Rebranding During A Pandemic

Lessons From Rebranding During A Pandemic

Posted on : October 11th 2022

Posted by : Neha Gianchand, Vice President & Head of Marketing

A lot has transformed in the last two years—how we live, work, learn, play and whatnot. The pandemic has (seemingly) become an ever-present part of our lives, which has led to people and organizations becoming accustomed to uncertainty and change more than they ever were before.

One such change that I will fondly recall for a long time was when I bore witness to the impact of the pandemic on how we accomplished a milestone. It was when I was entrusted with rebranding my organization.

Rebranding often lets go of the existing company identity due to a change (or a complete overhaul) in solution focus, delivery models, and brand and business objectives. In my case, however, it was more about building on a finely crafted legacy to cultivate a new brand identity. The nuances of the brand identity had to reflect the diversification of business, acquisitions done over the years and various global business and technological trends impacting the industry. Here's how we accomplished this—and how other organizations can too.

Brainstorming: Boardroom Versus Virtual Breakout Rooms

Mention the word "rebranding," and immediately, a picture of a group of leaders huddled in a boardroom comes to mind. What is happening in this image is the most critical stage of the rebranding exercise because here, the leaders discuss various aspects of the organization, such as:

  • What it does.
  • How it does it.
  • How the work impacts society at large.
  • What the purpose of its existence is.
  • Where it plans to be.
  • How the team will complete the journey.

But given the circumstances, the setting could not be more different for companies rebranding during a pandemic.

While an in-person brainstorming session may have been more exciting, the clarity and cohesiveness of thinking in terms of the end objective in the virtual environment more than made up for any possible missing element for us. The task can seem more manageable when each participant is equally invested in the discussion and able to see the end goal through the same lens. As your discussion ends, you should be able to clearly communicate to the branding agency what the new brand has to represent.

The Case for Rebranding

Despite the timing, a rebranding during these times may have nothing to do with the pandemic. Rather, like it was for us, you may find that it's the need of the hour to show:

  • How your company has evolved over the years.
  • How brand equity has expanded over the years.
  • Finally, how the company is leveraging the tailwinds while navigating the headwinds.

If you're looking to reinvigorate growth across the board, the new brand narrative, messaging and positioning will have to show it. In the end, what I've found helps is for each stakeholder to have a clear understanding about where you are and where you want to be.

A Digital-First Approach

To be in sync with the times, you'll want to percolate your message through digital channels. Right from creating buzz around the impending change to the brand reveal, you should leverage videos, emails and PR as modes of communication. For us, as most of our offices were closed, their rebranding could wait while we focused on getting the digital brand repository (logo, brand book and templates) ready.

A key question is how you can get your team members enthused and excited for the reveal. The task was not easy for us to accomplish given the size of the organization, yet we meticulously planned and executed a teaser campaign to keep employees hooked until the CEO's final reveal and announcement.

Why Communication Is Key

It is important to anticipate that a change in name, look and narrative will create questions in customers' and employees' minds. We did too. And the key message for us was that there was no immediate change in how we engaged or delivered our work. People, offerings, policies and processes: all remained the same. The difference was in the way we needed to represent our transformation over the years.

If your situation is similar, emphasize in your communication to customers that your value delivery models and the faces in front of them will continue to remain the same.

The message for your teams should be that the rebranding does not mean reprioritization; rather, it represents a clear focus. Assure them that any change in their way of working (if and when it happens) will be communicated well in advance to allow time to prepare and adapt.

Getting Results

For us, successful rebranding meant no negative customer or employee impact (churn), a clear understanding behind the change and resonance with the new brand narrative.

This exercise's single most critical objective was an enhanced valuation, which we achieved during the subsequent period. In addition to achieving goals like these, your marketing team should also track and exceed expectations on indicators such as coverage, social KPIs, employee satisfaction and an increased interest in the company's offerings by industry analysts and prospects.

Looking Back

It is essential to cherish the journey and the results when you set out to achieve a milestone. As I look back on the (almost) one year since we revealed the new brand, I cannot help but feel a sense of pride in all that we managed to achieve.

The challenges were many:

  • Cross-geographical collaboration amid lockdowns and Covid-19 infection peaks (distressing in various places).
  • A fairly new marketing team. (Most members had been at the company for less than six months.)
  • Getting the trademarks and other permissions, and many more.

But, given the challenges any brand is likely to face, the results should feel even more sweet and fulfilling.

Rebranding is a story of grit, determination, passion and teamwork that makes it all possible.

Follow me on LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Reference -

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2022/06/14/lessons-from-rebranding-during-a-pandemic/?sh=7df1d0f015a8

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