Brand change: launch of the brand – internally. The importance of the internal launch (as well as external) after a brand change programme cannot be over stated.
When brand development programmes are undertaken or work done on a new visual identity, it’s common to see external audiences considered more than internal ones. Externally is where the customers are, right? It’s also easy to get carried away with the idea people outside the organisation are going to be wetting themselves in anticipation of the launch. Neither are correct.
The key to a successful brand launch starts from the inside. It’s vital people inside the organisation clearly understand why a brand development or visual identity programme has been undertaken. And, it’s an opportunity to explain where the business has come from – people always forget – and where it’s going. Staff and stakeholders should feel included and aware they have an integral part to play. They should understand it, build on it and begin to live the new brand.
The launch of the brand internally must come before the external one. It can be done with as much exuberance felt necessary. Some organisations prefer more lowkey affairs other use the opportunity to stage much more upbeat launches with a party atmosphere. There is no right or wrong, just what best suits the brand and personnel. If the initial research stage from interviews and workshops has been conducted well, it is likely participants may see certain influences in the shaping of the brand. But what is most important is that they understand the ‘what’ and the ‘why’. Staff and stakeholders are the key to espousing the brand, bringing it to life, giving it depth and substance. They should nurture and protect it as it begins its new life.
Other entities or suppliers strongly associated with the organisation and significantly bound up with its future, in some cases, should also be treated like internal audiences. An outsourced accounts and bookkeeping firm, for example, may have very high external contact and needs to be fully on-board with the brand, what it stands for and the new spirit of the organisation.
How the external launch is conducted, again, is dependent and the particular organisation. How high profile with how much fanfare. One thing is certain, there is really only one opportunity to bite this particular cherry. For a few days only the world will be a little more interested in your organisation and the new brand – but perhaps not as much as you’d like to think. Therefore, it’s an opportunity to capitilise on this exposure communicating clearly the vision and the brands central, unifying purpose.
Things to be especially aware of. Threats to the brand may come when certain parts of the business claim to be separate and resist the change. Interviews and workshops in the initial stages must pick these things up and discover if there is any truth in the assertions. If so, it need to be dealt with accordingly and be considered when developing the brand architecture. This is discussed in the previous ‘Think On’ article.