For your brand to be successful, it must do more than just stand out — it needs to invite in. A strong brand strategy, fresh and relevant messaging, and a true-to-you visual identity are all key steps in drawing more people to your work. And when it’s time to delight your community with your new brand, it takes more than a single announcement.
Here are four guiding principles that will help you invite your community in as you launch and activate your new brand:
Set a joyous, celebratory tone when announcing your rebrand. Showing excitement is contagious and helps ease any concerns some may have with the change.
A clear way to celebrate is to create a launch party. Maybe you can connect the brand launch to an annual giving milestone, a community barbeque, or your school theme? Think about what type of events and communications that connect with each audience, and intentionally create the space to celebrate with them — both the donors and those you serve; the alumni and current families; the staff and the patrons.
You didn’t embark on a branding expedition just for the fun of it. There was a challenge you were trying to solve and opportunities you wanted to act on. Intentionally communicating the “why” behind your rebrand helps bring your community into the loop. It also helps nay-sayers view the changes from the perspective of the opportunities, instead of reacting out of their personal preferences.
You have celebrated your new brand and explained the why. Fantastic! But for a rebrand to effectively take hold in the community, you need to extend the ownership beyond the team of leaders who developed it and create a community of confident brand ambassadors.
While brand is everyone’s responsibility, it will take time to get EVERYONE championing your brand. Start with identifying key community members that can help extend the message. Bring them in, get them informed and excited about your new brand and messaging, and send them forth! Personal conversations celebrating the “why” of your brand instills a sense of ownership in the initiative.
The next level of partnership is to train new trainers. Who else should be well-versed enough in your brand to teach others about it? Which staff and community leaders should you intentionally equip to make more brand ambassadors? Provide them with your new, sleek brand book, and identify opportunities in their job to reinforce the new brand. Building up trainers with specific goals to educate others is an effective way to ensure the message keeps spreading, even after all the excitement of “the new” has passed.
A brand refresh will only take root in everyone’s minds once it is activated. The expression of your brand can be broken down into four categories:
It is easier to activate some parts of your brand than others. To make sure your organization looks on-brand, make sure your website includes your new logo and brand colors. To make sure your organization sounds on-brand, facilitate a community meeting by opening with your new brand messages.
Other opportunities to express your brand will take thought, effort, and definitely some humility. If one of your brand values is to “include all perspectives and people,” what will it take to, say, realign your hiring practices around that value? Or your fundraising approach? Or your expected student learning results? The branding process can often shed light on bigger systems changes that need to take place, and your new brand can—and should—help guide you.
We understand that activating your brand after months of development is a milestone like no other, and Mission Minded is always here to help. Whether your organization requires a complete rebrand and name change, a strategy refresh, or fine-tuning of your brand and message strategy, our team is ready to help launch you into your next era of greatness.
Josiah Bloemberg brings his experience working within academic institutions to his role as a strategist at Mission Minded. Josiah previously served as the Marcom & Design Coordinator at Concordia International School Hanoi, where he had the opportunity to oversee all aspects of marketing, communications, and branding for the school. That experience, along with his prior role at the Honors College of Azusa Pacific University, has set him up to successfully amplify our education clients’ unique messages both inside and out.
See all posts by Josiah Bloemberg