How to make your rebranding process painless?

Each of us in recent years have had the opportunity to observe many rebranding processes. This phenomenon is applicable to most long-running companies - from local businesses right up to international giants such as Apple or McDonald’s.

For years, McDonald’s was a symbol of unhealthy junk food. McDonald’s and other fast food outlets are major contributors to the obesity crisis in society. The increase in people’s awareness of harmful influences of fast food has been noticed by the brand, and this has prompted decisions to build a new brand identity.

Next to the traditional menu, healthier options now appear: salads, fruit, fresh juices, oatmeal. Their communication with the client has changed. Despite some scepticism, the changes have worked well. After these took effect, the McDonald’s Corporation reported a 5.3 percent rise in January sales at locations which have been open for more than a year (according to the Daily Herald article found here.)

As fascinating as McDonald’s rebranding case is, this isn’t going to be an article about how to build a new brand for your company. You probably have a well-qualified marketing crew for that. I would like to talk about a few of the more, or less, ‘obvious’ things” that can escape our attention and, in the worst case, weaken the ‘wow effect’ of our rebranding campaign.

Take care of your audience

This is one of the pillars of brand building. Times change, businesses evolve. The rebranding decision is often made to keep up with the progress of your competition, but sometimes it is also the result of trying to get out of the crisis. Even if you are extremely excited about the new identity of your brand, you need to remember that not everybody is.

Put yourself in the role of your current client. You learn about the extensive rebranding of your supplier, what do you feel? Excitement? Or rather a slight anxiety?

It all depends on how you communicate the change to your clients. Do it in the best way you can. Do not let them feel fear, share your joy with them. Invite them to celebrate your new, fresh identity. Most importantly, inform them directly that changes are coming and take the time to explain the details to them. Let them feel special!

Let it get loud

It’s important to have a coherent idea for putting information out. It might to be a good idea to choose one specific day to announce the new brand to the world. This can be done via many communication channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the company website and also send a newsletter to the subscribers.

It is very important not to forget about continuity. You need to think about where you are present, both offline and online as a company, and ensure that changes are made everywhere at the same time across the board.

Remember:

  • It’s not a piece of cake to change the name of your Facebook page. It could take several weeks to be processed.
  • When you are changing the name of company then you will need a new handler on Twitter, Instagram etc. Remember, that your most willing can be taken. It also will take some time to gain it.
  • Be prepared for complications with preparing new advertising materials such as folders, catalogues, branded gadgets etc. Make sure everything is prepared smoothly and on-time.
  • Chronology – that’s the keyword. Create a ‘to-do’ list, order tasks, and estimate how much time you need for every task – it will be easier to meet the deadline using this method.

The formal context of rebranding

If rebranding also concerns the change of name, we must remember about the necessary formal obligations. To be honest, you don’t have to change the name in the registry at all. There are two routes of action that we can consider:

The simple way – Start using the new name as a trading name, but retain the old one in the registry (in your agreements, contracts and invoices). In practice, it means that you will need to add a short statement on your documents such as ’THE NEW NAME’ is a trading name of ‘THE OLD NAME’. This is applicable to your invoices too:

It also applies to any contracts, regardless of which party to the contract we are. We should write our data in a similar way in the contract as shown in the invoice:

More formal – Change the name in the registry. This is useful when you are certain that the old name is now unwanted and redundant. If you want to remove it from all documentation completely, this is the best method.

If you decide to do this, it will be necessary to complete the following paperwork:

  • Firstly, you need to change the name in your regional registry. Every country has its own procedures, but in general it’s not complicated. Remember to keep any formal confirmation of the name change as it might be helpful for many issues in the future.
  • In United Kingdom and Poland, the registration authority automatically informs other state institutions about the changes, especially those related to social security and taxes. Make sure that it works in the same way in your country. If not, you will need to submit a name change to the relevant institutions too.
  • You probably use banking services? You should definitely not forget to update your company details with the bank. Incorrect details can make it difficult for you to use your current banking services, and may completely prevent you from using new services due to authorisation issues. I definitely advise you to do it the right away.

Cooperation with suppliers, service providers and other partners

This is another group of entities you need to remember about during your rebranding process – especially when you change the name. You should inform them of the exact date of the change. This entails all invoices being issued with the company’s relevant details. Nevertheless, it is good to thoroughly check each document at the beginning of this process as it’s quite easy to make a mistake. What surprises could be in store for us?

  • Some companies will charge us a fee for making changes in their system. These fees are usually included in the fee and commission tables. This often applies to telecommunications or leasing companies. Fortunately, these are not too expensive, usually.
  • You do not need to prepare annexes to the contracts for the name change. It is sufficient to simply inform the parties of the changes.
  • Chronology, again. Remember that the registration authority needs time to process the new name application. We have waited several weeks for this to be completed before due to long delays in court. Previously, we prepared a list of partners who must be notified, the contact emails and the content of the notification. Due to this efficient organisation, we were able to notify all interested persons on the day of the change, without delay.

Operational activities inside the organisation

You can be sure that there are a lot of changes necessary to the range of the company’s operating activities – both minor and major in their scope. It is worth considering these elements from the point of view of your organisation so that no unwanted surprises occur.

  • Usually, rebranding is accompanied by a change of email domain. This involves the serious decision of how to do this in the cheapest way possible. You should check whether your email supplier offers the possibility of such a change. We were using G Suite by Google. Ultimately, we decided to create a completely separate account for the new domain. We did not want to lose any email history, so the old mailbox is still active and we regularly check it.
  • Apart from using Gmail itself, we were actively using Google Drive – the data cloud connected to Gmail. We have a huge amount of documents on there. Moving them to new the email drive took a lot of time.
  • We also had to move the recurring events stored in our Google Calendar. All of them: meetings, team member’s birthdays, days off and so on.
  • We also needed to update all templates for agreements, contracts, statements, invoices, NDAs, notices and many, many more. We have tried to ensure that each internal document has been moved to the new drive with a new graphic design brand.
  • As a company in the IT sector, we are using a lot of tools. During rebranding, we had to update the details and graphics on most of them. It also turned out to be very time-consuming.

Will you survive this process?

Definitely. A good plan is all that you need. If you sit down and think about what changes are needed in every department of your company, you are already halfway towards success. You should try to estimate how long every point from the list will take. Doing this will inform you as to which tasks to take care of earlier and which to leave until the end. I will say it again, chronology is the key to a stress-free rebranding process. When everything is in order, you will enjoy the rejuvenation of the newly created brand.

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