But, while the brand refresh appears to be a big hit for AWD, I’m not so sure about the social activation piece.
Let’s take a look at the social posts AWD made to announce the launch. On Facebook, they used a short video that played to the heritage of the company:
Although, to me, the better post was the one they made a few days later…
On Twitter, AWD used a branded gif.
Today, we’re proud to announce a bold evolution of our iconic brand that celebrates home design as part of the everyday moments and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that inspire today’s homeowners. #LoveTheLifeYouSee #AndersenWindows pic.twitter.com/LzHUWiZlTS
— Andersen Windows + Doors (@AndersenWindows) February 12, 2020
Again, to me, this was the more effective branded gif.
— Andersen Windows + Doors (@AndersenWindows) February 17, 2020
On Insta, they went with the same video they used on Twitter.
And, on LinkedIn, they once again went with the heritage video.
These content assets are solid–nothing out-of-the-ordinary or too crazy. Good solid branding posts, right? The heritage video, in particular, gets at the history behind AWD–something many are proud of in Bayport, and Minnesota. And, the short video of the new logo coming to life in lights in the morning sunrise is pretty cool.
And, these assets drummed up good–not great–engagement. And, from what I can tell, I don’t see any paid amplification at play (which seems odd, given how big of a rebrand this was for AWD, but whatever; budgets may have been tight).
The real oomph of the rebrand came from (possibly) an unexpected source: AWD employees.
I say unexpected because we don’t know if AWD orchestrated this or not. We don’t know if this was a purposeful strategy–or, if they just kinda fell into it. But, AWD employees are the ones who made this rebrand come to life. And, that’s the secret weapon to any brand refresh announcement: Your employees.
Allow me to elaborate.
For starters, AWD employees put a human face on what can be a very inhumane process (I mean, just read the Egotist article for proof of that! Holy corporate/agency buzzwords!). Below you have the AWD director of comms with the CMO and Eliza sending a strong “I’m proud to work at AWD” vibe.
Or, what about this powerful photo of what I can only assume is a Father-Son duo who work for AWD. What a message–two generations of Andersen employees! That’s probably 50+ years at AWD right there!
Or, what about digital marketer, Jackie Krings, who posted this great shot of her with two other AWD teammates celebrating the big day for the brand.
Finally, maybe my favorite–this LinkedIn video post from Jocely Lauer of the longest-tenured AWD employee raising the new brand flag at headquarters. Man, this could have been the feature image to the entire rebrand launch! At the very least, it was probably worthy of a bigger, splashier brand content piece.
As you can see, all of these employee-generated posts had good to tremendous engagement (again, remember, these are all organic engagements).
311 engagements. 56 engagements. 44 engagements. 132 engagements.
But again, more importantly, they put a very human spin on what is ordinarily a very ordinary and non-human process.
And, many times, that’s what the rebrand process is missing–a human element.
For future rebrands, I think there are a few lessons we can learn from the AWD brand relaunch:
1 – Think about your employees as an audience for the brand launch–and a channel.
Sure, employees are going to a key audience in terms of consuming the rebrand message. But, they can also be key content creators and sharers of the message! That definitely needs to play into the planning process. And, it can’t be an after-thought at the last minute. Given where social media marketing is at today, people trust people–not brands. So, you could argue what you do with your employees is much more important than what the brand accounts share!
2 – Give employees environments to capture and create content.
I’m not so sure AWD didn’t actually do this. Just look at some of the pics employees posted above. They are framing things up in front of the new logo. That may have been intentional on AWD’s part. And, if it was, that was smart. You really don’t want to be too prescriptive with employees–you want to empower them to create content. But, by giving them an environment to capture content (i.e., a backdrop with the new logo in the background), you’re setting the table for them. In this case, maybe they could have played off the tagline a bit more? Could AWD have asked employees to talk about how they #lovethelifeyousee on a piece of paper and show it as they stood in front of the new logo?
3 – Treat your most engaging employees like influencers.
Brands are already doing this with more advanced employee advocacy programs. Why wouldn’t you do it with a big brand re-launch? Identify your top 8-10 employees who are the most active on the channels you care about (maybe LinkedIn and Insta, in this case) and rope them in to the planning process early on. Involve them in planning meetings. Ask for their input. And collaborate with them on the best ways to involve employees in the sharing and social media process. I’m not sure I’ve heard of any company doing this, but man, it sure would be smart. Essentially treating your most influential employees like influencers. Tell me they wouldn’t love that! And, my guess is you’d get some great ideas from them on how to best share the big news with employees and how to best empower them to share.