“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
– Reid Hoffman
What is the true cost of a cheaply crowdsourced company logo? Alternately, what is the value of a poorly launched rebrand?
When launching a startup, certain things naturally end up being placed lower on the priority list. Let’s be honest, half the time you aren’t quite sure what your product will look like or what the market fit will be. The feedback loop during those early days is crucial to learn more about your customer base. Branding is downgraded in importance. Many (erroneously) look at it as an unnecessary expense and waste. Some companies even use inexpensive crowdsourcing sites to design an unoriginal, poorly designed logo, which is, at best, worthless and at worst, very costly.
However, eventually your company grows and you start finding a need to build a brand that represents the category leader you are becoming, so you hire an amazing branding agency to handle your rebrand. Your agency has done a spectacular rebrand and now it’s time to launch.
What do you need to do to maximize the impact of your new rebrand:
Make the rebrand launch time a company-wide party. The whole team should know the date and time, so they don’t start leaking the look and feel before the PR goes out. Every member of the team should receive a brand book and all the core materials, so they can know how the rebrand affects them. (Hint: It should. At the very least, their emails and internal presentations should look different, even if they are on the engineering team.)
Also, get swag and cupcakes. T-shirts, notebooks, pens, stickers – this brand needs to be showing the love to everyone in your office. They need to want to “wear the t-shirt”.
You are finally past the “eating ramen” stage of company life, so let them eat cake! Team members may even want to Instagram, Facebook or Tweet pictures of the cupcakes with the new logo on them! (After the PR announcement though – not before :))
MAKE SURE ALL OF YOUR MATERIALS ARE ALIGNED AT ONCE
If you’ve been around awhile, you probably have more than a few properties online that you maintain, as well as offline materials and sales materials. All of them should be aligned at once in order to make sure the company vision is complete and you don’t lose mindshare by having conflicting imagery on properties.
Don’t show a schizophrenic company vision with multiple logos at various locations. Instead plan the morning of the launch to do a full brand refresh online along with the announcement.
Create a list of all the places your logo exists before that morning, so that you don’t have to stress out finding each property and potentially missing one in the mayhem of launch. Here’s a list to help you get started:
- Make sure your new logo files have your company name in them, or else when someone does a Google image search for your company they will only see your old brand
- Social media profiles
- Profile Picture
- Header Image
- About Section
- Hacker News
- Forums, message boards, places you comment often
- Online advertising
- Email signatures
- Every person’s LinkedIn profile in your company (this should be checked and updated to remain current anyhow)
- Physical signage
- Online directories
- Business cards
- Marketing collateral
- Sales materials
COMPANY BLOG POST ABOUT THE REBRAND
Medium did it. So did AirBNB. It’s standard practice to explain the purpose, goal and thought process of the rebrand. Often the agency involved will write something as well, explaining what their intent was and why they took the brand in a certain direction.
Don’t just post the rebrand post on your website though. It should also be posted on Medium and LinkedIn (under the CEO and CMO profiles as well as the company one).
When AirBNB did it’s controversial rebrand they went full throttle (pun intended) with the PR. First there was the full explanation given in its own blog about the belo and the meaning behind it. Then came Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and more. The buzz spread even faster since AirBNB’s logo could be interpreted in so many interesting ways. Assuming that your rebranding isn’t quite so, well, bawdy, you might not get as much coverage as AirBNB – so how do you get that coverage of your rebrand?
- Every journalist that covered AirBNB, Medium or another brand you are more closely associated with – make a list and pitch them your rebrand and the story behind it.
- Segment your email list and hone the message to each segment:
You should be everywhere on your launch day with your new logo. Make sure all retargeting campaigns are on full-throttle. The campaign should reflect the new messaging of the rebrand. If you don’t normally advertise, now would be a good time to do a small awareness campaign. Some of the destination spots we recommend for your rebranding launch (if you’re a tech company) would be:
- Business Insider
- Fast Company