Bidding adieu to a beloved brand requires proactive, well-planned communication

Bidding adieu to a beloved brand requires proactive, well-planned communication


Alexandra Ciesielka

Communication is an essential component of any effective rebrand implementation plan. And marketing leaders on the cusp of a rebrand should always consider the best way to introduce their new brand to internal stakeholders and the public.

But if you’re altering elements of a well-known legacy brand — e.g., refreshing a classic logo or replacing a household name — it’s even more important to think about how the news will land with your audiences. After all, brands have the power to evoke emotion and inspire loyalty. And when audiences are passionate about or attached to a brand in any way, news of a rebrand will undoubtedly stir up a wide range of reactions.

10-step guide: How to turn employees into brand ambassadors

This guide provides ten key steps to creating a comprehensive internal communications plan.

Download now

The way you communicate with and respond to your stakeholders matters. Anticipating the questions and complaints you’re sure to face — and proactively crafting empathetic and transparent responses — is the best way to win buy-in and support for your new brand.

Help emotionally vested stakeholders understand the ‘why’ of your rebrand

Even if your brand isn’t a national or global household name, your audience may still feel deeply attached to it. For example, healthcare organizations and local banks often attract loyal and devoted internal and external stakeholders, especially if the organization’s mission is to make a positive difference in the community.

These champions of your legacy brand are the same people you need as ambassadors of your rebrand. But in order to make that transition, they’ll need to understand why this is the right move for your organization at this moment.

First, look for creative ways to honor your legacy brand and acknowledge its unique history and meaning. Then, clearly communicate:

  • Your organization’s business case and strategic rationale for the rebrand
  • The benefits your organization will gain as a result of the change
  • Compelling insights you gleaned from market research and social listening exercises that informed the decision to rebrand

Sharing this information via email and/or a press release might suffice for some members of your audience. But those key stakeholders who have stood by your brand will almost certainly expect a more personal means of communication. Town halls, roadshows, and interactive brand training events can all be effective ways to provide the rationale behind your brand change to emotionally vested audiences.

Anticipate and answer the questions stakeholders will ask about your rebrand

Launching a new brand is exciting and momentous, but it can also feel like you’re opening the floodgates. Once your new brand is live, the questions and comments will start pouring in. And if your team isn’t ready, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed by the sheer number of incoming inquiries.

That’s why it’s so important to anticipate the types of questions your stakeholders will ask and create convenient, accessible avenues for them to find the answers they’re looking for. The best time to do this is several months before you raise the curtain on your new brand.

Commonly asked questions about rebranding

Although no two rebrands are exactly alike, most marketing leaders encounter a core set of similar, predictable questions. At a minimum, you should expect to field questions like:

  • Why are you rebranding?
  • How much will the rebrand cost and what is the overall financial impact on the bottom line?
  • What does the new name or visual identity symbolize?
  • How did you come up with the various elements of your brand’s new identity (new name, logo, messaging, etc.)?
  • When will the rollout start and when will the rebrand be complete?
  • How will the rebrand impact me? (For example, employees may ask big-picture questions about how the rebrand will impact their roles, responsibilities, and benefits as well as tactical ones like when they’ll receive a new ID badge.)
  • Who will be responsible for converting all your branded assets and what’s the right way to apply the new brand everywhere it appears?

An experienced implementation partner like BrandActive can help you anticipate other questions you’re likely to encounter and develop thoughtful answers based on the level of specificity you’re able to provide.

Answering questions before stakeholders even ask can go a long way toward reducing confusion and concern.

Cascade messages about your rebrand through a variety of channels

You can head many questions and complaints off at the pass by incorporating the right information into your overarching rebrand communication plan. Once you’ve thought through the questions and concerns you’re likely to encounter, plan to answer them proactively in a variety of ways.

For external stakeholders:

  • Press releases, social media posts, and website updates
  • Emails and mailings (including monthly bills and newsletters)
  • Personal meetings with top clients, donors, and/or board members

For internal stakeholders:

  • Town halls, video conferences, department meetings
  • Emails and memos
  • One-on-one conversations with managers

Providing stakeholders with answers to their questions before they even ask them can go a long way toward alleviating confusion and concern.

Set up a helpdesk and/or inquiry platform

It’s also important to provide stakeholders with convenient ways to find answers to the questions you haven’t anticipated. That’s where a live helpdesk or automated inquiry platform comes in.

Whether you open this up to external audiences or limit it to employees, consider investing in a technology platform that enables live chats and messaging in addition to phone calls. Then, equip the people staffing your helpdesk with the following information:

  • A comprehensive and detailed list of FAQs along with thoughtfully prepared responses
  • Subject matter experts and/or department heads to contact for questions your FAQs don’t cover
  • Your expected response time for answering inquiries (typically 48 hours)

Be sure to keep track of the types of questions you receive so you can identify any trends or patterns and adjust your communication plan accordingly.

Give your audience the information they need to fall in love with your new brand

It can be challenging to help stakeholders let go of a much-loved brand and embrace something new. After all, even the best changes can be emotionally difficult to navigate.

But if your organization is embarking on a rebrand, you haven’t made the decision lightly. There are good strategic reasons for the choices you’re making. So, give your stakeholders the “why.” Help them understand the benefits the rebrand will bring to the organization they care so much about. And make it easy for them to find answers to every question that comes to mind.

By communicating effectively and openly, you’ll give stakeholders every reason to transfer their loyalty and affection to your new brand.

BrandActive can help you anticipate the questions you’ll receive, put a solid communication plan in place, and win the support of internal and external stakeholders. So, when you’re ready to get started, we’d love to hear from you.