Bring your brand to (real) life.

Thinking of a rebrand? Here’s our experience.

Late in 2019, we made the big, bold decision to rebrand our company. To be honest, this wasn’t the first time we’d discussed a rebrand. For a few years, we’d known that our business had grown beyond printing services, and the name “Print Resources” didn’t tell the full story of all that we are.

While we started as a printing company, we’d grown into a full-service, tactile marketing machine handling every aspect of our clients’ physical marketing: printing, promotional products, direct mail kits, and even fulfillment services.

It became apparent that our company name – and URL of printindy.com – could be limiting our growth. A potential customer once told us she had been given two recommendations for her project: Print Resources and Print Indy. We got a good laugh out of claiming to be the number one AND number two printer in town, but it was also additional evidence that our brand needed more cohesion.

So, how the heck do you pick an entirely new name, brand, and identity that tells the full story of who you are without scaring away the loyal customers who helped you grow for the past 20 years?

If you are asking the same question, perhaps our rebranding journey can help guide and inspire your brand.

Here’s what we nailed:

Getting Buy-In from the C-Suite

Our co-founders have been the primary decision-makers on all previous branding efforts, but more importantly, they’ve been the drivers for how we conduct business. While we had a dedicated marketing team working on the rebrand, it was essential to have the owners’ input concerning their company’s next evolution.

“The bosses” will admit that they aren’t really marketing guys. While they were fully on-board with the rebrand, they also put their faith in the experts while they continued to run the day-to-day operations. After all, it’s not like the business stopped running while we worked on a new brand.

Our marketing team included Tim and Kurt in all of the initial branding conversations. Once the leadership team decided on a name and logo elements, the owners had full trust in our team to execute the launch. Proof they love the new brand? This is Co-owner Tim Browning’s truck.

Truck with Tactive stickers and license plate

Partnering with Branding Experts

We are not a branding agency. As tactile marketing experts, we excel at making existing brands look fantastic in and on print, apparel, boxes, and anything else you can put your hands on. Creating a brand from scratch is an entirely different animal. And while we’re at it – we don’t build websites or produce award-winning videos either.

So we called in the experts. Our advice? Budget for the expense of having experts do what they do best. Interview at least 2-3 vendors to find the one that’s right for your brand. For us, engaging partners who had a hands-on, collaborative approach was of utmost importance. We found partners who understood our team’s strengths and how to fill the gaps with their expertise – and right in our hometown of Indianapolis.

We owe a big “thanks” to these folks, and we highly recommend them if you’re looking for these services for your company:

Engaging Our Team

What was just as crucial as getting our owners’ buy-in on the new brand? Getting our employees excited about the change. Like picking a name for a brand new human, announcing a new brand comes with the risk that the crazy aunt will criticize your choice well before that sweet angel baby goes public. It’s a lot harder to scrutinize a name when that baby – or brand – is right in front of you.

We decided to wait until our new name had a logo behind it to announce the rebrand to our employees. Then, we surprised them with a team party – complete with brand new Tactive swag. It might have been the beer and freebies, but the team’s overwhelming response was positive and full of excitement.

Here’s our recommendation: Treat your employees to the first announcement of your new brand. Throw them a party. Give them new swag. Explain why you’re changing things up, the process of creating the new brand, and how it will benefit them in the long run. Getting your team energized about the change means they’ll be your first-line brand advocates when you take your new brand public, sharing the news with their customers, friends, families, and potential new customers, too!

 

Managing Our Expectations

From the beginning, our goal was to publicly launch the new brand by July of 2020. And then… 2020 happened. Our business experienced a few hiccups here and there as we navigated working from home, quarantines, and new safety procedures. We still launched our new brand on Aug 31 – only a month behind our original launch date.

Like with most important, significant things in life, If you want to do it right, it will take some time. If rebranding were as easy as picking a name and going with it, we would have done so many years ago.

For us, it took about two months to find the right partners, six weeks to pick a new name, a few more weeks to nail down the visual identity, and only then could we start to work on building a new website. We coordinated photography and videography shoots – all while the presses were still running. Because we had established a six-month timeline upfront, we weren’t as set back as we could have been when a global pandemic interrupted our business. We think the results speak for themselves.

Treating Ourselves Like a Customer

What does a tactile marketing company do to announce their shiny new brand? Send out some swag, of course! While we may not be branding, video, or web experts, we certainly ARE experts at 3D Direct Mail (3DDM).

Part of our motivation for rebranding in the first place was to be more explicit about who we are and what we do. Sending out a 3DDM package to our customers and partners that explained the change while getting them excited about our new identity was an absolute no-brainer.

We created an unboxing experience that revealed the new brand as the recipient opened the box, and emphasized that our personal relationship with our customers would remain the same. The outside of the box appeared to come from Print Resources – a familiar brand. When the recipient released the Print Resources branded band, the package became all Tactive.

The package included items that showcase our capabilities – like a notebook, promotional items, and fun stickers. We used our Variable Data service to ensure each gift felt unique and personalized to the recipient. Plus, we included a call-to-action with a discount code that encouraged receivers to share on social media. Oh, and that investment we made in a top-notch video? We gave them a fun way to watch it – right on their mobile device – by scanning a fancy sticker with a QR code.

 

Creating Solutions to New Challenges

Designing a beautiful, engaging package to announce our rebrand was business as usual for us. But, we had a significant challenge to overcome. You see, pre-2020, we would send our 3DDM gifts to offices. However, many of our clients were working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our solution? We engaged our team in a pre-send campaign inviting customers to fill out a simple form. The email was an excellent way for us to “hint” at a big announcement, let the customer know we had a gift for them, and ask where they’d prefer we send it.

While residential delivery did cost us a bit more for shipping, we saw a significant drop in the number of failed deliveries – meaning our investment didn’t end up back in our warehouse. Also, we found that almost 50% of our customers were back in their offices, which was valuable information as we look at additional marketing and engagement efforts in the coming months.

Opportunities for Improvement:

Telling our Vendors

New name, who dis? On Monday, August 31, all of our staff emails changed to an entirely new URL. When our customer success team tried to place orders on behalf of our customers, the result was quite a bit of confusion.Technically, our accounting processes didn’t change much. But every one of our hundreds of vendors had no idea we were switching things up on them. Whoops!

Next time, we’d include our partners in a pre-release campaign to let them know we are updating our name, any new contact information, and how to engage with us and our brand new identity.

If you’re simply changing a logo, it may not be as big of a deal. But since we were changing our company’s name entirely, we probably should have given them a heads up. Luckily, we were able to move fast to create an email and direct mail campaign that informed our vendors of the change, but it made for an interesting few days!

Social Media Timing

We had a great rebrand plan: we’ll announce on a Monday. That way, we can change all of our social media channels over the weekend. We forgot that social media channels are built to automatically make a post to all of your followers when you change your name, logo, banner images… you get the drift.

While our followers were hanging out on their phones, enjoying a lazy Sunday evening, they got a notification that we were an entirely new brand – without the explanation. Eek!

Luckily, social media isn’t our primary form of communication with our customers, and thanks to our customer success team, most of our customers were expecting an announcement. But, it still wasn’t as coordinated of an effort as we’d have liked.

Next time, we’d wait to change the social media channels to coordinate with our email and website changeover.

 

Despite a couple of misses, we felt like our rebrand was a great success thanks to some fantastic partners, our team effort, and our ability to do for ourselves what we do for our customers: create engaging, exciting experiences with tactile marketing.

If you’re looking for help with your next marketing effort, need advice on your rebrand, or want to learn more about what Tactive can do for you, say, “Hey, Tactive!” Our team is ready to help.

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