say you’re about to take a leap into the future – a project launch, a
new collaboration, a complete brand overhaul. You might be a small
independent, yet established business who outgrew your logo along with
your first office-space years ago. Or, like many of our microbusiness
and artistpreneur (one-person-show) clients, you’ve finally grownup
enough in your confidence, expertise and offering that your website your
college roommate’s cousin designed for you just isn’t hacking it
Regardless of your small business style, or size, it’s a
great day when you can finally close the gap between the brand you’ve
always wanted and the one you’re finally about to get. So it stands to
reason, that if you’ve spend the time, effort and money to take your
brand to the next level, you want to share it with anyone who will look
or listen. The more attention the better, especially when it comes to
all your dream customers-to-be out there.
We don’t disagree. But
before you share your rebrand with the world, you better stop, drop and
roll it out to the people who matter most. A brand update, facelift, or
just plain reboot means a change (even if a good one), to an existing
brand (even if a bad one), that your employees and customers have gotten
used to. Which is why when it comes to a rebrand, you should roll it out to your inner circle before it ever rolls out the door.
the idea of a roll out isn’t rocket science. Obviously there are some
pretty great reasons to give the people closest to a brand a sneak peek.
To get buy in. To help them better communicate the brand themselves.
To get their shirt sizes so you can give them a new logo tee. And,
well, to just get everyone rallied around something you spent a good
amount of energy creating.
But we think the most important reason
is this – to make sure your biggest fans and your biggest critics (who
can sometimes be the same people, people) feel “in on it.” These are
usually either your employees, or your customers, but can also be
longtime working partners and vendors, and even friends and family who
have supported you along the way. They know the truth of your brand
firsthand (even if they don’t call it that). They know the good and the
bad and the ugly, the thick and the thin, the richer the poorer and all
that jazz. So you want to make sure they don’t feel disconnected or
alienated by something as seemingly harmless as a rebrand. You want these people to feel included, like they are an irreplaceable part of how you got there. Because they are.
here’s a swell idea. Throw a party. Now this can mean different things
depending on your size or style. But the intent is the same – to create
a moment around your new brand. Create a moment to reflect on where
you’ve been and then show where you are going, to say “isn’t this cool!”
For a small business this roll out should start with your employees.
For the microbusiness it starts with your friends, family, vendor
partners and most of all your current customers. But however you define
your inner circle, and whatever the scale of this celebration – the key
ingredient is appreciation.
For The Small Business: Employee Appreciation Roll Out
all-staff breakfast is one way to make sure everyone can attend before
the work day begins (but happy hours can work if you have a smaller
group). Give the team a heads up, and send out the calendar appointment a
couple weeks ahead of time. Build some excitement and anticipation
around the brand reveal, let them know the “why” of the gathering but
don’t give anything away. Keep everything under wraps as long as you
possibly can. Now, hopefully some of your employees have had some
involvement in the brand development on some level leading up to this
point, but we mean keep the final look and feel secret until the end.
Remember, your goal is to show appreciation and to create a moment.
Roll Out Checklist
Festivity: Food, music and decorations. Themed along with your new brand is nice, too.
Speech: Short and sweet, but delivered by the leader of your small business.
Creative documentation along with a short presentation can include a
few slides or even posters on easles showing how you arrived at the new
brand. This is a great way to give everyone a sense of the journey.
Think inclusive, so if you have any quotes or pictures that bring the
employees into that process, definitely highlight those.
Unveiling the new logo, name, tagline or overall look and feel can be a
really cool moment. If you have the budget or means to create a brand
video (just 1 to 2 minutes) this can really bring it all to life in a
way that is hard to match. Then you’ll always have it, to use it on
your website or in future new business presentations after the roll out.
It may seem like a small thing, but if you can give at least one small
gift to each employee that captures the spirit of the new brand, a
tshirt, a framed piece of desk art, a tote bag, along with a note
(especially a personal note) conveying your appreciation for them as the
biggest part of your brand – it can really help make the new look and
feel more tangible.
For The Microbusiness: Client Appreciation Roll Out
you are just a couple people or just one person running the show, you
can take many of the ideas listed above and just adapt them to a happy
hour, an open house. Or you can take it on the road and plan a week
where you visit with each of your clients, sharing the new brand. A gift
is nice, a bit of that “behind-the-curtain” explanation of how and why
you got here is great. Don’t forget to stress how they helped you get
here and don’t create an upsell feeling about it. Keep it casual and
fun. If many of your clients are from different parts of the country or
world, create a nice mail piece and follow up with an email and/or
phone call combo. If you spent the money or time to have a brand video
created, by all means, share it.
You can push out a beautiful brand, but someone’s gotta catch it.
recently had a branding client, who after spending weeks developing a
rebranded look and feel for their logo suite, sales collaterals and
website with us, hadn’t yet gotten around to launching it with their
team. In part, because we hadn’t pushed it, and in part because they
got busy, like people and businesses tend to do.
Feeling a little
frustrated with the lack of an employee launch, this client told us she
felt like we had all spent this time and effort giving birth to this
really beautiful baby together, and then everyone let it fall on the
floor. Ouch! Since then we’ve started planning a belated internal
launch together, following the same suggestions listed above.
that description will stick with me for a long time I think. So don’t
let your rebrand just roll every which way before you unroll it to the
people that matter most. And don’t let this beautiful little brand you
created fall on it’s head on the floor. Create that moment, give the
people in your “inner circle” a chance to be part of it, let them hold
it – and then roll that baby out the door.