Rebranding as a Culture
Rebranding as a Culture — In our new article we talk about the opportunities and risks in the rebranding process, how management can position themselves and when to pick up employees.
Convincing your own people
A rebranding process is both an opportunity and a risk for companies and their management. It can clearly strengthen a company and employer brand and the trust in its management internally. By showing all employees what the brand is today and where it sees itself tomorrow. Today, employees and applicants want to know why they choose a company. Or why they want to stay there. A rebranding process can provide good answers for both.
However, the possible risks include potential cynicism and demotivation among employees. For example, is the rebranding process always decided in a small circle and are employees constantly presented with a fait accompli? Or if employees don’t understand the purpose of it all and don’t feel brought on board, it can lead to a damaged relationship with management and destroy trust.
The key to rebrandings that are supported by employees and later gladly passed on to customers lies in the way employees are involved and how well the process is communicated internally. Based on the good and bad experiences of numerous rebranding cases with medium-sized companies, we are writing down some — certainly incomplete — tips for better rebranding processes.
Often, management’s intention for rebranding leaks into the company and leads to gossip and speculation. Getting that genie back in the bottle is tedious. Better: The management explains early on what it wants to achieve with a rebranding. Why it is necessary. What it means for everyone — and how everyone can participate. This can convince employees and make them an active part of the rebranding process.
A rebranding usually has strategic backgrounds. Something fundamental about the direction has changed. So everything that makes up the brand has to change too. Its face. Its strategy. And preferably also the behaviour of the employees behind the brand. Anyone who has experienced or accompanied change processes in companies knows how exhausting it can be to push for change. The management must therefore have done its brand homework and be able to show why the change has to take place. Good market research, survey results and customer needs provide the most convincing reasons for rebranding.
The ideas behind a rebranding often take weeks to develop at the executive level. If employees are to understand these ideas, they need to be translated into a good storyline for them. The strategy and the process then become the story and the employees become part of it. Everyone can remember it and the story also creates a narrative framework for a process that can take a long time.
The management must be the owner of the rebranding for all to see and initiate the process. A “proclamation event” where the management personally gives the starting signal, justifies its vision and explains the rebranding in the form of a story is the best method for us. Afterwards, there must be enough time for questions and answers. This is how employees become participants.
Let them participate
The design phase is also a good moment to involve employees in the rebranding process. Mood boards are used to derive different rough design routes from the strategy, which employees can evaluate and comment on anonymously. In this way, everyone understands how the new design of the brand emerges from strategic guidelines. The favoured rough route is then further refined, taking into account the comments from the team. This gives all employees the experience: I am involved. My voice counts.
With rebranding processes, companies can strengthen employee satisfaction and thus also their corporate and employer brand. The decisive factor is the right participation of employees in the process, the accompanying communication and a management that puts its heart and soul into it.
— Author Frank Wache is Co-Founder and Managing Partner at JUNO.