HR involvement in a company brand refresh is crucial. A brand refresh is an effort to update the look and feel of a brand so it’s more current and relevant, whereas a rebrand is really a full overhaul of your brand philosophy and your brand story. Your company’s brand inevitably trickles down into your employer brand, affecting the way employees think, feel, and talk about your company. Which is why once you make the decision to do a company rebrand or brand refresh, it’s smart to involve employees in conversations around where your company is coming from – and where you’d like to go.
At Glassdoor we recently underwent a brand refresh, and thought we would share some of our own experiences from the HR perspective as to what helps to make this effort a success. There are lots of step-by-step guides to rebranding out there, but often internal communication with employees is overlooked. Here’s how the process unfolded with HR at Glassdoor, plus a few tips you can borrow if you’re getting ready for a brand refresh.
1. Sit at the table
HR has a unique ability to both reach and gather insight from employees. To make sure the refresh considers impact to employees early on, make sure you’re involved. A brand refresh can prompt employees to ask lots of questions about changes to company culture, whether organizational shifts are planned – and even job security. A strong internal communications plan outlining why the change is happening and how employees will be involved – including detailed timelines – will put employees’ minds at ease and get them on board with and feeling great about the brand evolution.
2. Build on core values
Look closely at how you’re perceived – it will serve you in two ways. First, it allows you to suss out the perceptions that aren’t in line with your goals as a company and solve for those. And, simultaneously, you get a better understanding of the core company values that have evolved over time. You can then be sure to fold what’s important to your employees into your foundation. Here at Glassdoor, our mission as a company hadn’t changed, but we were determined to make sure that the brand pillars that we had developed over time to support that mission were aligned with those of our most valuable resource: our people.
3. Consider your employer brand
Make sure you map out a transition plan for your employer brand early on. You’ll need to have a plan for a seamless swap of logos, colors and company messaging anywhere your employer brand is visible. And be sure that when you launch your company brand refresh, it coincides with the launch of your employer brand refresh across your career site, social channels, and Glassdoor. It’s also smart to consider how the refreshed brand will be embodied inside your organization – how should it impact behaviors, culture, values, and your company’s recruiting process (job descriptions, interviews, recruiter conduct)?
4. Get employees involved
It’s key to include your employees in the creative process of your brand refresh – and it has to be a conscious choice. Here at Glassdoor, we sent out a Survey Monkey asking the entire company broad questions that helped us close in on exactly how our brand was perceived, to either validate or challenge our creative team’s perception. Here are some example questions we used:
Do you understand Glassdoor’s brand identity?
Do you like our brand green?
Do you like our ‘door’ icon?
Do you like our voice/copy/tone?
5. Get the feedback
Here’s one of the hardest parts. You’re going to hear some things that make you puff up your chest and think – “job well done, we’re killing it!” And you’re going to hear some things that you don’t like and, frankly, might not want to hear at all. It’s absolutely critical that you steel yourself to face honestly how you’re being perceived – and how your employees perceive working at your company. Ultimately, you have to be absolutely sure that your people are proud to work for your company – and are proud to wear your logo. By taking stock of key problems, you start to uncover the real reasons you’re redesigning. It’s the beginning of the exercise to identify the logical qualities behind the instinctual feeling of “this is ugly.”
6. Provide transparency
Once a new concept for your brand refresh is chosen, walk through the creative reasons behind the changes, also noting what has been preserved. For instance, Glassdoor’s new logo symbolizes openness, inclusivity and dynamic nature, which ties back to our mission as a company. Our brand attributes have been updated to match the evolution of our culture more closely. Providing insight into why changes were made will help get employees on board with singing the new brand’s praises.
7. Evangelize...and celebrate!
Undertaking a brand refresh is a ton of work. Everyone’s been heads down focusing on the launch date and pushing to meet aggressive deadlines. There’s still work to be done at this stage – namely getting the word out to key stakeholders on every team from facilities and HR to finance, sales, biz ops and the list goes on. But this is also a time to celebrate. As you’re evangelizing the new brand guidelines and educating everyone on exactly how to adopt them in their world so they’re rolled out seamlessly, there’s got to be an element of celebration. We’re all in this together. We built it. We believe in it. And we’re proud! At Glassdoor, this took the form of multiple all-hands meetings that kept our people apprised of where were were in the process and what to look forward to. And it culminated in a company-wide celebration.
Now that we’ve officially launched, we’re updating every single logo and getting ready to unfurl the new sign to the exterior of our company HQ. Want to learn more about how to make sure you’ve updated your Glassdoor assets? As perhaps the final step in the process of brand refresh, we’ve created some guidelines to make it easy.