How to engage employees in a rebrand

02 . 11 . 17

A company rebrand is much more than just refreshing the logo. It needs a vision that inspires customers, values that employees can live by, and a proposition that differentiates you from your competitors.

You might think that’s the hard part done. But a brand’s success depends on all employees being united behind it, being confident in what the brand stands for, and what makes it stand out. They need to live and breathe the brand, not just pay lip service to it.

Following a rebrand for one of our clients in the automotive industry (we’ll be sharing more on this soon), we developed a methodology that formed the foundations of an exciting employee engagement plan.

Firstly, to successfully engage employees, you need to understand what motivates them

Personal growth

For most people, clocking in hours isn’t enough: they want to feel they’re moving forward, learning new skills and developing personally. For a rebrand, this means making sure the external and internal brand are connected, and you clearly communicate how individuals will benefit, from changing KPIs to be in line with the new vision, to holding employee awards.

A sense of common purpose

Although clearly important, paycheques alone don’t instil inspiration. Inspiration comes from knowing what difference the company makes in the world. This is where a company’s vision comes into play, answering the question of ‘why do we exist?’ and crucially communicating this clearly and creatively.

People want to be part of a larger process

Confining rebrands to the boardroom means it’s unlikely to stick in the long run. Employees like to be part of a larger process and go on the rebrand journey with you. Even if your teams are remote you can still do this by finding their communication channel of choice. For our client, this was Slack and the engagement programme was developed around this.

A good line manager is a good leader

People perform better with a strong line manager. Using these line managers during a rebrand is crucial, and means they’re setting an example, communicating the vision correctly while making sure communication goes both ways.

Armed with the knowledge of what makes your employees tick, you can follow the following steps to create an employee engagement programme.

Three steps to engage employees in a rebrand

Inspired by Kotter’s 8 step model for change.

1.  Create a climate for change

The first step is to invigorate the company with a sense of its own potential. This means creating a reason for change, and ideally bringing a sense of urgency with it, such as rapid developments within the industry. Humans are generally adverse to change, so change for the sake of it won’t be well received.

Within the setup stage, you also need to create an engaged central team who are fully on board with the rebrand and will power the rebrand forward. Brand ambassadors play a role here, selecting people who can champion the rebrand but aren’t necessarily in senior positions. They need to be approachable, engaged and trained on the ins and outs of the brand.

Perhaps the most important part of stage 1 is creating a vision for the company, being clear about where you’re heading, what you want to achieve and why.

2.  Engage and empower the organisation

Now you’ve created your vision, it’s time to communicate it to the wider company. This could be through a brand video or presentation, however, you do it, it needs to inspire and motivate.

Engage the organisation through interactive workshops run by your brand ambassadors, and encourage them to act as a two-way channel of communication so the brand isn’t perceived as imposed from above. Here’s your opportunity to bring creativity to your engagement plan, with desk drops, live experiences, and team weekends building excitement and making messages memorable.

Feedback of even the smallest wins is crucial here, sharing positive examples from the team.

3.  Implement change and maintain momentum

The third step is to ensure enduring change, rather than a flurry of excitement followed by the re-emergence of old habits.

Line managers and employees need to be brand ambassadors for life, not just on the company weekend away. Allowing them to influence the vision early on is a great way to achieve this.

The energy of the rebrand, meanwhile, needs to be properly harnessed to motivate them in the weeks, months and years that succeed in the launch.

By embedding values of personal growth, purpose, and community into the company culture, you’ll keep your people feeling inspired for a long time to come.

If you’re embarking on the rebrand journey, remember that your employees will either make or break it. If you’d like any support, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at