2 min Read
July 23, 2013

3 tips to roll out your new brand

When a nonprofit (or any business) rebrands, the work always happens in phases. First, there’s all the work that’s happening behind the scenes before the new identity is shared with the public. Then there’s the process of updating everything. Lastly, there’s maintenance: updates and adjustments to keep the brand on track.

Recently, I visited a large nonprofit that recently changed its visual identity and messaging. Along the way, I was struck by all the instances where their new logo, colors, and design system were already in use – and a few places were it wasn’t. Even large institutions (or, perhaps, especially large institutions) struggle to update everything seamlessly.

This organization had ‘flipped the switch’ on their new brand in a few ways other nonprofits might learn from:

    • Posters with the new mission statement in public spaces
    • A redesigned newsletter printed and available in the lobby areas
    • Guest wifi access page redesigned with the new visual identity and messages

In some areas, the old brand was still in evidence:

    • Business cards in programs’ waiting areas reflected a mix of the old and new logo
    • Accent walls in programs’ spaces were painted with the old—not the new—brand colors
    • Old signage on the walls

Who can blame them? The bottom line is that updating everything takes time and costs money. If you’re rebranding, here are three tips to help you tackle your rollout.

  1. Remember that most people will connect with your nonprofit through 5 primary channels: online, in print, on air, in person, and mobile. Start by identifying all the communications tools use use in each of these areas. For example, under online, you might list website, Facebook, Twitter, email templates, microsites, and any other online tools you use to communicate. Under ‘in person’ you might list your signage, office furnishings, and handouts.
  2. Budget to update in phases. It’s hardly realistic to do it all at once, so plan to start with the most visible pieces (probably your website, social media, and core printed materials) and systematically reprint or develop new templates at key junctures.  As you make the list I suggested in the first tip, consider scoring each item (1-10) for its visibility and importance. You might also want to build a ‘brand updates’ line item into your communications budget for the next 2 years just to play it safe.
  3. Don’t forget the hidden or automated stuff. It’s easy, as a staff person, to set something up and forget about it—like the thank you page or automatic email people get after they make a donation online, for instance. To be sure you’ve updated everything with your new brand, put yourself in the shoes of your donors, clients, board members, peers and volunteers. Test out what happens when you take the actions they’d take. Make a donation online, sign up for the newsletter, call the main number to hear the voice mail system recording, and so on. You’ll uncover all sorts of little places you can roll out your new brand.