once everything is in line, how you choose to launch the rebrand is critical for its success.

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A sloppy launch strategy will be ineffective at best, while the right strategy can set a rebrand up for success. Below, eight members of Business Journals Leadership Trust discuss what they believe are the best launch strategies for a rebrand and why.

1. Execute due diligence.
Make sure you execute enough due diligence to back up your approach before execution. I see many brands that jump right into the process without planning. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

2. Identify and build around the entrepreneurial reason.
The key to any successful rebrand strategy is that the focus is not on the rebrand itself. Rebranding falls flat when the intent comes across as superficial to the audience. You need to identify the entrepreneurial reason for the rebrand. Then, you can build a campaign around articulating that entrepreneurial moment to your audience and demonstrate how this company evolution is going to serve the audience. – Nathan Fisher, Mindshare Capture Consulting

3. Prepare rebranded assets for a synchronized transition.
Slowly rolling out a rebrand can confuse customers. Instead, prepare your rebranded marketing assets for a synchronized transition on launch day. This includes an updated website, social media, signage, business cards, online ads, uniforms, etc. Fully brief all employees about the value of the changes. Then, you are ready to spread the word with an exciting event and captivating advertising. – Lincoln Jacobe, 6 Pillars Marketing

4. Sponsor an event with merch and rebranded items.
For a big rebrand, go out with a splash and include experiential marketing where you sponsor an event with merchandise and physical rebranded items that get your items in the hands of the people. You can then take that content generated and push it out on various media platforms to drive further performance and engagement. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

5. Implement structural, operational changes first.
A company should not rebrand until it has implemented structural and operational changes to which the new brand can speak. Without these changes, rebranding is no different than putting lipsticks on a pig per se. Rebranding is not a marketing exercise. Rather, it is a strategic initiative that should be adopted at all levels of the organization prior to marketing showcasing it. – Quoc Nguyen, Arthur Lawrence, LLC.

6. Ensure your new identity works for existing and new supporters.
With a rebrand, you want to ensure your new identity moves you forward to attract a new audience while allowing your existing supporters to also move forward with you. There needs to be an echo of who you once were within the new look and messaging so you don’t abandon loyal followers that have shaped you. – Ben Fant, Farmhouse Branding

7. Set the right mood a few weeks ahead of relaunch.
Start setting up the right mood a few weeks before you are ready to launch the rebranding. Inform your customers and target audience that something big is in the pipeline without being too specific. Build excitement and anticipation so that everyone eagerly awaits your reveal. Don’t forget to mention the exact date when the big reveal is coming so that you don’t make your audience weary. – Peter Abualzolof, Mashvisor

8. Attend a branding workshop for understanding.
It all starts with strategy. I love attending branding workshops to align, strategize and understand what’s authentically true about a brand aspirationally. What trends are resonating with target customers? How differentiated are you in the marketplace with competitors regarding products and positioning? What makes you great? What space can you own, and how does that tie into customer trends and beliefs? – Scott Harkey, OH Partners

Need To Reinvent A Beloved Brand? 9 Important Steps To Take

No matter how well-established a brand is, there may come a time when it needs to reinvent itself. Whether the company is working to keep up with modern sentiments or reach a new target demographic, the process of reinvention should be carefully considered and implemented. Otherwise, you may end up alienating the very customers who built your brand in the first place.

Reinvent Your Brand - AdAge

To help businesses that are considering a rebrand, we turned to the experts of Ad Age Collective for their insights. Below, they share nine steps a company should consider when reinventing a well-known brand.

1. Leverage your historical emotional insights.
When brands need to reimagine their future, it is important to understand why customers had an emotional connection to the brand in the past. Leveraging that emotional insight to refresh the branding and marketing around a product in a new light is often where you can start. – Kristen Anna Roeckle, Concentric Health Experience

2. Conduct research and reinvent based on data.
Reinventing a well-established brand doesn’t mean starting from scratch. Be sure to conduct research with your customers to find out what they currently think of your brand. What parts of your brand are still relevant? What parts need to go? What do customers believe you can credibly stand for? Use a fact-based approach to create a refreshed brand that audiences will connect with. – Aaron Hall, Siegel+Gale

3. Involve your existing fans and employees.
Reinvention can be exciting, but for some it means changing the brand they have come to know and love. Avid fans and employees should be considered in any reinvention plan. How do you ensure continuity and inclusion for this passionate base? Involve them early and bring them along for the ride. This will ensure they are not left behind and remain ambassadors for the new brand. – Maggie O’Neill, Peppercomm

4. Expand the audience, but don’t alienate the core.
We are frequently tasked with repositioning a well-established brand to reach a younger demographic. An important step in this process is to consider options for a reinvention that avoid alienating the existing core consumer. For a brand that has established equity, new strategies should expand brand relevance to a younger audience, not leave long-time brand fans behind. – Issa Sawabini, Fuse

5. Test your strategies first.
When reinventing your brand, it’s vital to test the changes you’re going to make. Make sure that you do your research and test your new brand image with a small group of your core audience. Continuous testing and getting feedback will ensure that you don’t alienate your core audience. It will also help you make changes in the right direction. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

6. Go back to your ‘why.’
Brands often need to reinvent themselves because they either lost their way or their momentum fizzled. They probably lost their way because they lost their “why.” Or, they lost their momentum because they lost their drive. If companies can retrace their steps to remember why they started the business in the first place, they can inspire new direction or refill the tank with passion. – Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive

7. Make sure you have a clear path to engage new customers at scale.
Ask 20 adults to rewrite history or direct a do-over and what’s the response? No one chooses a gradual approach. Huge success scenarios with visions of landmark breakthroughs are voiced. This also applies to brands reinventing. Pursue outsized results by driving trials with solely new prospects. Proceed only if a path to engage new customers at scale is evident. If not, why reinvent? – Sean Cunningham, VAB

8. Stay true to the core brand.
Staying true to the core elements of a brand that have stood the test of time with the consumer should not be undervalued. A brand can do a face-lift by updating color scheme, images, messages and even refocus themes, but this should not deter dramatically from its brand equity and the value it spent building over time. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

9. Have fun and give the keys to your new brand ambassadors.
Classic brands like Converse and MINI really set the pace in terms of giving the keys to the brand to their customers. They didn’t necessarily need to reinvent themselves. But by allowing their customers to collaborate and use digital tools to “design their own Chucks” or “dream cars,” they got crucial brand insights while appealing to modern shoppers. What they did is now common. – Lana McGilvray, Purpose Worldwide