“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
While not official, this creed has long been associated with the United States Postal Service.
Delivering over 400 million pieces of mail each day, the USPS is an essential component of America’s critical infrastructure. Since production began in 1987, the Grumman Life Long Vehicle has been responsible for the majority of these deliveries. In doing so, the boxy right-handed truck has evolved into an iconic staple for the organization.
Though there’s no denying the legendary status of the Grumman LLV, sometimes legends become outdated. The truck’s recent mechanical and environmental problems are indicative of its aging design. Looking to remedy these ongoing problems, the USPS plans to begin production on the Grumman LLV’s replacement in 2023; but at what cost?
Without a doubt, replacing the Grumman LLV is sure to eliminate one of the organization’s key brand identifiers. Given the influential role brand identifiers have in maintaining relationships with audiences, understanding the risks and benefits associated with rebranding is extremely valuable to public relations professionals.
Below are some tips your organization should consider when thinking about its next rebranding.
At the risk of angering or alienating key stakeholders, it is imperative the public be aware of your organization’s rebranding efforts. Likewise, all rebranding initiatives should be delivered in an honest and transparent manner. As a result, your organization eliminates the risk of damaging its relationships with key stakeholders. Perhaps more noteworthy, the benefits of your organization’s rebranding efforts are effectively communicated to prospective audiences.
Just as external stakeholders are considered when rebranding, internal stakeholders should be considered as well. A successful rebranding requires that everyone internally associated with the organization understand and accept the change in direction. While it may be difficult to incorporate the suggestions of every employee, at minimum, they should be given the opportunity to voice their concerns and ideas.
Rebranding initiatives are often accompanied by a series of changes, growth and evolution. As such, it is important that all communication efforts accurately represent the organization’s new vision. Whether with colors, slogans or logos, the organization’s presence, both online and offline, should align and be consistent with the organization’s new direction.
Beyond creating the perception of something different, rebranding should evolve your organization into something better. To achieve this goal, your organization must flex its creative muscles. Rebranding gives an organization the possibility to explore new opportunities that were not available under its previous name and image. Even still, an organization should be cautious in deviating too far from its original image — as this may disorient key audiences.
Whether changing ownership, recovering from a crisis or modernizing to remain competitive, there are a multitude of reasons an organization chooses to rebrand itself. While the USPS retiring the historic Grumman LLV may not be an ideal example of rebranding, it does offer insight into the relevancy of rebranding in today’s world of public relations.
Kristopher Scott is a graduate student at the University of Alabama pursuing a Master of Arts degree in advertising and public relations. Scott has a passion for writing and often utilizes his writing as a catalyst for social justice change, increasing people’s knowledge, and building communities. In his spare time, Scott loves to read and spend time with his family.