6 Best Practices for Rebranding Customer References

By Brad Porter

You’ve spent a ton of time putting together marketing collateral for your company, which includes a healthy supply of customer references. Now your company is going through a rebrand. Maybe this just involves a company name change.

Perhaps your company is being acquired. Or maybe you’re spinning off one of your company’s brands and will no longer have the same rights to use its collateral. So, what does this mean for your collateral and what can you do to mitigate the change and ensure that your customer references remain relevant and compliant?

With the right processes and communications, you can rebrand your customer references, leveraging unique opportunities to refresh your references and reboot relationships with both internal stakeholders and external advocates. Here are some best practices to put into place:

1. Create document repositories

Make sure to have a repository of all existing customer references so you can easily determine which references need updating. It’s also important that your repository is easily accessible to stakeholders. Using a shared cloud drive, like Google Drive, can make it easier for people to access any collateral that needs updating.

2. Establish and document rebranding timelines and milestones

Your company will likely have set a final deadline for all rebranding to be complete. Work backward from this deadline and set milestones for specific steps you’ll need to take to update your customer references. Be sure to include guidelines for how long stakeholders are permitted to use existing reference collateral.

3. Create a rebranding specifications document tailored to reference collateral

Build on your company’s corporate rebranding guidelines by creating a document that outlines any key items that will appear in your updated customer reference collateral. This document should include any changes made to language, and outline how your company’s offerings are now positioned. This will help you stay in line with your new brand guidelines.

4. Determine what needs updating

In some cases, you’ll want to refresh existing references. In other cases, some references will be outdated and need to be retired. For newer collateral, determine whether it is sufficient to make minor changes to terminology and verbiage, or whether pieces warrant more in-depth updates. For example, if a reference leveraged a high-value customer that uses your company’s solution in interesting ways, re-engage the customer for a complete update of the reference collateral. Not only will this enhance the value of your customer reference, but it will also help deepen your relationship with that customer.

Note: If updating any references, make sure to consider what kind of legal permissions you’ll need to obtain from your customers first.

5. Establish regular communications to reference team members and stakeholders

Consider a combination of email, newsletters, and training calls to help internal team members and stakeholders understand reference rebranding processes and deadlines. As an added bonus, you can leverage this communication to reinforce the value of your company’s customer reference programs, relay best practices, and highlight the importance of bringing reference collateral into compliance with the new branding.

6. Engage advocates who support the new brand

Consider whether any reference customers might have positive things to say about your company’s rebranding, other recent strategic decisions, or changes of direction. If so, leverage these customers to support your company’s sales, marketing, PR, and social media teams as they craft and amplify their external messaging. This is also a great way to communicate your rebrand with customers, keeping your company top of mind.

Major changes to corporate branding present unique challenges to reference marketing teams. However, with planning and forethought, and the help of internal team members and stakeholders, rebranding processes enable you to refresh your reference collateral, update your reference program, and offer even more value to your company’s sales and marketing initiatives.

Email us at info@porterconsulting.net to schedule a consultation with a Porter Consulting customer reference expert.

About the Author

Brad Porter is a 30 year veteran of marketing who understands the value of content that helps close business. You can find more blogs and content from Brad at porterconsulting.net.