Rebranding an organisation is not something to be done lightly. It is expensive and the commercial world is littered with examples of rebranding that didn’t quite do it.
I have been reflecting on the first year of rebranding as FLexercise and, more importantly, looking at what we have learned from.
Rebranding an organisation can be risky. Loss of traction, not getting it quite right, clients disliking the new name. The list is endless. We knew we had a great product, but the name was not helping us get to the right people. A small survey showed a number of people attributed the name Fitness League to competition and male sport. This couldn’t have been further from what we really did.
So, armed with this information and a degree of trepidation, the Trustees commissioned a group to look at changing our name from the Fitness League to something new.
So what did we do?
One of the biggest challenges was to find a name that would be acceptable to most and reflect our activity. And perhaps more importantly, have available domains for that name.
We approached the project in a very professional and methodical fashion. First of all, we did a scoping exercise, collected data and indulged in lots of blue sky discussion on the name. We then went on to creating the brief for the rebranding work, commissioning the creative team, developing terms of reference and identifying clear lines of communication. And that was before we even started!!
Once we had settled on a name we got down to recreating ourselves. We asked key questions such as
- How do we reflect the past but make an organisation fit for the 21st Century?
- What exactly do we do?
- Who do we want to attract to the organisation?
It was certainly very challenging but also very exciting to almost start from a blank canvas.
Throughout the process, our creative provider, Zephyr Creative were brilliant. They challenged us every step of the way to ensure we really did have a product that was fit for the 21st Century. As a result, we created a wonderful new showcase for our system.
We developed an enormous number of elements in a very short time:
- A new Mission, Vision and Brand Values https://www.fl-exercise.com/about-us/our-fitness-journey/
- A brand new logo to reflect the old and embrace the new
- A refreshed colour palette – with primary and secondary accents
- A clear brand guide identifying the tone of voice, font, how to use the logo etc
- A new website to showcase our new name and logo
- New Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages to create interest on social media
- Having identified the best ways of promoting FLexercise, we created a raft of assets for teachers including posters, social media headers, banners, A boards, leaflets, business cards and much, much more
- We were able to film a fabulous promo video which was such fun to do and really explained who we are https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=EhWLIsV7zBc
- And we organised 3 great photoshoots which have provided the superb images you see regularly on all media
- Finally, we created branded exercise clothing for teachers and participants to make everyone feel part of the tribe.
Has it been a success?
Our SEO has raised, our profile is out there and people are beginning to talk about FLexercise as a result of all our efforts. Teachers are welcoming new participants to classes and there seems to be a real buzz around our work.
We are training more L3 teachers than ever and therefore more people are able to enjoy the FLexercise system around the country.
Our training course is now much shorter, more interactive and really does prepare our teachers for a career in exercise And we have created a new short course for existing exercise teachers to learn how to teach our system. https://www.fl-exercise.com/become-a-teacher/
So yes, it seems like it has been a success
And what have we learned?
I have thought long and hard about this. Once we had the name sorted, the whole process took 6 months. There were certainly some highs and lows and it wasn’t plain sailing. However, I think there have been a few stand out points:
- Make sure you are rebranding for the right reasons and have evidence to support your decision.
- Remind yourself that whilst it’s hard to always get consensus, you can often find some middle ground.
- Take your time but don’t lose momentum. And always keep to deadlines.
- Be very methodical and plan thoroughly. We found that a good project manager was invaluable.
- Surround yourself with a committed group of people who will deliver to deadlines.
- Make sure you identify a big enough budget, a rebrand is not a cheap activity.
- Most importantly, find a creative partner who will really take the time to understand you and work with you.
- Provide clear, concise information and instructions to teachers throughout the process – we gave regular updates and created a toolkit of assets to really help them in the early days.
- Decide on a launch date and build the excitement to that date.
- Finally, enjoy the ride!!!
Would we do it again?
We are absolutely sure we have future-proofed our brand. We are very proud of it, so no, I don’t think we would. I would say, however, that the brand keeps evolving. We are constantly looking at ways of improving our SEO and social media presence. We know that we can’t stop now.
Of course, the biggest challenge is to keep FLexercise fresh and exciting. I think we are doing ok at the moment but I have no intention of letting us sit on our laurels.
We have all learned so much through this project. Our skill sets have really grown and we are both confident and competent in what we do.
Not bad for a group of teachers who volunteered for this job. I think we can be proud of what we have achieved.