It happens to the best of us: your company had an identity crisis and now it's rebranding. How is it supposed to all transpire on social?
Find out below.
When a company decides their image or business model is no longer resonating with its consumers, the course of action is to scrap the old ways and start fresh. But it sounds so much easier to do than it actually is to execute, and the chances of failing are high. Not to sugarcoat it or anything.
What can either work in your favor or be your achilles heel throughout this process is how you approach content distribution via your social channels. Before Instagram, brand creative was shared in print ads, billboards, sometimes TV spots—those fabled traditional means of reaching consumers. There was no direct line of communication with audiences, and businesses weren't able to be as responsive and omnipresent as they are now.
While the proximity that social media provides is a huge advantage for companies in terms of crafting and circulating a hyper controlled narrative, it can completely backfire if they're not treading carefully. Folks can get angry when they no longer recognize the brand they once willingly followed.
Rebranding is a huge undertaking, especially in this era where Instagram is so deeply rooted in our culture. There's a right way and a wrong way to go about it, and we're here to steer you on the path to makeover success.
Now read the rest of this article and nail it, hunny.
1. Make a plan.
Articulating your business' new direction with precision is a must if you're going to succeed at this whole rebranding thing. To attain your vision, make a plan for social. Aside from determining your goals and aspirations, put some elbow grease into building out a new content strategy from scratch, account for all the details you can think of, contemplate a well-rounded PR strategy, and then outline it all and make a schedule.
2. Take it slow.
Spoiler alert: people don't like change. Rebranding—whether you're just changing your logo, the overall aesthetic of your Instagram feed, or doing a full biz pivot—can ruffle many a feather. Transitioning out of your old ways into your new image should be gradual as to least upset people (aka what will affect engagement).
Unless you're Saint Laurent, an abrupt overnight change can be detrimental beyond repair. Your engagement will plummet, your audience will leave you, and you'll have trouble getting in front of new people because those factors will signal to the algorithm that your content isn't good.
The Dash Hudson platform can really have your back in a rebranding situation, especially as it relates to understanding and monitoring the resonance of creative assets. This is something that should be done to learn how people are responding to your new direction, and is made a seamless task with the Boards tool. Take it slow and survey your new content's performance. Don't (figuratively) punch your followers in the face.
3. Own it.
While the previous point is telling you to take it slow, you should still be unwavering in your rebranding goals. As you monitor your engagement rate through your transition, it will be tempting to revert back to certain posts that you know garner a lot of activity. Do not succumb to the allure of vanity engagement. It's short-lived instant gratification that will get you nowhere closer to your pivot objectives.
Once you've made your plan (see point #1), take it slow so you don't shock anyone (see point #2), and then be unwaveringly consistent in the execution of your aesthetic, voice, and content output. If you're re-crafting an image from scratch, you can't be fair-weather about it once your transition is complete.
4. Be engaging and informative.
Your audience will be confused at first, there's no getting around it. You're going to have to make yourself available to answer questions, whether they come through via DM, comments on posts, or email. The more you interact with your followers, whether old faithfuls or newly acquired,the higher the chances for them to be on board with your newly minted image.
Make sure you are speaking in the company's new tone and answering in the rebranded voice to really solidify what is going on.
5. Be prepared for loss.
No one gets out of a rebranding unscathed. There will be collateral damage, and on Insta that translates to declining follower numbers. But do not despair! This is a temporary side effect and you'll be on the progress path again once the growing pains subside.
Not everyone is going to be pleased about your changing ways, and you have to be prepared to accept that you can't make everybody happy. Stick to your true north knowing that this is the best decision for your business, and that it's been thoroughly scrutinized and evaluated by your executives. Leaving a few people behind is par for the course.
Seeing those numbers declining at first will be discouraging and will trick you into thinking that you aren't doing the right thing. But tell yourself this: you've re-crafted your brand image purposefully and mindfully, and are carving yourself a different niche that will eventually attract your newly identified target demographic. Those dwindling numbers will be climbing back up in no time if you do things right.
It has to be said: this process will inevitably lead to some grey zones that can't be planned and predicted. A lot of rebranding situations are dependent of factors that aren't foreseeable, all while being unique to each company. What transpires on Instagram should be the result of a well-executed plan, but it's simply impossible to anticipate every odd detail of how things will go down. You just have to be prepared.
Every company is different, and will approach rebranding from their distinct standpoint. Stick to the above five pointers as your guide and rely on your gut to nail the minutia.
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