As a user of the popular music streaming service Spotify, I learned that they had decided to revamp their color palette to a different shade of green. I discovered this by simply logging in to my computer one day and noticing not everything was quite the way that it was. So they decided to update their color palette. No big deal, right?
Not everyone felt the same way.
In subsequent interviews and statements, Spotify was the first to admit that the mistake was not the change in color or change itself, but their failure to announce the change.
Tobias van Schneider, lead designer at Spotify, wrote, “It’s not so much a discussion of the right or wrong color, it’s simply about change or no change.”
The way Spotify released this change to the public is a common mistake we’ve seen too many times here at The Starr Conspiracy, and it’s that they (seemingly) failed to execute an inside-out strategy when launching the new brand. What did they do wrong? They alienated their truest of brand advocates from the process. One search on Twitter will show you that, with an abundance of confusion, anger, and threats to abandon the service altogether or jump ship to the newly released Apple Music app.
So what can we learn?
Change Is Good: Have a Party
When rebranding, you should have a reason for it — a change in product, service or position, recent acquisition, or maybe you need to stay fresh or resuscitate your brand to the 21st century. That said, a communication strategy is key to enabling your audiences to understand why change was necessary.
What’s the message? Who will it impact? Why is it happening?
As the cliche goes, the only constant in life is change — but we also find comfort, trust, and security in the known. This can’t be forgotten when making a shift in your brand or message, even one as slight as a color change.
Releasing a Brand Is a Process, Not a Press Release
We believe in an inside-out strategy: First, consider your own employees when releasing your new message or brand; then funnel the message outward from your own customers or users, analysts, and industry influencers before the prospective market is exposed to anything.
If you’re launching a new logo, company name, website, etc., most of your core advocates should already be aware, be expecting the change, and have been given the opportunity to not only avoid confusion, but have felt like they were a part of the process.
Enable Your Brand Advocates
People trust their peers more than your company.
In a culture that has become increasingly Yelpified, enable those who can communicate your change message more effectively than you. It will increase the reach of the message. It also means you’ll get ahead of it and influence the narrative. Developing campaigns ahead of time can help you navigate these waters, instead of having to do damage control when it’s already too late.
These messages should be uniquely tailored to the interests of the audience — and in the B2B technology space, that can include quite a few stakeholders.
B2B Can Learn From B2C: Get a Concept
Yes, we have longer sales cycles, vastly different target audiences, and the list goes on. But we can’t forget that at the end of the day, a human being will be making the purchase decision.
We believe you don’t have to sacrifice great content to make things engaging. You don’t have to sacrifice expertise for a brand experience. You don’t have to sacrifice a voice for professionalism.
The differences between B2B and B2C are vast — but we feel that we can all benefit if we take what will bring a positive impact, and leave the rest.
A new logo is not a new brand and your strongest advocates know this. An inside-out strategy, starting with your advocates, will help you launch a brand refresh that hits your intended mark.