A Brand New Day: Five tips for rolling out your new brand
Last month we discussed some of the content challenges of relaunching your website. But what’s even more thrilling-slash-terrifying than rolling out a new site? Try rolling out a new identity!
A successful new identity—logo, colors, messages, etc.—is grounded in your nonprofit’s vision, mission, values, positioning, and personality, so even if you’re making big changes to the way you look and talk, it should still feel familiar and right. But it’s still important to present your new identity to supporters in a way that makes them feel connected and involved. At its best, rolling out a new brand can be an invigorating moment, inspiring your community to forge onward and upward. At its worst, misunderstandings and lack of buy-in can hamper the effectiveness of the new brand for months, if not years.
Here are a few tips to consider when and if you roll out a new brand…
1. Start with a solid strategy.
We know new brands are exciting. But don’t start sharing anything about your new identity without a rollout strategy. Consider the three types of rollouts—the flipped switch, the phased launch, and the rolling launch. To determine the best rollout for you, start by considering how big of a change you are making and how your community might react. Ask yourself: How much loyalty does our community have to our old identity? How much time and resources do our staff members have to dedicate to a rebrand? Is there an event or moment in the coming year that would make sense to roll out the new brand to our community?
2. Train your staff and board on the new brand…before you launch it to the world.
After all, they are your brand’s ambassadors, and they need to feel just as excited as the senior leadership. Consider role-playing and cheat sheets on how to use new language. And if you’ve put all the dos and don’ts about the new identity into a style guide (we hope you have!), it is a great idea to review it together during a special meeting.
3. Engage your community.
The keys to a successful rollout are a well-developed new brand and a community that embraces it. Here are two ways we recommend you prepare your community:
- Before you roll out, preview the new brand with key stakeholders (“super fans”) to build buy-in and excitement early.
- Share the inside story with your community. Whether at a major event or as part of gradual shift, let them know the strategic reasons behind the work and what you’re hoping to achieve moving forward.
4. Have a communications plan for life beyond rollout.
Once you’ve rolled out your new identity, it’s important to have an idea of how you’ll be communicating in the next twelve to eighteen months. We recommend drafting a plan that includes links to resources like the style guide, a calendar of upcoming messages and communications, and a schedule for any additional elements that still need to be updated.
5. Don’t forget the small stuff.
Posting the new logo on your website (or redoing it) is important, but be sure to reflect the new identity across all channels, including online, in print, in person, on air, and through mobile. From old names still recorded on voicemail, to old logos lingering on your YouTube page—even the smallest details can undermine your brand’s effectiveness and confuse your community.