Here's another teaser from our August issue. The cover story, "Rebranded: Changing your company name might be a hassle, but it could pay off," details what it takes to launch a company name or rename.
There are bunch of special considerations when undertaking a rebrand. Here's a checklist to walk you through some important steps, courtesy of Just Name It, a guide from the brand name development firm Catchword.
Legal and administrative
• Have your attorney submit an application for trademark registration to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
• File for a name change with the secretary of state and appropriate city/county authorities.
• Check with your tax attorney for any name-change filing issues related to subsidiaries, divisions, sister companies, etc.
• Update bank accounts, checks, and other financial paperwork.
• Update your listing in the Yellow Pages, White Pages and other print and online directories.
Marketing and identity
• Conduct an audit of how your logo appears across all of your communications.
• Engage a graphic designer (or design team) to create/update your logo and other elements of your new visual identity.
• Create/update business cards, letterhead, envelopes and other stationery.
• Create/update brochures, pamphlets and other marketing collateral.
• Engage a web designer to create/update your website.
• Establish a plan for how to phase out the old name, if applicable (e.g., use transitional copy, such as “NewName—formerly known as OldName”).
• Decide when to debut the new name and identity change.
• Solicit ideas from the internal team for the best ways to announce the new name and visual identity. Possible vehicles could be an e-mail from the president, an employee gathering, an outside party or an internal blog where difficult questions can be addressed openly.
• Announce the new name internally (and be sure it’s before you do so externally.)
• Roll out new business cards early (ideally at the announcement) to get employees onboard. Consider giving out some kind of promotional “swag” (hats, T-shirts, water bottles, etc.) with the new name and logo.
• Help employees understand the rationale for the change. Use this as an opportunity to galvanize your organization to “live the brand.”
• Recognize that not everyone may be onboard with the name change. Identify the naysayers and engage them by asking them take an active role in the announcement.
• Develop a plan to communicate the name change with customers, analysts and other key external influencers.
• Send customers and partners a letter or postcard announcing the name change (e.g., “We’d like to announce our new identity... same great company, new name.”)
• Anticipate and address questions such as whether service contracts will be affected.
• Call key customers to advise them of the name change.
• Send out a press release announcing the new name. Be sure to include the rationale for the name change—and how it supports your company’s vision.
• Create a page/link on your company website with rationale for the name change.
• Register the new domain name with your company’s registrar (e.g., Network Solutions, GoDaddy.com, Register.com, etc.).
• Register close variants and potential misspellings of the new domain name and redirect them automatically to the new site.
• Change your website domain and update your website content, as needed.
• Forward your old domain to your new domain.
• Update e-mail addresses to reflect the new domain name, and make sure all e-mails sent to legacy addresses are automatically forwarded.
• Update e-mail signatures.