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Sunday, July 14, 2024

The Ultimate 20-Step Guide to Successfully Rebranding Online

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A corporate rebrand is exciting, and success relies on the talents of many departments working together. Rebranding requires careful planning and execution — all the more so when it comes to the digital side.

Your company’s online presence plays an important role in how your brand is discovered and how it is perceived by customers, partners, prospective employees, and other stakeholders. From a digital reputation perspective, how can a company ensure the transition to the new brand is seamless?

It’s essential — but not enough — that searchers can easily find your new site or that your social media directs visitors to the right pages. Your evolving brand needs to be defined and optimized as an entity without losing recognition, followers, or reputational mileage.

To ensure a smooth transition and maintain and enhance your evolving digital reputation, we recommend these 20 essential action items to consider when rebranding your company:

Naming and Profiles

1. Choose a name that works online: When selecting a new name for your company, research the availability of domain names, and social media handles that align with it. Consider the SEO implications of your new name — will it be confused with other similar-sounding brands?

2. Update your brand name on business profiles: Identify the most important business profiles where your company is listed, such as Bloomberg, Crunchbase and LinkedIn. Update your company name, logo and description across these platforms to reflect your new brand identity. Ensure that all information is accurate and consistent to avoid confusion among stakeholders.

3. Update your brand name on social media channels: Secure new social media handles that reflect your new name and update your profile names, bios, and imagery across all channels. Inform your followers about the change and provide them with your new handles to ensure a seamless transition. For some platforms, like LinkedIn, a formal process may be required to update your page.

4. Update your Wikipedia page: If your company has a Wikipedia page, create an editor account and use that account to request the change via the “Talk Page” associated with your company’s Wikipedia page. Include third-party sources that report on the name change. Note that pages of executives related to your company may also need to be updated.

5. Update your Wikidata profile: Update your company’s Wikidata entry with your new company or brand name and ensure that all linked properties and identifiers reflect your rebranded identity. Add an “also known as” or “alias” entry for your old name to maintain a connection between your past and present identities.

6. Update executive social media profiles: Encourage key executives to update their LinkedIn and other relevant profiles with your new company name and description. You may want executives to also share content related to the rebrand to amplify the message and demonstrate their support for the new direction.

7. Use the old name for continuity: To help bridge the gap between your old and new brand identities, consider including “(formerly [Old Name])” in your company descriptions for the period following the rebrand. Use this phrase on your website, business profiles, and press releases to provide context and continuity for your audience.

Related: How Do You Know If You Should Rebrand? Here’s Some Advice

Communications

8. Communicate the change online: Make sure that your rebrand announcement gets picked up digitally. For example, if you create a page or video unveiling your brand, logo etc., make sure it is optimized for both the new and old names so that everyone can find it.

9. Inform email subscribers: Send a dedicated email announcing the change and explaining its reasons. Reassure your subscribers that their relationship with your company will continue uninterrupted, and highlight any benefits or improvements that come with the rebrand. This communication helps maintain trust among your email audience and gives subscribers an opportunity to ensure that email from your new domain is not inadvertently marked as spam.

Related: More Than Just A New Look: A Guide To Rebranding

Web

10. Migrate your website so that Google finds all of it: Make sure that your robots.txt is not set to block Google. Plan for a smooth transition to your new domain by ensuring that your new site covers all of the topics previously addressed in the old site. Notify Google of the address change through Google Search Console to minimize any potential negative impact on your search rankings.

11. Redirect old site pages to new ones: Set up 301 redirects from the old URLs to the corresponding new ones to ensure that visitors and search engines are directed to the correct content. This process helps retain your link equity and minimizes the risk of broken links or lost traffic.

12. Update content and metadata: Conduct a thorough review of your website’s existing content and update any mentions of your old brand name to reflect your new identity. This includes blog posts, product descriptions, case studies, and other marketing collateral. Optimize your website’s metadata, such as title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags, to incorporate your new brand name and relevant keywords.

13. Update your branded knowledge panel: Claim the knowledge panel before the rebrand. Ensure that Google updates your knowledge panel to reflect your new name, logo, and description. Ensure that the social media icons point to new names where they have changed. Provide updated information and monitor the panel for accuracy, suggesting edits if needed.

14. Update your local knowledge panel: If your business has a physical presence, update your Google Business Profile with your new company name and ensure that local citations on directories and review sites reflect your new identity. Consistency across all local touchpoints enhances your visibility and credibility in local search results.

15. Reach out to third-party sites and have them update your company name and links: Identify high-value websites that mention your old brand name. Reach out to request an update to your new name. Prioritize sites based on their authority, relevance, and link value to your business.

16. Update ad campaigns and creative: Review existing ad campaigns across various platforms (e.g., Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads). Update them to reflect your new brand name and messaging, and pause or adjust any campaigns that heavily feature your old brand to avoid confusion. Develop new ad creative (copy, images, and videos) that showcase your rebranded identity and value proposition.

17. Use Google Ads to capture searchers using the old name: To capture search traffic related to your old brand name and direct it to your rebranded website, consider setting up a branded search campaign in Google Ads. Bid on keywords related to your old company name and use ad copy to inform searchers about your new name and website. Direct clicks to either a dedicated rebranding landing page or to a page that clearly reflects the shift.

Related: When to Consider a Rebrand (and How to Do It Right)

Tracking and Monitoring

18. Track your company’s old and new names: Set up alerts for your old name to catch any lingering references across the web. Analyze the transition of search volume from your old name to your new name using tools like Five Blocks IMPACT™, Google Trends, or SEMrush. This data will help you gauge the effectiveness of your rebranding efforts and identify areas that may require additional attention.

19. Monitor Google Search Console and Google Analytics: Use Google Analytics to track impressions and clicks for branded searches related to both your old and new names. Monitor referral traffic from links using both names to gauge the effectiveness of your rebranding efforts. Google Analytics can help you analyze the shift in branded search volume and track the performance of your rebranded website.

20. Monitor for new brand mentions and sentiment: Set up alerts using a tool like Google Alerts to track new mentions of your updated brand name across the web and social media. Monitor the sentiment around your rebrand so you can react if necessary. Engage with positive mentions to amplify your new brand identity.

Conclusion

Rebranding your company requires a comprehensive approach to your online presence that considers various digital touchpoints and their impact on your reputation. By following this guide, you can navigate the tactical complexities of rebranding from a digital reputation perspective and emerge with a strong, cohesive online presence. Consistency, communication, and attention to detail are key to a successful rebrand. With careful planning and execution, your rebranded company will be well-positioned to thrive in the digital landscape.

– with contributions from Avi Bieler



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