B2B companies opt to rebrand their identity for any number of reasons — to prepare for expanded growth, break into a new market, appeal to a different audience, or simply refresh a brand that’s in danger of losing its relevance in changing times. Whatever the reason, no rebranding process can be considered complete without placing it in the larger context of a company’s future growth.
Marketing expert Chris Trick urges businesses to think long term from the outset. “Before the rebranding process begins, make sure to ask: Will this help advance the business? Does this fall in line with our business goals? If it doesn’t, it’s not the right move.”
Of course, a full-scale rebrand of your business can contribute to long-term growth only if the many moving parts are executed correctly. Here are factors to watch for and suggestions on how to incorporate rebranding as part of a company’s growth and evolution.
Commit to a comprehensive rollout
In general, a well-designed rebranding initiative generates considerable excitement among a CEO and his or her executive team. However, after the initial process is completed, there’s often a big drop in enthusiasm. Why? Because the next phase — rolling out the change to internal and external stakeholders — demands further time and effort.
Yet without committing to a full-blown introduction to the new brand, there’s little chance it can contribute to any long-range strategic goals.
First, look to your employees
Ideally, employee feedback regarding the new identity should be built into the initial rebranding process. In any event, develop a plan to fully educate employees about why the change is taking place and the benefits likely to come — both for them and the customers they serve.
Think of the rebrand as cause for celebration. Lisa Shepherd, founder of The Mezzanine Group, suggests hosting a town hall meeting to celebrate the brand launch for all employees. This should be followed by weekly progress reports that illustrate the new brand in action and “keep it top of mind for employees for the first eight weeks after the launch.”
In their future interactions with customers, “brand champion” employees can be as effective as any high-end marketing campaign in spreading awareness and excitement for the new brand.
Get sales involved
Sales team buy-in is also critically important. When undertaking a rebrand of the global networking software provider Dialogic, Andrew Goldberg reports special attention was given to ensuring the sales staff was fully on board.
“We included [the rallying cry] ‘it starts today’ in kickoff videos for the sales team, in semi-monthly newsletters to the staff and in departmental discussions about how the sales team could leverage the new brand image to maximize its returns.”
Focus on customer awareness
Future growth isn’t possible without a thriving customer base, so don’t rely on half measures to get the word out about the new brand.
“Do everything you can to educate your existing audience about the new brand,” says Lisa Shepherd. “Don’t just send out a single communication and leave it at that. Remind them often, often, often.”
Always be thinking of further rebranding initiatives
Even after successfully executing a rebrand and making sure the world knows about it, most B2B companies (and especially tech-dependent businesses) can’t afford to rest on their laurels.
When any business’s product line is part of a market that’s in constant flux (such as apps, software, hardware, etc.), it must include the need for further rebranding as part of its strategic planning.
“Your brand is the public face of your business,” writes digital marketing specialist Sookie Shuen. “When it fails to reflect the level of innovation your business has achieved, your customers will quite naturally assume that you have fallen behind the times.”
View rebranding as a “disruptive element”
A dynamic plan for future B2B growth should include an element of unpredictability. The current principles behind your long-range objectives might be clear today, but it’s impossible to completely predict how those principles might change tomorrow.
That’s where the “disruptive element” of rebranding comes into play.
“The purpose of a rebrand should be to shake up your core business strategies,” notes business writer Ilya Pozin. “The future should be , and your rebrand should be just one arm of an overall plan to putting your business on the cutting edge.”