So you’ve just gone through an extensive branding process. You have a new strategy, a new message, and maybe even a new logo or tagline. Now what? As a marketing professional, many times, the immediate instinct would be to go for a big, media-making, public launch. My one piece of advice: STOP and wait. If you jump to an external launch without first engaging your employees, you may be dooming your new brand.
You may notice that we talk a lot about employees on this blog. Why? Because your employees are the single most important piece in your branding puzzle. Forgetting to inform them and include them in a new brand can hold back the success of your launch. Here are four reasons to launch your brand to employees BEFORE going public:
- Your employees are your brand ambassadors: Your employees are the most human part of your brand, putting a face to your brand on a daily basis. They deliver your brand promise directly to your customers, partners, the community, the media, investors, etc. How can your employees accurately communicate your brand if they don’t know what it is? Make sure your employees fully understand your new brand – and why the change is occurring – to ensure that your new image has a consistent message as it is brought forward.
- If they don’t know, they’ll make it up: You want your employees to be able to explain the change and to be able to answer questions when they’re asked. Otherwise – especially if the change in strategy is more drastic – the confusion of your employees will reflect outwardly.
- Employees can help add to the excitement of your new brand: A new brand – especially when it comes with dramatic elements like a new logo or message – is truly an exciting thing. By including your employees and communicating the changes to be made, you can generate pride and fervor in a way that a press release can’t.
- Raise employee engagement instead of squashing it: By including your employees in a brand launch before or alongside the public launch, you’re showing them that you value them just as much as you value your customers. A brand is not just about reaching new customers, gaining market share, etc. It’s about instilling pride among the people who work with you. Launching a brand externally without first educating your internal audience can lead to confusion and frustration. And why wouldn’t it? When you don’t include your employees in your brand, you’re telling them that you don’t care about including them – or worse, that you forgot about them.
Of course, in the real world, it’s not always possible or even advisable to time an internal brand launch to take place prior to a public launch. But there are ways around it. Especially in situations where secrecy is paramount, we often recommend timing the employee reveal to take place at the same time as the public launch, or engaging the employees in other ways to prepare them for the public launch.
How do you engage your employees in a brand launch? Would love to hear your ideas.