So, you’re going through a rebrand. There are a variety of reasons a company could go through a rebrand, such as being sold to another company / investor or simply needing to hit the reset button on your image and reputation. Whatever the reason, it typically is a LONG, COMPLICATED process and can be a little overwhelming.
Well, we’re here to help!
Take it from us. There are a ton of things to consider, most of which are completely out of your control as a digital marketer. To make matters even more tough, our client was being divested to a company in a completely different country, which muddies the waters even more when you have to consider international laws, currencies and even time zones.
- Take control of what you can.
- Plan ahead and create a checklist that syncs up with the dates you already know.
- Keep in mind that dates will likely change so you will need to be flexible.
- Try to break the process up into relevant milestones.
Here is what the Seer team did:
- Stage 0 - Pre-Rebranding: We used this time to list out everything we needed to accomplish. Nothing was too small to be included in this list. Things can be too big though. Try to break items up into smaller tasks for increased organization & accountability.
- Stage 1 - Rebranding Pre-Launch: We outlined 2 main purposes for this section. First, benchmark any KPIs or performance metrics that are important to you. Second, accomplish some of the tasks needed for the launch of the new brand.
- Stage 2 - Rebranding Post-Launch: This will vary but essentially, the Seer team went through an extensive review process to ensure everything was properly launched and working as intended.
- Stage 3 - Review Site as Building Block for Digital Presence: Items that were not a priority for launch were incorporated here and used to inform strategy adjustments and immediate next steps.
- Stage 4 - Integrating Site with Overall Web Infrastructure: The company that acquired our client had many other digital entities that need to be included in future strategies. We began the process of reviewing and developing a strategy at this time.
You don’t have to start from scratch though (you’re welcome). Check out the rebrand checklist the Seer team put together when our PPC, SEO and Analytics teams needed to come together to ensure our part of the transition went as smoothly as possible.
Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a comprehensive checklist. Each rebrand will have its own needs and obstacles to overcome. However the info below can be used as a jumping off point.
Stage 0 - Pre-Rebranding (3 months Prior to Launch)
- List out priority items that need to be included in the restructure.
- Add event tracking for various UI/UX elements to benchmark site use related to current site structure.
- Expand tracking to ensure new domain is included.
- Analyze traffic generated by organic searches on the current brand name to forecast potential impact.
- Crawl site for mentions of old brand name.
- Run backlink analysis on new domain to ensure there is no negative or spammy history that would hinder performance.
Stage 1 - Rebranding Pre-Launch (1 -3 months Prior to Launch)
- Pre-migration benchmark report in aggregate and using channel specific KPIs.
- Add event tracking for various UI/UX elements to benchmark use related to current site structure that haven’t been implemented yet.
- Make sure GTM is on dev site and tracking has persisted.
- Set up custom alerts for analytics flatlining, significant decreases in transactions and conversion rates for the site overall and per each major site section.
- Re-skin PPC landing pages and thank you landing pages.
- Re-skin eStore.
- Change brand name in search text ads & final URL.
- Including ads that target keywords for the old brand name.
- Adjust ad extensions.
- Change brand name in image and video ads & final URL.
- Adjust brand and URLs in Shopping feed.
- Build keywords for new brand.
- Adjust criteria in remarketing audiences to incorporate new domain.
- Map old URLs from old domain to new (if URLs are changing). If only the domain name is changing and all URLs are remaining the same this may not be necessary.
- Get access to the dev site if possible to QA and run crawls to ensure new site contains the following among others:
- Robots file
- XML sitemap
- Canonical tags
- Meta data
- Add new domain to Google Search Console (you should be able to verify via DNS even if there is no content on the site).
- Start tracking rankings for new domain to prepare for launch day.
Stage 2 - Rebranding Post-Launch (Day of Launch)
- Plan timing of post launch report.
- Critical Issues Audit - QA live site post-launch for tracking codes and other critical issues.
- Make sure GA and GTM are on site and properly firing.
- Ensure newly skinned site and landing pages are active.
- Ensure conversion codes are firing properly.
- Ensure remarketing audiences are still building.
- QA newly launched keywords and ads.
- QA newly launched shopping feed.
- Pivot location targeting if service area changed.
- Work with SEO technical team to QA the following:
- Robots file
- XML sitemap
- Canonical tags
- Meta data
- 301 redirects (old URLs to new)
- Test Google Search Console verification.
- Submit change of address in Google Search Console.
- Request crawl from Googlebot in Search Console.
- Run sitewide crawl to look for any errors, issues, mentions of the old brand name.
Stage 3 - Review Site as Building Block for Digital Presence (1 - 2 months Post Launch)
- Determine if new opportunities have presented themselves from a strategic standpoint, as well as from a location or product / service perspective.
- Assess post-launch performance in major site sections and overall.
- Review current data (from previous stages) to help inform decision making process for new site / site structure / experience.
- Expand to new products and services available.
- Launch new image assets, both domestically and internationally, to increase awareness of the new brand.
- Explore site restructure.
- Determine strategy for new products / services available.
- Continue with content creation and growing organic traffic for new entity
Stage 4 - Integrate with Overall Web Infrastructure (2+ months Post Launch)
- QA live any new sites / entities post-launch for tracking codes.
- QA live site data to ensure all custom tracking has been accounted for and/or create new tracking.
- Expand account internationally with appropriate keyword, ad copy and landing page language adjustments.
- Provide data, analysis and recommendations to both internal and external teams as opportunities arise from new entities.
- If applicable, explore possibility of merging previously acquired sites.
- Opportunity analysis for all properties.
- Investigate international expansion.
Again, your checklist will most likely look very different from ours. Hopefully this helps you to account for everything that goes into a rebrand though. Make sure all teams, both on the agency side and the client side, have open lines of communication. Otherwise, you’re gonna have a hard time.
If you’re a business looking to rebrand and seeking help, check out our services and let us help you! If you’re an agency helping a client, let us know how this checklist worked for you. Drop us a line!