No matter how wonderful and successful your organization is, a brand does not last forever. Times change, missions and values evolve. And your corporate identity must evolve as well.
The rebranding process had been in the works for a few years at Erie Homes for Children and Adults, Inc. (EHCA) and kicked into high gear just as I was coming onto the scene in December 2018 as the new marketing specialist. I know what you’re thinking…what an easy and stress-free first task, yes?
I was up for the challenge and fortunate to join a creative and fun development team that became cohesive almost immediately. We all truly believe in the mission and just clicked. But - knowing the stressors and intense timeline that would be ahead, I only hoped we could stay that way.
I can’t lie, the rebranding process is not a walk in the park. It’s filled with uncertainties, company soul searching and vast information gathering. It’s making a decision, only to have it scrapped just short of the finish line. It’s trying to balance hundreds of opinions and suggestions and appeasing the masses while staying true to your mission. It’s kind of like juggling disappearing balls. Just when you think you’ve caught one, poof! BUT – nothing worthy of this kind of thought and time and money should ever be easy, right? And when it’s all said and done, you’ve created a brand your employees, clients, families and the community can recognize and support.
My four takeaways?
- Once the agreed upon vision and plan are in place -- BE FLEXIBLE. This process is a living and breathing thing. Updates have to be approved. Chain of command communication may (and most likely will) be a bit slower than you would hope. After all, you are so excited when each phase has been completed, you want to share it with your superiors. It may take a few days or weeks to move through your leadership or board ranks. Breathe. It’ll will be worth it in the end.
- It’s important to EMBRACE NEW IDEAS. In all successful organizations, key stakeholders have strong opinions and feelings of loyalty to the former brand. Change can be hard for many. It will be up to you to set the tone and create excitement for the new!
- I learned that LISTENING is essential. To achieve the buy in you need for your new brand, it’s important to really listen to the feelings of all who are involved. Take their opinions into account and make them feel heard.
- If you do not have a sense of humor – DO NOT ENTER. Yes, a rebrand is serious business. But if you get easily discouraged or frustrated at each setback, you may grow long hair, fangs and howl at the moon when you get home. No one wants that. Do the work. Stay positive. Laugh when you need to.
In the end, EHCA employees, board members, families and donors all approved of and supported the new logo, colors and brand promise without hesitation. (Insert witch cackle)
See? I still have my sense of humor.
Click here to connect with Heather on LinkedIn and be sure to join us on January 28, 2020 for "Midday Marketing Meet-Up: Keeping Up With The Times (Not The Kardashians!).