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When you think about the first steps of the brand building process, you’re probably picturing white boards, post-it covered walls and a dozen critical stakeholders gathered around a large conference room table brainstorming together. 

But during a pandemic, this approach isn’t exactly realistic or safe. However, that doesn’t mean you have to wait until your team is back in the office to pull off your organizational rebranding. It’s possible to build a brand strategy, create a brand identity and complete a rebranding all while collaborating virtually. 

Read on to find out why the brand decision-making process matters, and how to rebrand yourself in the age of the virtual office.  

Why is the branding process important?

Branding is about who you are as an organization. It’s not just your logo or what you do. Branding is about your purpose and why you do what you do. It’s about what you care about and value, your promise to members and stakeholders, and what differentiates you from competitors. 

Your brand is a critical and valuable business asset. 

How to undergo the brand building process virtually

Building a brand while your team is working from home isn’t conventional, but it’s definitely possible! After going through a rebrand of our own during the COVID era, these are our top tips for defining a brand virtually. 

Identify project leads and build your team. 

Determine who is involved in the project, and to what extent. You don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen, but it’s important to have buy-in from those in charge of living out your brand. Your leadership team should be completely aligned on your brand purpose, values, voice and value proposition. 

Hold cameras-on virtual meetings.

At this point, we’re all more than familiar with Zoom and Google Meet. But when building a brand, it’s important to have these interactions with cameras on. This is the closest we can get to the in-person experience, and seeing facial expressions and nonverbal cues is important during this process. Your brand should make people excited, and seeing how your team reacts to updates is a key insight to how others will digest your branding. 

Set realistic expectations. 

Plan for technical difficulties. Some days, someone’s internet will be down. Or their audio isn’t working. Or they didn’t get a chance to speak up before the meeting ended. Instead of sweating these inconveniences, recognize that your timeline will need to be a little longer than it normally would be if you were handling the brand building process in person. Pad your timeline, schedule more meetings than you think you need, set realistic goals and keep moving forward. 

Set clear goals. 

Everyone involved in the brand building process should know the goal of each meeting, as well as the goal of the branding process altogether. Here’s an example of what your team should walk away from your branding sessions with:

  • Your organization’s purpose
  • Brand mission, vision, and values
  • Target audience and personas
  • Brand voice and personality
  • Unique value proposition
  • Competitor research
  • Visual identity - colors, fonts, logos, etc. 
  • Marketing plan for your new brand

Dig deep and be honest. 

Regular virtual meetings are important for staying connected with your team and maintaining progress, but you also need to allocate time for quiet individual introspection. Disconnect from your chat app, unplug and think. 

Consider your organization’s values, personality, purpose, and even your risk tolerance. Your whole team might love Wendy’s snarky Twitter account, but does that style of communication fit how you see your organization and how you connect with your members? Take the time to really dive in, ask difficult questions and answer honestly. 

Over-communicate and stay organized. 

Use a project management platform like Asana or Trello to keep track of tasks, deadlines and progress. While we underwent our rebranding from to Sidecar, we held weekly meetings with all project leads and maintained frequent, casual touchpoints through a dedicated Slack channel. 

Hire more help than you think you need.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and tap external resources. The brand building process involves more moving parts than you might realize. Bring on additional help to ease your burden and take easily outsourced tasks, like design or content creation, off your plate. 

Handling a rebrand virtually was a unique but rewarding experience for our team, and we wish yours all the best if you are undergoing this process as well! Be sure to share your insights with our Sidecar community! 

If you want to learn more about developing a brand name, don’t miss our virtual Jan. 25 featuring Alexandra Watkins, the author of “Hello My Name is Awesome” and all-around naming guru. The session is value-packed and FREE to attend. Click here to register.

Heather Nolan
Post by Heather Nolan
January 24, 2021
Heather a skilled communicator with expertise in social media and marketing strategy, brand management and journalism. She uses storytelling and audience growth skills to help companies showcase their brand and expand their reach.