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The rebranding of a company is an exciting time. Not only does it allow an organization to introduce a new visual identity (updated logos, a new color scheme and fonts, etc.), it also represents a fresh start. A rebranding creates a unique opportunity for a brand to communicate a renewed focus or a new strategy to employees, investors and customers.
Creating this sort of inflection point has clear business appeal, but a rebrand’s ability to drive media attention should not be taken as a given. While a rebranding can be a strategic pillar to launch a new integrated marketing communications strategy, in many cases, the announcement may not be alluring to members of the press.
We’ve talked before about the importance of expectation-setting in media relations, and this is especially true when heading into a rebrand. Those expectations—and how you approach your strategy—will vary based on the scale of the rebrand and which audiences are most important to you.
When it comes to making the official announcements and introductions, there are some good ideas … and some that aren’t as strategically sound. Here are a few.
Good Idea: Inform Investors
When the announcement of a new brand corresponds with a change in business strategy, media relations offers an effective way to quickly and clearly inform current and potential investors of the changes. Brands carry value and equity, and modifying that formula can have a positive or negative impact on how investors feel about the future of an organization.
Mostly relevant to publicly traded companies or start-ups seeking venture capital investment, a media relations campaign targeting investors will have a much narrower focus than a national one. Rather than highlighting the aesthetic nature of the new brand, focus on the substantive changes that correspond with the visual update. Investors—and, in turn, financial reporters—will care more about expanded product or service offerings, recent mergers and acquisitions, or new geographic targets than a new logo or website design.
Before launching, do your research. Use media monitoring tools to investigate past coverage of similar announcements to identify the right reporters and outlets to pitch. Rather than casting a wide net to general interest outlets, focus on business publications and industry sources that will find the information most relevant (more on that later).
Bad Idea: Bragging about Beauty
Have you ever had a coworker enter the office with a new outfit or hairstyle? It’s likely you didn’t spend more than a few seconds thinking about the change—and you almost certainly didn’t pore over in-depth written or video analysis of his or her trip to the stylist or mall. This is somewhat analogous to the aesthetic side of rebranding.
A new look might garner a second glance, but likely won’t inspire reporters to invest valuable resources into a pronounced feature. While the select few iconic brands like Apple, Amazon, Starbucks or Ikea may earn major coverage for a makeover, the average organization won’t. Plan your messaging accordingly.
Good Idea: Know your Niche
Most industries have multiple publications that analyze the broad trends and daily minutiae of changes within the sector. Each of these outlets is likely to be interested in a rebranding announcement—especially if your organization is a relatively prominent figure within the industry.
When sharing branding news with these outlets, it’s still important to focus on what’s likely of most interest to them. Be prepared to highlight how the announcement may fit into larger industry trends and/or the ways the new brand may correspond with changing business behaviors or consumer habits. Understand that the audience for this type of media coverage will be colleagues, competitors and business partners, and tailor the information you share with those people in mind.
Bad Idea: Chasing Bad-Fit Big Fish
Media—whether print, digital or television—that cater to a mass, general audience aren’t the place for most brand announcements. These outlets are concerned with major news of the day, and their reporters and producers receive hundreds of pitches on a daily basis.
Again, only the largest and most prominent of companies are likely to secure coverage of a rebrand in these outlets. Even then, it might not be the kind of coverage they like. New brand designs, after all, aren’t always so popular and can create as much consumer backlash as brand benefits.
Good Idea: Focus on Your Family
Employees are built-in brand ambassadors, and getting your internal audience excited about a rebrand is a great way to organically influence the external audiences around them. According to brandwatch, the average Facebook user has 155 friends, while Twitter users are connected with an average of 707 followers. Enticing employees to share your company’s news on their social media channels will expand the reach of that story in a real way.
There are a number of ways to hype the news internally and encourage employees to share with their networks. Host internal gatherings to share key messaging around rebrand. Give your employees/ambassadors new branded products to take out into the real world. You might even consider creating a digital resource library with social media optimized images and templated posts that employees can easily personalize and share. Just be sure to avoid making them feel like it’s a requirement.
No matter the size or timing of a rebrand, the keys to making the most of the announcement are sharing your excitement and vision with the right people and avoiding tactical executions that aren’t likely to net positive results. By following these tips, you should be able to count your rebrand announcement as the first major success of a newly redesigned organization.