5 Content Pillars for Successful Rebranding

Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels
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Some have said 2019 was the year of the rebrand.

If you’re jumping in on this trend, there are many moving pieces to manage, and content is one of them. Not only is content another piece that needs to be updated throughout the rebranding process, but more importantly, it should be used as a tool that can be leveraged to speak to your audience, tell the story of your rebrand, and communicate internally to ensure the rebrand stretches from inside out.

As you look to use content as a tool in the rebranding process, there are five pillars to focus on:

  1. Buzz
  2. Reinvention
  3. Storytelling
  4.  Thought Leadership
  5. Internal Communications

These pillars help you communicate with customers and employees alike, ushering your rebrand into the world. Whether you’re a global brand or small business, consider how you can leverage various types of content as a valuable rebranding tool for each of these pillars:

1. Buzz

Content that drives buzz around your rebrand.

A rebrand launch is your opportunity to speak to new audiences and drive new customers. However, you can’t just drop an announcement on launch day and expect people to take notice. You need to create buzz around the upcoming changes with a regular flow of fresh content, from videos and ads to blog posts and social updates leading up to the launch.

Alistair Dodds, of marketing agency Ever Increasing Circles, was tasked with the rebrand and relaunch of High End Outlet, a discount designer clothing e-commerce retailer. One of the key components of the campaign was to generate pre-launch buzz and build anticipation among past customers and leads.

To do so, Dodds explains, “A secret designer box offer was included in the relaunch campaign for the first 50 new members who signed up. As the client offers a unique membership model, we also undertook split tests on an explainer video, client testimonial videos and relaunch logo and website videos. And followed these up with engaging and creative product retargeting videos.”

From this unique pre-launch buzz content, they not only connected with current and prospective customers, but they also saw huge returns. The reactivation campaign netted a 28X return on advertising spend (ROAS) and the cold audience campaign a 10X ROAS, proving the value of this content leading up to a rebrand.

While this is an important time to drive excitement, like Dodds did for High End Outlet, don’t forget to weave in content that reassures customers. This approach ensures that they know their experience is still a top priority for the organization. Sukhbir Mehla, Founder of Zeemo, a digital agency based in Australia, facilitated a rebrand for Energy Window Fashion. The company had been in business for 8 years and communicating with their current customers was a critical aspect of the process.

The most significant piece of their rebrand was changing the company’s name to Amaru. Mehla explains: “The name was a mouthful and brand confusion common: the perception that cellular and motorised blinds were the only products offered to customers. To make matters worse company staff were often mistaken for calling from an energy call centre.”

 

Source: Zeemo

With such a major change, they knew it was important to connect with customers via their many content channels. This included: social media, email newsletter, and direct mail. Most importantly, a dedicated landing page was created explaining that everything was the same but their name – same owners, same staff, same contact details. “A focus was placed on customers with existing orders to ensure them that their order remained unchanged,” says Mehla.

Sticky rebranding content, like a landing page, makes the changes both easy to refer to and easy for customers to understand. This type of content is especially important for major rebrand updates, like name changes – you don’t want confusion to drive down customer acquisition rates.

2. Reinvention

Content that redefines your voice post-rebranding.

Your rebrand represents a new era of your business, but you don’t want to lose customers who no longer feel connected to your brand. Content can be used as a tool for expressing what this reinvention means for you and what it looks like for them. Starbucks recently introduced new branding and released an extensive piece of content, their Creative Expression brand guidelines along with it.

Source: Creative Expression brand guidelines

This content details the evolution of one of the most well-known brands around the world. In it, Starbucks explains: “As we evolve to meet beautifully diverse customers all over the world, our brand has evolved too. Here we introduce a fresh new design system that maintains the core elements of our brand while keeping our customers’ experience central to creative expression.”

This content gives their advocates an inside look at how the brand has been reinvented, and how it will continue to stretch and evolve for various seasons, products and audiences. This is Starbucks’ way of saying, “we’re different, but we’re still the same”, which gives consumers a way to wrap their arms around who Starbucks is and will continue to be.

While sharing brand materials and guidelines like Starbucks is an interesting way to communicate a rebrand, Michael Stahl, CMO of HealthMarkets, took more of a straight-forward, customer-centric approach when he recently facilitated a rebrand for HealthMarkets. The company needed to revamp in the wake of the Affordable Health Care Act and the content they used to redefine their voice post-branding was pulled into a cohesive marketing campaign, which included bringing on celebrity endorser, Bill Engvall.

Source: HealthMarkets

The message was clear: HealthMarkets is evolving with you, the customer. Michael Stahl, HealthMarkets CMO explains:

“With the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, HealthMarkets needed to change the way we did business to meet the needs of our customers. In making the various digital transformation changes to our business practices, we also wanted to promote the HealthMarkets brand in a way it hadn’t been before. One of the ways we did this was by launching advertising on various media with a spokesperson we knew would resonate with consumers.”

Remember that branching out from a standard press release allows you to build buzz while connecting with your audience in a way that feels more accessible. In the case of HealthMarkets, their buzz included fresh video content with their brand new spokesperson, allowing them to drive home both the rebrand and the values of the company.

3. Storytelling

Content that tells the story of your rebranding, driving emotional connection.

Storytelling is the foundation of all great marketing and there’s a story behind your rebrand that needs to be told. Content is your vehicle for sharing that story with the world, driving both an emotional connection with and understanding of the changes to your brand.

When Airbnb changed their logo, they used content to tell the story of what the rebrand means and how it’s connected with their mission: “Imagining a world where people can belong anywhere.” Like Starbucks, they put this important branding content into an interactive piece of content, filled with imagery, video and messaging that tells the rebranding story.

Source: DesignStudio

This detailed content piece speaks to the brand changes and what it means for all of us as users of their product. It provides a point of connection between potential customers and the company. In the content, Design Studio, the branding agency who facilitated the rebrand, explains:

“Part of our goal was to design a marque anyone could draw – something that transcended language and formed the foundation of the new brand. The marque, named Bélo, encompasses values of belonging and is imbued with four meanings of People, Places, Love and Airbnb.

The Bélo is also used as a community symbol that can be expressed differently by each community member and in every listing – it is not bound by language, culture or location. The end result is a symbol people feel compelled to share – one that accepts we are all different, one to wear with pride.”

While the post-launch branding content was hosted on the agency’s site, Airbnb also shared their own post-launch video that provided customers with a direct connection and clear understanding of what their new symbol, Bélo, means.

Ultimately, all of this content shares a story that we can feel connected to. With this rebrand, they want us to know that they’re more than just a booking site and why that matters to us.

4. Thought Leadership

Content that drives thought leadership post-rebrand.

In many cases, a rebrand is used as a way to shift and improve your business or offering. This shows that you’re a leader in your space and willing to evolve with the needs of your customers. This was the case for Google, who used content to share details of their logo rebrand, which was so much more than an aesthetic change.

In “Evolving the Google Identity: A new brand identity makes Google more accessible and useful to our users” Alex Cook, Jonathan Jarvis, and Jonathan Lee explained how their brand mission, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” fueled the brand changes that consumers were seeing. From look and feel to products and distribution, this piece of content gives us all a peek inside Google’s collective brain.

Source: Evolving the Google Identity

Within the content, Google is speaking to consumers, designers, product developers, and brand advocates, showing their entire audience that they are, and will continue to be, a champion in the technology space. They explain in the article:

“Design was only one part of the effort. The realization of the new identity required the collective work and diligence of hundreds of Googlers, in different roles, spanning the entire organization. They deserve huge credit for building and implementing the system down to the very last pixel As we move forward creating new products and experiences, we hope this work will continue to deliver the simplicity and delight you expect from Google – wherever new technology may take us.”

While this is something we may all assume about Google, this seemingly simple content piece communicates that even one of the largest and most well-known tech organizations in the world is walking the walk and talking the talk. Their rebrand content speaks to everyone who might come into contact with the various parts of their business, driving thought leadership across their entire audience.

5. Internal

Content that informs and reshapes internal culture and conversation.

Internal communication during and after a rebrand is just as important as external, if not more so. Monika Rose, Founder and CEO of Kindred, explains that internal confusion about the rebrand causes a disconnect. In a recent Adage article, Rose says: “If your internal team isn’t aligned with your brand, your customers won’t be either.”

While much of HealthMarkets’ work was external, Stahl knew he needed to turn his attention inward to avoid potential issues with employee-to-customer disconnect while also addressing culture and company values.

He explains: “In addition to the consumer-facing rebranding work, we reinforced it internally, too. We revised the purpose of our company, our people and our brand promise to give consumers Convenience, Choice and Counsel (the ‘Three C’s’) with the best products at the best prices.”

 

Source: HealthMarkets

Executing internal content requires a multi-pronged approach with email content and digital resources paired with in-person updates and conversations that revolve around the rebrand and the company values. This content both introduces the concepts and value points, while providing ongoing support for employees as they adapt to the new messaging in their role.

Propel Your Rebrand Forward With the Right Content

Content plays an important role in every rebrand, no matter how big or small your company is. Leverage content to tell your story, redefine your voice, drive buzz, build thought leadership and communicate internal messaging and changes to successfully transition into the freshest version of your company – while keeping customers engaged, loyal, and in the loop.

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Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. She also regularly contributes to Business Insider, Glassdoor, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn via the links below.

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