How to introduce your new brand to employees

A quick-start guide and template for internal launch planning

How to Introduce your new brand to employees

So your brand is baked and you are eager to share it with the world, but there’s another critical step to take first: the internal brand rollout. How do you successfully introduce your brand to those who will personify it every day?

For starters, it will take more than a one-way announcement. A strategic plan of immersive activities and trainings will allow the brand to truly take root after its jaw-dropping reveal. Drawing on Traina’s experience rolling out brands for small businesses to international corporations, we created this quick-start guide to give a glimpse into how it all happens.

Step 1:
Assemble your team

While marketing departments are typically tasked with brand launch planning and execution, consider a cross-functional launch committee. Bring others into the fold—like HR, DE&I teams, influential team managers or employees that deeply live and breathe the company culture. The best launch committees will include both ideators (those coming up with launch activity ideas) and implementers (those responsible for executing). Ask your creative agency to chime in on ideation and execution too.

A strategic plan of immersive activities and trainings will allow the brand to truly take root after its jaw-dropping reveal.”

Step 2:
Identify brand ambassadors

Your company’s leadership will play a prominent position in the rollout—they set the tone for everyone else. After that, brand ambassadors extend this influence. These are key employees who are trained on the brand fundamentals and embody its ideals. How many ambassadors you’ll need depends largely on the size and reporting structure of the organization. Team leaders or directors below the C-suite level are typical candidates, but they can also be any influential personalities within your organization. (For example, everybody loves Denise and they naturally rally around her).

Step 3:
Formulate the full plan

A successful internal launch takes resources, so a documented plan and budget are essential. At Traina, we approach the brand rollout plan similar to a communications plan. It starts with objectives, moves to strategies, then results in specific tactics and messages. Download our preferred planning template, designed for this approach.

In general, we recommend a set of three, simple objectives to start your rollout plan, which can be adapted or expanded as needed:

Instill Understanding
Knowing the intention of the brand makes it easier for employees to truly get behind it. Consider complementary strategies and tactics, like some that address formal training (presentation of a brand guide) along with self-guided content on a company intranet, maybe a fun quiz that provides branded swag for its takers. 

Build Excitement
A new brand is a big deal. Employees should know how important a brand is and see it come to life at every turn. Enhancing physical areas with the new aesthetic demonstrates the company’s commitment to the new brand, while mailing out swag packages and providing custom video backgrounds can have a similar effect in the remote world. And whatever the format, celebrating the brand’s release—with themed employee contests, for instance—helps create an emotional tie to its ideals. 

Drive Adoption
As employees become invested in the brand, they too become ambassadors for it. At every available opportunity, your company and its teams should be empowered to award, reward and publicly celebrate employees that demonstrate behaviors aligned to the new brand.

The size of your company and the spectrum of work roles it has will have a bearing on the particular strategies and tactics needed to engage across multiple audiences or various locations. You may well end up with more ideas for a rollout than is reasonable given your available resources. Aim for quality, and once you assign line item costs per tactic in your plan, the budget can be a reality check. The final step is to assign responsibilities, and then the true work begins.

Step 4:
Create and train before launch

The value of the planning document comes to fruition here in Step 4, as the launch committee manages the creation and logistics of a rollout—from producing collateral and creating a launch video, to reserving time with leadership for brand training. While there’s much to do, prioritize the need for leadership and brand ambassadors to have a full understanding of the brand before it is revealed to the entire workforce. A new brand brings change with it, and employees will naturally take their cues from prepared leaders that exhibit acceptance and enthusiasm for this change.

Step 5:
Activate the rollout

From refreshing your intranet portal to new physical signage and identity updates in training materials, it’s unlikely that every single touchpoint within the company will instantly tout the new brand after launch—and that’s okay. The rule of thumb, however, is to roll out as many updated touchpoints as feasible in a single wave. Starting strong creates impact. And while a rollout often includes some “teaser” activities to generate anticipation, aim for a big reveal with a large-scale signature event to drive home the importance and transformative potential of the new brand. We helped the grocery chain Stater Bros. Markets do just this to great effect with training programs held before and after the signature event that unveiled their new brand.

Step 6:
Activate the rollout

Maintain momentum
Continue building on the excitement of the big reveal beyond the signature launch event. Creating activities that reinforce the brand in the days or even weeks afterward will underscore the value your company places on it, and further encourages behaviors that solidify the new ethos. This could mean recognizing employees that demonstrate relevant brand values or dedicating time during your regular company all-hands meeting to share how the brand is being lived out. At Traina, we schedule company activities that tie directly back to our brand values, and also hold an annual employee awards event (the “Taco Awards”—long story), to recognize team members who put those values into practice.  

Letting the World In
When done well, an internal brand rollout will inspire your teams and supercharge your company culture. Equally important, it sets up the external launch for success, as the brand must resonate inside the company if it’s going to be effective outside of it. Traina has helped orchestrate internal and external brand launches with tremendous success—on other continents, across media platforms, with influencers and in multiple languages. While it all starts internally, but eventually that brand goes everywhere. Inside or out, be in touch to learn how we can help launch your brand to win over your audience.

Let’s move things forward.