If a Brand Falls in the Forest: Content Marketing the “Launch”

We are winding down the rebrand series of #ahasmember Handcrafted HoneyBee. Once again, we welcome Robert and Stacia Guzzo, founders of Handcrafted HoneyBee to the blog. This energetic #ahasmember business team has generously offered to share their recent, dramatic rebranding journey with our community. Here is Part 7, as told by Robert.

The entire series can be found here:
read the prologue here
Part 1 (where they talk about their need to change) here

Part 2 (why it takes awhile to get a rebrand right)
Part 3 (what it's like finding a designer)

Part 4 (creating compelling content)
Part 5 (creating and using your brand guide)

Part 6 (creating compelling packaging)
Part 7 (juggling two brands at once)

Part 8 (building a homepage)
Part 9 (launching their new site)
Epilogue (why going through a rebrand helps you love your brand more)
AND read their designer's advice on getting better with graphic design here

Imagine you’re putting on a huge party. You plan it all out, from decorations to food & drinks to music. You find the perfect venue.

You know just the people who you want to be there. They’re going to have a great time and make the whole party better for everyone.

You only have to invite them.

In a sense, that’s all content marketing is. With words & images, you are helping the people who can benefit most to connect with your brand.

By delivering valuable content that resonates with your audience, you are sending out invitations to your party. The people that respond are the ones that your product or service can most effectively help.

And launching a new brand or a new product is the perfect time to get people excited to come to your party! You tell them all about who’s going to be there, how much fun it’s going to be, how much better it is than the thing that they were planning to do instead.

Not Your Typical Launch

OK. So now imagine that you need to move the party to a bigger place, with better food, music, etc. You’re sure that everyone who’s at the party right now is going to have even more fun at the new place, plus you’ll be able to invite a whole lot more people than you originally thought.

You don’t know how many guests at the current location are going to follow you over to the new party. What if they’ve gotten comfortable where they’re at? And you don’t know how many new people to expect.

There’s a lot on your plate! You are trying to keep the old party going, set up for the new party & asking your current guests to come with you, all while sending out new invitations.

That’s what content marketing for a rebrand feels like.

Writing for Two Audiences

A rebrand is a delicate balancing act, and we approached it with care. We had two different groups that we wanted to reach: our current audience & the potential supporters that we hoped to attract. And we wanted to serve them both.

Relationships are very important to us & shape the way we run our business. One of our most valued relationships was with our current audience.

Whatever we planned to do for our content marketing, we wanted to honor the audience & customer base that had gotten us to this point. So one of our main goals was to help our current audience understand the reasons for the rebrand and invite them to share in our vision for the future.

At the same time, we wanted to attract new customers with a compelling, exciting new brand. So another one of our goals was to clearly differentiate ourselves from the old brand. Certain words that were part of the old brand vocabulary now went onto the new brand’s blacklist (or were at least downplayed).

It’s All in the Timing

Timing of the message was one of the ways that we were able to encourage our current audience to follow us in a new direction. And by using the timing of our message to create a sense of exclusivity with our most loyal followers, we were able to strengthen our relationship with them.

We started by sharing with the most dedicated members of our audience–our email subscribers, loyal customers & our wholesale partners.

Beginning roughly six months before the launch (and well before the rebrandannouncement), we started writing on themes that were consistent with the current brand while hinting at elements of the new brand.

We also offered exclusive information and offers to reward their loyalty. This group was first to hear about the launch of the rebrand & was able to pre-order at the old prices during the launch period.

When we announced the shift in brand focus, our message was positive, excited & empathetic. We always framed things in terms of a hopeful shared vision for our future together. That’s authentically how we felt! Besides, we saw no point in apologizing for doing what we needed to do for our business.

After we had taken care of our best supporters, we were able to shift gears and start writing content that would help our target customer discover us.Through the blog, social media engagement & targeted direct mailers, we crafted a consistent message over time that was far more effective than a single announcement could ever hope to be.

And we didn’t stop once we got to launch day. We sent emails, wrote posts & talked about it on social media throughout the launch period. After the launch period closed, we settled into a steady rhythm of consistent (at least weekly), on-brand, high-quality content for our audience. Now, all that is required is patience & the commitment to show up every day.

What Do You Mean By Content?

It seems that I’ve gotten about 750 words into this post and haven’t really described the kind of content that we used to market the rebrand!

Here is a (mostly) complete list of our content marketing during the past 6 months:

  • newsletter
  • new on-brand opt-in bonus (aka “lead magnet”) & auto-responder sequence
  • library of resources for email subscribers
  • blog posts, at least weekly
  • social media engagement (Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter)
  • customer & influencer testimonials
  • YouTube videos
  • press releases
  • postcard, followed up by a handwritten note & mini-lip balm to 100 of our best customers
  • sneak peeks of the new packaging & product lines for our wholesale partners
  • also for our wholesale partners, new shelf-talkers & product descriptions for their online listings

As we move into the future, we have plans to increase our content marketing.

We’re still strategizing, but we’ll be including Periscope & eventually Snapchat into our brand content. We’ll be releasing a wider array of videos that emphasize customer & role-model stories behind the brand. And there may be a podcast in the future, if we can figure out how to make the time to do it right…

Next Time: We had everything we needed to launch a successful rebrand. We had our target customer on lock. Our visual identity & packaging were looking fantastic. Our content was flowing. But we wanted to go all-in. We wanted our website to be an essential part of the brand experience…and that was going to take a ground-up redesign of our online shop. It was time to build our new home.

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