Don’t let a good rebrand go bad. A lot of time and resources go into researching and executing a rebrand strategy. Make sure you launch your new website in a way that will help it to be as successful as possible. With a little planning and forethought, you can help ensure your team’s time was well spent. Here are our top tips for things you ideally should do – and not do – when launching your rebrand.
What Not To Do: Just Launch It
A rebranding isn’t going to fly under the radar with your users. If you launch a new website, but don’t publicize or explain it, you not only lose out on a golden PR opportunity, you also run the risk of confusing your users. If you moved a lot of stuff around on the site, chances are your current users will have a difficult time finding things, which could frustrate them enough to stop visiting the site. New users probably won’t be phased, but why not attract even more new users by advertising the site? Chances are, the redesign was with your audience in mind, so why not let them know that? Tout the shiny new layout, features, and perks, and you may even get an extra lead or two out of it.
What To Do: Create A Launch Campaign
A rebrand is a great way to reconnect with your users. And if you’re proud of your rebrand, you’re probably already inclined to share the good news across all of your spaces: social media, e-mail, postcards even, if you like. To take it to the next level, design a campaign around the launch that will excite users and explain why the rebrand is important to them.
Try to get users participating and invested in the rebrand by asking them to give feedback, comment on social media outlets, or sign up for your newsletter. Rewards are a great way to get people active, just make sure the goodies are branded too. For example, giving a way a free Kindle or Nook if your business is ebooks makes a lot of sense, but if you’re in real estate, for example, it might not be the best choice. The goal is to make it about your users and how the rebrand relates to them, so make sure all of the details align appropriately.
What Not To Do: Freak Out If Something Goes Wrong
If something goes wrong or you find that something doesn’t work, don’t sweat it. This stuff happens to even the huge brands out there. And it can always be fixed. What’s more important is how you handle the situation. Be open, friendly, and genuinely thank whomever pointed out the mistake. Then make a note to get it fixed.
Keep in mind that not everyone is going to love the rebrand. Why? Some people just don’t like change. Even if it’s for their own good. Listen to their feedback, respond with kind words, and they’ll probably warm up to it with a little time.
What To Do: Double-Triple Check Your Tech
If your rebrand is successful, you’re going to have a lot of new traffic to your website. Make sure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed when it comes to the technology side of things so your users can focus on the more important stuff – using the site’s functional features and seeing what an awesome company you are. Here are a few common things to look for:
- Check and double check all of the links, redirects, content, and functional bits.
- Make sure everything works on all the major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer 7+ (ask us how we feel about earlier versions of IE if you want to hear a good rant).
- Also make sure your site looks good and functions nicely on mobile devices.
- Look over all your page titles and meta descriptions to make sure they’re correct, informative, and interesting.
- Implement your favicon (tiny icon near the address bar and on the bookmarks list) for web browsers
- Include an icon for mobile browsers in case someone bookmarks your site on their iPhone
- Install Google Analytics and make sure it’s actively tracking the success of your new site.
Remember, this is the ideal launch plan, so don’t sweat it if you can’t do all of these things right now. Maybe mobile has to wait until the next launch or you don’t have the funds or time to do a huge launch campaign. That’s ok! Just make sure you're tracking your site’s weak points, so you know what to tackle next.
What To Do: Track And Follow-Up
Keep both eyes on the analytics tracking to see how people are responding to the rebrand via site traffic. Also, whether or not you ask for direct feedback from users, pay attention to your social spaces for it. You’ll likely get it in the form of tweets and comments if you didn’t setup a specific forum for it. Respond in turn and stay positive.
Remember to walk the walk. Your brand isn’t a one-time launch event. Keep checking for feedback, updating your site, executing your brand across your channels, and measuring the results. Is it exhausting? Yes. Is it worth it? Totally.