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Brand Relaunch 101: Creating a Successful Brand Rollout Plan

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For better or worse — but hopefully, for better — my fashion sense has evolved over time.  It’s changed with the times, my environment, and my purpose. 

Your brand is exactly the same. No one gets their look and feel right on the first try. It’s an evolution influenced by many factors. Including company acquisitions, updates to an organization’s purpose statement, expansion into new locations, or just the march of time. You’re slowly acquiring the pieces that make you, you and the same is true of your brand. 

That’s why it’s important to be strategic in your approach to a brand relaunch. 

What is a brand relaunch? 

A brand relaunch is the repositioning of your brand within the marketplace. It often begins with an evaluation of an organization’s goals, brand essence, and market positioning. Typically, a brand relaunch impacts many of the elements in your brand identity kit including visual style, logos, color profiles, and more. A relaunch can vary to include a full redesign, strategic updates, or a simple refresh. 

Tips for a successful brand relaunch

Whether you’re looking at a full redesign or just a refresh, determining how to relaunch a brand should be your first step. Your brand relaunch needs to be deliberate and strategic. It includes a lot of planning before you even get to the exciting visual elements. This is your new look we’re talking about and changing it isn’t as easy as running to the store. So go into it with a well-constructed plan that will help you meet your goals and long-term objectives. 

1. Define the why
Before making any public-facing changes, you must first understand why you're doing a relaunch. Common catalysts for a relaunch include mergers, acquisitions, outdated branding, or company expansion. But the why is more about what you’re trying to achieve. Think gaining a stronger foothold in your market, differentiating your brand from the competition, or successfully launching a new product. Understanding the why will make it easier to measure and celebrate your achievement because you’ll know what success looks like. 

2. Understand the full picture
While internally you view your brand one way, it might not have the same perception externally. When gathering the full picture, tap your entire audience including current employees, potential employees, customers, future customers, and anyone who comes in contact with your brand. 

Take time to understand multiple perspectives. Conduct internal and external interviews. Do competitive research. Use surveys. And understand the potential future of your market space. Determining how your brand is currently perceived can help further define the goals of your brand relaunch. This gives you evidence to refer to during the planning process, making it easier to compare where you are with where you want to be. 

3. Obtain buy-in from internal stakeholders
Buy-in from company leaders is critical. The scope of a brand relaunch can creep quickly and you’ll need internal teams in your corner when they do. Effectively communicating the reasons for a brand relaunch and the outcomes will go far in getting everyone on board. Doing so will allow you to preserve the time, resources, and talent needed to execute a successful relaunch. And keeping everyone in the loop throughout the process will encourage excitement while managing expectations. 

4. Get emotional
Many elements of your brand aren’t tangible. They’re felt. The more your audience connects with your brand, the better. Emotions drive purchasing decisions. They foster relationships. And ultimately, emotional investment builds brand loyalty. 

A brand relaunch should take this into consideration during the planning phases. Consider testing different versions and iterations of your brand prototypes before finalizing your decision. A relaunch is a perfect opportunity to increase the emotional connection with your brand. 

5. Phased rollout or flip of the switch?
Depending on the size of your relaunch, you’ll need to consider how to release it into the world with a brand rollout plan. A phased rollout means that you’ll be able to release your new creations into the world faster, but you’ll also be faced with two brands for the duration of your project. However, releasing the new brand all at once might require duplicate work as the new brand is built and the old one is maintained. This could be a struggle depending on your resources. So make sure to weigh the pros and cons of all rollout approaches and pick the one that works best for you. Don’t forget to communicate the plan as well so that people know what to expect. 

6. Be realistic about timing
A rebranding signifies things are changing in your organization. And change takes time. So you need to dedicate the time and resources to do it well in order for your audience to take notice. A full brand relaunch — including visual expression, value messaging, and more — is easily a yearlong engagement, or longer. Underestimating the lead time for a project this size will often cause frustration, missed opportunities, and poor-quality results. Being upfront and realistic with your stakeholders and mapping your project out by phases will keep things running smoothly and ensure a successful end result. 

Benefits of launching a new brand

Relaunching your brand is exciting. You’ll be proud to see months (and possibly years) of hard work all come together to achieve your goal. So what other benefits do you get from a brand relaunch?

  • Alignment of your brand elements across all channels to ensure they meet the needs and interests of your audience

  • Improvement in internal communications as a result of brand education and awareness

  • Elevated positioning amongst new and existing competitors in your industry

  • New or renewed interest within your target audience

  • Increased overall conversion opportunities and brand loyalty

Relaunching your brand is an adventure. It’s not only a way to meet new goals but also stretch your creative muscles. It’s a time for teams across the organization to come together as one brand. And while they can be daunting, successful launches are invigorating and inspiring. So take the time to effectively research, plan, and communicate your process. It will keep your adventure on track and make it much more rewarding when your efforts are ready to be seen by all. 

Just like new fashion choices, your brand will continue to evolve. You need to make sure your key pieces are maintained and ready to mix in new elements when the time is right. Focusing on brand management will keep you prepared for any expected or unexpected branding needs. Using the Widen Collective® as the foundation of your brand management process will keep your brand elements secure, centralized, and searchable. Learn more about Widen’s brand management solution and how it can aid in your brand refresh efforts. 

Topics: Creative, Brand management

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