How to handle brand transitions

A brand transition can be anything from a company acquisition to a product makeover. When your company goes through any sort of brand transition, search marketers must be ready to make significant changes to avoid depleting their customer bases, hurting their brand reputation, or losing popularity.

Address Customer Needs First

The first thing on your mind in any brand transition phase should be the customer. Before you market any new features or products, you need to make sure the customer knows about the brand transition. If your company has acquired another brand, then account for users searching for the old brand. If you’ve completely rebranded a product, then you must tell customers about the new product. Help users adjust to the changes your brand makes by adding transition messaging to your SEM copy, and all other content.

A few years back Adobe acquired Omniture, a marketing and analytics suite. Omniture had many of its own customers, so a lot of users continued to search for Omniture even after it became an Adobe product. Even when Adobe phased out the Omniture name and brought it into the Adobe Marketing Cloud, users still searched for Omniture to find a solution to their Web analytics and marketing needs. By changing the SEM copy to indicate something about the brand transition, marketers were able to grasp Omniture customers and bring them over to Adobe.

How to Alter Copy

Search is a lot like a conversation. If a searcher were to say, “I’m interested in Omniture,” the results must yield important messaging about Adobe’s acquisition. The SEM copy could read, “Omniture is Now Adobe Analytics. Learn More Now!” In a brand transition, it’s important to include both something about the brand transition and some sort of call to action in your SEM copy. These two necessities squeeze your copy even tighter, but above all it’s important to keep your customers in the loop.

Be Opportunistic

Every brand transition is an opportunity to acquire new customers. These opportunities begin on the customer level.

Whenever you acquire another brand, you have the opportunity to acquire all of that brand’s customers. You should make this transition as smooth as possible for these customers. Use CRM contacts from both your company and your newly acquired company to send out an informational email informing users of the shift and what this transition means to them. Tell them about new features and offer them opportunities to take action, give information, or learn about your company.

If you are dealing with a significant product change, then there are few opportunities you can take to build your customer pool. Again, look to old customers for business. Maybe you can make them an exclusive offer to buy into the new product at a discounted rate, give them a whitepaper in exchange for new information, or send them an automatic update. Modify your landing pages and your website so everything is updated an in accordance with your transition. Make it easy for customer to adjust; don’t make them work.

Keep Customers in the Loop

Always keep your customers and potential customers informed about your brand transitions. Use SEM to spread the word. SEM adjusts in almost real time, so you can constantly update searchers of your shift. You’ll probably have to keep bidding on keywords for your old product for a long time, but that’s just a way to keep your older customers up to date on your newest products. Keeping your customers in the know is the best way to help them adjust to brand transition.