For any organization, undertaking a rebrand is no simple or quick task. It’s a labor intensive process that requires change, asking tough questions, developing your identity and ultimately creating a brand that will have a life of strength, resilience and impact. The intensity and care required for this process is a lot like childbearing. Here are a few tips for the journey.
You’re positive you need a rebrand. Now what?
Everything will change.
Your organization’s life will never be the same. Your name, look, colors, feel, the sign in front of your office, that old polo you got in 1995 at the golf tournament…these will all be memories of the past. There’s a necessary acknowledgement of loss that comes with the change you’re undertaking.
Who needs to know?
Involving people in such a significant undertaking is critical. You need to have the right people around you who deeply understand you, your organization, your brand’s potential and your future aspirations. You need a small tribe of people who you deeply respect and trust fully with your brand (ideally no more than three key staff/board members as decision-makers). And you’ll need some professionals to help guide the process, track your health and ensure the brand is as strong as possible when it comes into the world.
This will be consuming.
Undertaking a rebrand process will take a lot of time and emotional energy. For any leader invested in their organization’s brand, this process will constantly be on your mind. Nobody said a rebrand would be easy. But this is all a normal part of the process. And ultimately, the more you allow yourself to be immersed in it, the more creative energy you dedicate, the more pleased you’ll be with the final result. Let yourself be consumed. It’s worth it.
This is getting real. And now comes some of the most critical and fun parts of brand development.
Establish the core identity.
You must keep front of mind that your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s not just your logo. Your brand is your organization’s identity. We’ve talked about this before. With an effective rebrand, the organization’s belief, vision, mission, values and market position must all be revisited and shaped around the current reality and future trajectory. What better time to reevaluate than now?
It’s time for a name. And a look.
Name discussions can often be hardest for soon-to-be parents and nonprofit leaders alike. Should the name nod to our history? Should it be very practical and straight forward? Creative and abstract? Corporate and sterile? Playful and fun? What about a double name? The right name, through research, collaboration and conversations (and trademark searches), will eventually emerge. And the look to follow-suit.
You’re ready to be across the finish line. Now it’s time for final preparations that must be done with intention and care.
Is everything ready on the home front?
Once the name and look have been finalized, it’s time to work with your board of directors and staff to make sure they’ll welcome the brand wholeheartedly. Are they equipped to be your ambassadors to your clients and community members alike? It’s important for your organization’s inner circle to be creating a hospitable environment for the brand to be born into.
Prepping for entry.
How will you announce that you have a new brand? The more excitement you can generate with your rebrand, the more exposure it’ll get and the more buy-in you’ll have from the public. After all, you want folks to be deeply connected to and lifelong champions of your brand. Do all you can to ensure that your brand announcement reaches many in a compelling, personalized and effective way. This may include a VIP reveal, a rebrand video, a new website, a direct mail piece, an email campaign, social posts and of course some fun new swag for folks to sport.
You made it. You did the hard work. You prepared and nurtured this brand and now you know it’s ready to live in the world as the dynamic identity of your organization. Celebrate your new brand! Get it out there as much as you can. Enjoy it. And maybe take a week of vacation because you’ve earned it.
Angel Oak Creative just completed a rebrand for Centrant Community Capital, formerly known as Community Reinvestment Corporation of the Carolinas. Check out the case study here.
– Cate McLeane, Director of Client Relations & Senior Marketing Strategist
P.S. This blog is written in honor of my teammate, Daphne, who we get the privilege of watching day in and day out through another pregnancy. Congrats Daphne!