Revealing Your New Brand
by Bill Kenney
A successful rebrand requires a well-planned rollout. That is not debatable. You’ll be shocked when you finally sit down and audit all the moving parts of your brand.
Rebranding is an exhaustive exercise rooted in refining a new strategy, purpose, and vision of the future. It should be a vision that people are hungry to support. The rollout process is critical because when done poorly, that purpose is overlooked and the entire rebrand exercise is mistaken as a design project. Airbnb didn’t say “Check out our new logo.” It said, “Imagine a world where you can belong anywhere.” See the difference?
So what should you know when thinking about your rollout?
Lead with a Story
First and foremost, brands are stories (successful brands are, anyway). Tesla is building a sustainable future, not a car company. Nike is unlocking your inner athlete, not selling shoes. Stories give us something to sink our teeth into, believe in, and get emotional about. That is what you want to reveal in your brand rollout. Find your brand story, and use it as a keystone in your brand reveal. When you lead with a story, everything else will make sense. All the nuanced decision-making around colors, words, and symbols will be rooted in the story and less likely to become subject to personal bias. Look for ways to build that narrative directly into the design elements, naming the color palette and logo in ways that connect to the larger story. Airbnb again provides a great example, naming its new logo the Bélo, short for “belonging.” Every story is different, and some are more compelling than others, but we all have a story to tell. Make sure to tell it.
Build Momentum from the Inside Out
A rebrand is a highly personal exercise, especially for everyone inside the organization. This is not just about your customers or a new market you’re going after. Your internal team is the heart and soul of the organization, and they need to hear and see the vision first. So before you go blasting press releases and showing the new brand to the outside world, plan a very specific and heartfelt rollout for your team. I typically recommend a more intimate presentation given by the CEO or founder to the entire organization. When done well, your team will align with the new brand and carry the flag proudly. That will create a compounding ripple effect when you reveal it publicly.
Don't Try to Please Everyone
Not everyone needs to love it. Yes, you need to get the team on board, but a brand rollout is never about pleasing everyone. Presenting a new brand is about showcasing your company’s new vision. It’s a new rallying cry to get people aligned and motivated around a North Star. Hinging the success of your brand rollout on people’s perceived love for a color palette or logo is short-sighted. Building a brand is a long game—infinite, actually. Trust that the strategy work and the resulting decisions that led to your new visuals and messaging have purpose and will resonate with the right people over time. Change is hard, so there will always be some pushback and reluctant acceptance of the new brand both internally and externally. Embrace that; it’s simply part of the process.
Planning is Paramount
You’ll be shocked when you finally sit down and audit all the moving parts of your brand. This is why the planning process needs to begin as soon as the rebrand project begins. If left with only a few weeks at the back end of your rebrand project, you will be cutting corners, and that’s not how you want to reveal all your hard work. Start with auditing, and follow that by prioritizing. Finally, assign the right people to the right tasks. This is a team effort, and clearly defining that will make a world of difference when it’s time to make the big splash with your rollout reveal.