Good leadership is about letting people truly lead—no matter their level. For a company rebrand, you may be overlooking your greatest untapped resource: your employees.
It’s not easy to rebrand a company. Especially when it’s more than a cosmetic refresh of a logo or website. Add the challenge of a global pandemic and the efforts of transitioning your workforce to remote, and it can seem insurmountable. But it is possible. And doing so during a time of uncertainty may even offer the jolt of energy your employees need to get excited about and more focused on the future.
Employee engagement is essential to the long-term success of a company, increasing productivity by 17% and profitability by 21%. Engaging employees to lead a corporate rebranding effort will not only harness their excitement in the short-term but will benefit the organization in the long-term.
There is a great deal of hidden value in why your employees—not executive leadership—should lead a rebrand. It allows you to evolve company culture, embrace your disruptors, nurture organizational trust, and build unity across regions.
1. Evolve Company Culture
It is vital during an organizational rebrand to recognize that culture doesn’t change overnight. It’s equally important to know what needs to change and what needs to be preserved so the company doesn’t lose its sense of self. However, this change cannot simply be a directive and company culture must not be misconstrued as corporate conformity. Employees need to understand that brand consistency does not equate to “sameness” across the world.
At the end of the day, your clients value the expertise that the individuals in your company provide. It’s essential to articulate the personality of the new brand and communicate often to employees so these personality characteristics begin translating into new behaviors.
2. Embrace Your Disruptors
A rebrand deserves big thinkers, big ideas—and even input from some of your organization’s biggest disruptors. In order to fully understand the challenges that the brand and company face, you should consider voices from all areas of the business. Seek out pockets of expertise and creative voices who normally wouldn’t participate in this type of project. Bring into the brainstorming phase critical thinkers and disruptors—anyone who is willing to challenge assumptions and biases about your brand, and who may be more attuned to the market and your competitors.
Engaging in this way from the early phases will create a sense of brand ownership, as well as company loyalty. A 2020 Engagement and Retention report from Achievers found that 90% of employees are more likely to stay at a company that takes and acts on their feedback.
So, by encouraging employees to own every phase, their confidence will grow, and this will amplify their sense of loyalty to the organization, knowing they had a hand in building it.
3. Nurture Organizational Trust
Change within an organization is never simple, and some percentage of employees will resist change for a number of reasons, but, according to Prosci, lack of trust in the people communicating the change, which usually falls to executive leadership—is one of the most frequently cited.
If a rebrand project is led exclusively by leadership, employees will feel like they had no part in the change or decisions about the future of the company. Forcing change of any kind usually fails. By engaging employees at various levels to lead and take part, and by applying important change management principles, rebranding can become an opportunity to establish a firmer foundation of trust between leadership and employees, which can have a positive long-term impact and jumpstart change management metrics for future projects.
4. Build Unity Across Regions
Executives typically have a bird’s eye view of their organization, offering a greater opportunity to work with leaders across regions. But employees may be more focused on working within their own teams for daily projects. Encouraging more expansive collaboration on a project like a rebrand can have long-term benefits, including a five time increase in productivity.
Strategically teaming employees together from various time zones, regions and departments will not only make the collaborative experience more immersive, but it will imbue your organization with cultural unity. It also provides your organization a fresh opportunity to move away from siloed operations, to more centralized decision-making methods, creating more consistencies across all aspects of your brand.
Good leadership is about letting people truly lead—no matter their level. It’s also about listening, understanding, and giving employees an opportunity to feel heard and be part of both the smaller and larger decisions that impact an organization now and in the future. This is especially important and effective during a period of uncertainty.
Turning team members into team leaders can give employees a sense of brand ambassadorship, boost their morale, increase buy in and amplify long-term success for the organization.
About Melanie Morales
Melanie is a member of SGK’s Global Marketing team who worked to launch SGK’s rebrand. She brings 15 years of marketing, writing, and communication experience developed across various industries including media, energy, and publishing.