About a week ago we re-branded and launched our UK website, changing our name, logo and temporary design. What might seem like an easy and quick job to visitors, requires quite some thinking and planning behind the scenes of a website. In this blog post we want to give you some insight on our ‘plan of attack’ for the re-branding of our website, including lessons we have learned which hopefully spare you from pitfalls we came across.

Preparing the re-branding

Determining our new name and logo marked the start of our ‘plan of attack’. Once this was finalised, the actual launch of the new face of our website still being weeks ahead, we started thinking of the different tools which needed to be adjusted. We came up with at least 15-20 tools we use on a monthly basis and far more on a weekly and daily basis; i.e. from TextExpander to our Google accounts. So this gives us the first hints:

Tip 1: Start weeks in advance to think about all aspects of your website which will be affected by the re-branding. Trust us, you cannot do it all in the week prior to the actual re-branding.

Tip 2: List all tools you use, categorise them according to the frequency of use (daily, weekly, monthly) and prioritise the to do’s for adjusting them.

Everything that could be done behind the scenes of the website was finished a week before the launch, leaving us only with adjusting the URL on the day of the launch. This definitely saved us time and stress on the day we released our new brand.

“Early bird” Release

On the day of releasing your new brand make sure to start early. We learned from own experience that there is much more to it that simply launching the new website and then carrying on with your usual work.

Tip 3: Launch the website early in the morning to ensure you have enough time throughout the day for making the website stable, in case anything goes wrong (and it will!).

Tip 4: Be sure the tools you depend on for the launch are fully operational before you initiate the launch. We had to delay our website release for two hours because one of the tools our developers use for releasing (DeployHQ) was in maintenance mode and we were not aware of it before.

Eventually when we released our new brand everything went quite well. We did have some problems with our internal tools which kept us from adjusting our name on the website for a moment, but at least we took this into account in our planning. So it is advisable to test this for yourself should you ever rename your company.

Involving your team and customers

This paragraph deals less with tools and technical aspects but rather with the stakeholders involved in a re-branding process. Here two tips for involving your team and customers.

Tip 5: Your team is probably the most important part of your re-branding process, as they will represent the new brand in the future. From our experience an involved team member is more enthusiastic about the undertaking and proud of the final result. In the weeks prior to the launch we spent a lot of time discussing our tools and possible improvements or adjustments, creating a lot of input leading to many great ideas our customers and visitors will benefit from.

Tip 6: Usually most people you do business with do not like surprises, other than the annual Christmas gift, which is why we decided to let them in on our re-branding a day before the launch. We used MailChimp to show our new logo and name, and shortly explained why we chose to re-brand pointing out how they will benefit from it. The responses we got from asking for feedback were very positive and underpinned the advantages of our approach.

“Spreading the word”

So now your new website has been launched, your team is committed and motivated, your customers are involved and enthusiastic, one final ingredient to the ideal website launch is still missing: your visitors!

Tip 7: If you have newsletter subscribers, use this audience to start “spreading the word”. On the day of the launch we sent out a MailChimp campaign similar to the one for our corporate customers, introducing the new name and logo, what changes they can expect on our website and of course how they will benefit from these changes.

Tip 8: The announcement for newsletter subscribers also contains everything worth knowing for first time visitors and non-subscribers; so why keep it a secret? We published the email on our weblog making it available to every visitor.

Tip 9: Take the announcement beyond your website. The link to our launch announcement was tweeted, posted on Facebook and shared on LinkedIn. The final step of “spreading the word” will be a press release on different blogs in the coming days and, believe it or not also this blog post. In the end you have to use every medium possible to reach your target audience.

We want to round-off this blog post by pointing out the most crucial aspects in the re-branding process: planning, testing, communicating and remembering in time to adjust your email signatures!