February 27, 2018

How to Socialize Your Brand

If you followed a systematic approach to build a new brand (or refreshed an existing one), you started with discovery research. You then developed a brand mantra to inform how your brand would be articulated to internal audiences and the outside world. Finally, you created or refined the outward expressions, such as the name, mark and colors.

All of this hard work was done in preparation to share your brand with stakeholders and customers. This is when the rubber hits the road. It’s important to invest as much time, and as many resources, into properly socializing and managing your brand as it is to develop, create and refine it.

Here are eight steps to socialize your brand:

  1. Start inside. Build brand ambassadors by first informing those who represent your brand. Give employees the tools to understand your new brand and encourage them to emulate it in everything they do. It is important that your brand platform is actualized in the real-life experiences your customers have when interacting with your brand.
  2. Make a splash. When you launch your brand, make it count. Create positive energy and momentum with the announcement. Make it memorable and exciting so that internal and external audiences witness its importance.
  3. Use multiple forms of communication. People respond differently to styles of communication. Some people learn new ideas from visuals, others from words. Some prefer email, while others like to receive information in person. Regardless, everyone needs to hear a message multiple times before it sticks.
  4. Remember the why. Provide the rationale for why you changed your brand. Put it in context and tie it to your organization’s vision and strategic plan. Otherwise, it will look like an unnecessary and wasteful exercise.
  5. Give a giveaway. Make your brand a part of everyday life by placing your new or refreshed logo in places where it is visible and can be used by internal and external customers. Think branded water bottles, baseball caps, pins, umbrellas and pens.
  6. Provide a cheat sheet. Don’t expect people to remember everything about your new brand from the launch presentation or the email you sent out last week. Provide a pocket brand guide that people can carry with them that describes the brand pillars, story and guidelines.
  7. Encourage sharing, with examples. The best way to highlight your brand is to show how people are interacting with it and living it. Develop and promote posts that encourage internal and external customers to share their real-world experiences with your brand on social media.
  8. Avoid naysayers. Change is hard for many people. And with any change, there will be a portion of your audience that will resist it—no matter what it is. Focus on your audience that supports the change and those who are undecided but can be easily swayed.

Brands are valuable. Whether you are implementing a new brand or refreshing an existing one, you should follow a systematic approach to ensure that resources are not wasted, and that the brand is properly managed, enforced and protected.