Rebranding is something organic to businesses – just like the evolution of our haircuts and fashion sense as we grow up. It is the kind of change that all successful companies go through at various points in their existence. Every change in the brand image, logo, tone of voice, or even company name, reflects the evolution of the business values, the expansion to new territories, new market segments or the diversification of its product range.
The decision to rebrand a company is not one to be taken lightly. In pursuing new customers and new markets, the business must keep its existing ones and make them understand that they are dealing with the same people and the same basic product benefits – only in a new, improved form. There is a lot to be said about the preparations for a rebranding campaign, the timing, the execution and the monitoring of its initial after-effects.
However, today we will deal with one aspect – and one of the most important, in our opinion: how to use social media as an efficient agent for preparing and launching your new brand image. Looking at the biggest hits and misses in rebranding by famous companies, it is quite clear that social media plays a central role in deploying any rebranding strategy in today’s world. The tips and advice we will offer here should be included in every company’s handbook of good practices whenever they need to rebrand their image.
1. Stir People’s Interest with Sneak Previews
Keeping people guessing by giving them little pieces of the final puzzle is one of the best ways to grab their attention and create conversations around your rebranding move. Start with a few pieces of graphics which form your new visual identity and logo, ask people to guess what you are preparing and keep the conversation going with daily peaks into the disparate elements of your new brand identity.
The sky is the limit when it comes to the possibilities of preparing teaser campaigns on your social media platforms to get everyone on board with your new image and tone of voice. What is more important, the wide range of visual social media platforms available at the present allows you to customise your rebranding strategy and to reach as many people as possible.
2. Get Your Followers Involved in the Change
A new brand image is like a new beginning for a company. However, this new beginning must be always accompanied by its loyal customers. In order to make sure of their continued loyalty, ask them to join you in promoting and spreading the word about your rebranding.
For example, you can invite your followers to create the best hashtag for your rebranding campaign, to give the name of your company mascot (if applicable) or to contribute their own ideas for the specific social media changes in your company’s presence.
3. Spread Some Love and Freebies
People will always remember when they obtained a free gift from a company. One of the clever ways of reinforcing your new brand image in people’s memories is by offering them free products bearing the new brand image. These free products can be in the form of a gift bag of various samples, or the prize for raffles or a quiz. As a supplementary move, you could ask people who won these free products to write a review and express their feelings about the rebranded packaging and how they relate to it.
4. Build the Story of Your New Brand Image
When you announce a new branded image, the first question people will ask is “Why?” When this question pops up in the social media, you must have your answer ready. What motivated you to change your branding? What is new about your business and you wish to express it with the new logo and tone of voice? And most importantly: where do you plan to take your business from this point onwards?
As you start telling these stories, you reacquaint people with your brand. You remind them what they love about it and get them excited about the new things to come.
5. Keep the Conversation Going after the Change Happens
What really makes rebranding fail is the quick loss of momentum, because the company stops getting people involved in discussions AFTER they launch their new brand image. There is a time lag between the moment a new visual identity is adopted and the moment when the majority of your customers and prospects embrace this change. This time lag is the moment when you should renew your efforts of keeping people interested in the big event for your company. Through clever questions, contests, visuals and behind-the-scenes stories, you can keep the peak interest going on for a few more weeks, until everyone is on the same page with you and the new brand image is established.