If you’re considering a rebrand, read this first!
Kara recently caught up with senior marketer Crystal Bergemann, Group Manager of Communication & Stakeholder Engagement at Ampcontrol to pick her brain about what she learnt from the recent rebrand project we delivered together. Here’s Crystal’s expert tips on how to get the greatest value out of your rebrand and pitfalls to avoid.
At Ampcontrol their vision is to lead the global energy revolution. They are solving the most complex problems in energy by creating world-first award winning solutions in hydrogen storage, electric mining vehicles and off-grid water treatment plants for remote communities to help make net zero a reality.
On this project we worked collaboratively with Out of the Square (OOTS). Guts’ scope involved extensive research and stakeholder engagement with Ampcontrol’s CEO, board, their people and their customers. We developed the Ampcontrol brand strategy including vision, purpose, customer value proposition, brand architecture and brand challenge workshops. The new vision was soft launched this month along with the exciting news that Ampcontrol was ranked #8 in the Manufacturing category of The Australian Financial Review (AFR) Most Innovative Companies List for 2023. The branding and creative is currently being rolled out by OOTS so watch this space!
Why did you decide to embark on the re-brand journey?
Before this project, we didn’t actually have a brand due to the company going through significant diversification, growth, and acquisition over the past 5 – 7 years. As our business changed, we hadn’t clearly articulated our vision, purpose, customer value proposition - who we are or what we do. That has always been a challenge as we are a large, complex and diverse organisation. People often think brand is the logo or just nice creative. It’s about our personality, tone of voice, what we stand for, our values, everything under the iceberg. This is what we were missing.
The Ampcontrol logo remained unchanged, what drove that decision?
There are 55 years of history, value and trust in the Ampcontrol name and logo. The logo however is only one graphic element of our overall brand. Due to being highly recognised in our core markets we agreed that it would be detrimental to our brand if we changed it. The whole project was about creating the missing foundation and defining what makes Ampcontrol unique and the value we provide our customers. Why should a business work or purchase a product from us? Without the research, it was very challenging to answer that question.
For other marketers considering evolving their brand, what are your dos and don’ts of re-branding?
Do take the time to do it properly
There must be an understanding and genuine commitment to providing the time and resources to stick it out and do it properly. It’s not a quick process if you want to get it right.
For us, it took over 18 months, but you have to stay the course and stick to the plan otherwise it will not be as successful. We often refer to the iceberg that Guts used in our brand workshops. The top half of the iceberg you can do quickly but the bottom half, the foundation, takes time. It’s about engaging people, the human element. It requires a psychological mindset change and this takes time. People often react differently to change; you have to bring your people into it if you want to be able to walk the talk and live your values.
Do engage all stakeholders
Stakeholder engagement is so important, it requires constant education on what brand is and the value of brand. In my role, for the last four and half years I have been continually working on this, and growing the understanding that our brand is more than a logo. You need to include your sales team, everyone on the front line dealing with customers, your board, senior executives, your people team, your digital team, etc. There are so many more parts of the organisation than you originally think that need to come on board. Make sure you map out your stakeholders and invest the time so they can have their say. Doing an employee survey was so important for us and then looping back to our stakeholders at the end to explain what we did with their feedback, what the outcome was and why.
Do invest time in relationship building
We never would have gotten the new brand across the line if we didn’t involve our exec to show them how important our brand is and the impact of marketing and brand on lead acquisition, customer growth and customer satisfaction. It’s so important for marketers to push for a seat at the table, to prove we’re not just the colouring in department or organising pull-up banners.
It takes time to build that relationship and prove how important it is to raise the profile of our organisation and our people and to engage media. That’s the role of marketing. Without their involvement and endorsement, we wouldn’t have gotten the new strategy through.
Do map out all your channels
There is an absolute multitude of assets that will need to be updated in your organisation; templates, intranet, onboarding, internal and external copywriting, website, events, advertising, etc. It takes time, there’s always much more to it than you think.
Don’t let the loudest voice win
Don’t let the loudest voice dictate the outcome. If there’s feedback, go back to your data to validate the response. Incorporate the feedback that considers the target audience not just personal agendas. Always remember who we’re talking to.
Always question everything your internal people ask for from marketing, to get to the why. As marketers my team are customer experts, our job is to know the audience. When we get a request it’s important to ask ‘what’s your objective?’ and arm yourself with insights to find the best solution.
Don’t try and do the research yourself
You’ll get a biased self-serving result. You have your own agenda, so it’s important to use a third party for the research to really listen to your customers and your people. But also remember if you do outsource to a third party, you still need to invest the time to work together so they can understand the organisation inside and out to give you the best result.
Don’t forget to engage your own marketing team
It’s so important to involve your marketing team in the stakeholder engagement process and communicate the brand to them. Make sure they feel a part of it as well as what’s being rolled out as they need to work with it every day.
Don’t base your decisions on anecdotal feedback or assumptions
Talk to your customer! Make sure you do your research and capture data from current and prospective customers. Even if you find some negative feedback, it’s better to know. Understand their pain points and their challenges.
Was it all worth it?
100% it’s worth it. It is an investment, financially and in resources and time. I have no regrets at all. We’ve learnt so much and this is why we chose this profession of marketing. It was so important to gather external customer insights and listen to our people. We have very clearly articulated who we are, what we stand for, what we’re trying to do, our messaging etc. The research makes everything we do less subjective. We now have one unified voice and the organisation now knows what we’re trying to do and where we’re heading together. I feel we have made a huge difference.