Learn Whom You Need to Finish Strong With Your Rebranding Process
In November 2014, our firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP embarked on a website redesign, and several months later, at the request of our marketing and business development committee, we undertook a firm-wide rebranding. Approximately 20 months later, we had met our milestones and launched our new, singular name brand, “Bradley,” as well as our new website. There were successes and setbacks along the way, but in the end, we triumphed. Having come out the other end of this makeover, we would like to share what we learned along our journey in a three-part series, to help other legal marketers and law firm professionals apply the knowledge to their own large-scale marketing projects.
In the first installment of our Rebranding 101 series, we wrote about whom to bring to the table at the outset of your law firm’s rebranding effort. A successful rebranding, however, isn’t just about who you decide to tap when the project begins; it also depends on who you engage when you’re preparing to roll out your new identity. In this blog, we discuss some of the key stakeholders you will want to involve as you prepare to reveal the results of those months of hard work.
Do Not Neglect IT
Here’s an important piece of oft-overlooked advice for anyone looking to do a law firm rebranding: Make good friends with your IT department. As we discovered during our own rebranding process, our IT personnel were essential to our success. From our new brand’s aesthetic to its messaging, IT played a critical component in executing the rollout.
For example, once we ensured our new content management system would integrate properly with our proposal generator software and other key business development tools, our outside web development vendor collaborated with our IT department to manage the technical components of the launch of our new website. This work included setting up a website redirect to automatically transfer visitors from our old URL to our new URL.
Our outside web developer and our IT department also took a “divide and conquer” approach to updating all firm email addresses with our new email domain. While our web developer conducted a batch update for all the displayed emailed addresses on our website, IT handled the internal technical updates.
Other tasks that required a partnership with our IT department included pushing out our new email signatures to all staff and attorneys; updating our electronic letterhead, fax, memo templates and macros; placing the new logo on phone screens and desktops; and creating a new screensaver that incorporated the new logo.
In a large-scale law firm rebranding, it’s easy to overlook minor (yet, still critical) details, such as screensavers and email signatures. For a clean unveiling, collaborate closely with IT before you roll out the new brand publicly to make sure you’ve got a handle on these and other technological aspects of the rebranding.
Involve Everyone in the Launch
Generating excitement internally about the new brand is an important part of the rollout strategy. The more that attorneys and staff feel part of the new identity, the more likely they will buy into the new brand and start using it from day one. That is why we recommend making the brand rollout a firm-wide experience.
To generate awareness and anticipation, start your efforts well before the new brand launches. One way is to tease the rebranding by advertising it to attorneys and staff through internal communications channels. For example, we designed and hung posters throughout our offices with messages that promoted the new brand. We also wanted to ensure that staff felt just as much a part of the new identity as the attorneys, so we scheduled the day of the launch to coincide with the start of Administrative Professionals Week.
Also, think of ways to make the day of the rollout an event for staff and attorneys. As a surprise, we put together “desk drops” that included newly branded business cards, notepads and other promotional items. Over the weekend, we had these placed on everyone’s desks so they were greeted on Monday with a gift bag that conveyed the new identity, along with a card that incorporated the core brand values of the firm. We accompanied the physical collateral with a firm-wide email containing the message “Today, we are Bradley.”
Crossing the Finish Line
Getting ready for the rebranding rollout requires more than support from your early internal champions. For the technical components, rely on your IT department to assist with internal technology tasks, and bring in other administrators as necessary. For example, we could not have done our desk drops without the assistance of our office administrators.
In addition, make the rollout creative so it is a special occasion for staff and attorneys. By making the reveal feel more like an event, you are more likely to generate excitement and immediate brand usage across the firm.
As you plan your own major rebranding, here are some takeaways to help you identify all the necessary personnel as well as the workflow:
- Create a list of all assets in which the new brand will appear: From new email addresses to signage, you’ll need to get a sense of the overall scope of work and deliverables before you can assess what departments and personnel you might need to bring into the process.
- Identify key personnel/departments who will assist in the rebranding: Looking at the list of assets, figure out whom you will need to involve in the process. This will depend on the organizational structure of and resources available at your law firm. This will likely include IT, who can handle the technological aspects of the rebranding.
- Develop a project management component to coordinate efficiently: Coordinating with multiple vendors, IT and firm management — among other personnel — can be a job unto itself. Institute a project management function into your process (one that ideally designates a single point of contact for all personnel) so that you can establish a streamlined workflow and a system of accountability.
- Plan something fun to involve the entire firm at the time of rollout: Get people excited about the brand rollout. Not only is it just good for morale, but it will help ensure immediate buy-in from across the organization. A small, branded desk drop is a great way to get firm-wide support.
In our third and final installment of our series, we will discuss in more depth assessing the scope of work, budget and timeline of a rebranding project.
Jacqueline Madarang is senior marketing technology manager at Bradley. She leads the firm’s marketing technology and digital marketing efforts, works with attorneys across the firm and focuses on developing digital, social and communications programs that further business development objectives. She oversees and manages the firm’s marketing technology, including the implementation of new tools firm-wide to assist in marketing and business development. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.linkedin.com/in/jacquelinemadarang or @jhmadarang.
Kelly Schrupp is the director of business development and marketing at Bradley. She has more than two decades of marketing experience – with nearly half of that time in law firms. Kelly focuses on developing strategic initiatives that further the business development, marketing and client relationship building objectives for Bradley's more than 500 attorneys. Kelly is a member of the Legal Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association, where she previously served as vice chair of social media. She can be reached at email@example.com, https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellyschrupp/ or @KellyTSchrupp.