I lived in the dormitories for the first two years I was in college. Life on campus tended to be a bit boring, though. But there was one building down the hill that was known for providing entertainment. The inhabitants tended to throw parties for pretty much any reason—not just end-of-finals parties, but the-power's-gone-out parties, and even the-cafeteria-served-something-gross parties. Any excuse was enough of an excuse to party.
Redesigning your business brand is a big to-do. You have to do a lot of soul-searching, answering hard questions, to figure out the story that your brand needs to tell your target audience.
Then, there's the design process itself—working with a designer, looking at rounds and rounds of sketches to finalize the logo, and deciding on a Visual Vocabulary with the spark and subtlety to communicate your story.
Finally, you need to design all the supporting materials you market your business with. That means designing and printing stationery, creating a website, updating your HTML newsletter template, changing your brochures… The list goes on and on.
And, after it's all over, your new brand gets launched in "stealth mode."
Once the redesign is done, many small businesses launch it silently. They change their logos, business cards, and websites one day—sometimes without so much as an announcement or a "By the way…" to their customers. Not only are they potentially confusing and alienating them, but they're also missing out on a great excuse to party!
Do you mean to literally throw a party?
If you like to host parties, then sure, go ahead! You can throw an in-person party at your offices or at another location like a restaurant or bar if you work out of your home or if your offices are too small. You can also throw a party in an "open house" format, which can take some of the pressure off you and your space. Or, if your clients are located far from your offices, you can throw a virtual networking party on a teleconference.
If throwing an actual party isn't your speed, there are still plenty of things you can do to celebrate your new brand and to make sure you're not launching in stealth mode.
- Make an announcement on your website about the new brand. Consider posting your old brand for reference and to reassure customers that they're in the right spot.
- Write a press release—and send it to your trade journals and local newspapers. Your small business may not get rebranding coverage in the Wall Street Journal, but your local newspaper will be likely to run at least a blurb about the change. You may even catch a journalist's eye and get a longer write-up.
- Send a letter to your past clients about the new brand. This will ensure that they feel included, and it will also give you a chance to connect with people you may not have spoken to in a while. If you offer a free check-up or consultation with the letter, you may even rekindle some old relationships.
- Feature some of the story of your new brand in your newsletter. Tell your customers and prospects what it took to get there.
- Put your brand story on your website. Not only will this give you a way to celebrate your new brand, but it will also give you an opportunity to explain your company's personality right there in the "About" section.
- Tell your employees about the details of the change. This is another great excuse for a party—even a simple cake-and-ice cream affair can go a long way towards generating employee goodwill. And it will give you an opportunity to tell them about the new brand and its meaning and get them involved in the change.
- Send a present to your customers and contacts. Print—and give out—new promotional items, such as pens, flashlights, or blinky toys. This can give them something to get excited about. And giving them something with the new logo on it can help them remember your business more quickly, which is essential to any brand.
- Run a special promotion, offer or giveaway in conjunction with the new brand announcement. If you really want people to notice your new brand, giving something away might be just the ticket.
Rebranding your business may not be as obvious a reason to party as the end of college finals, but it's still a reason to celebrate. At the very least, you'll help to avoid alienating your customers. At the very best, you can get positive exposure for your business—and have a good time while doing it!