January Presentation: Rebranding an Established Brand

Rebranding the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs

On Thursday, January 17th, the Capital Chapter hosted a half-day seminar entitled “Cultivating a Powerful Reputation: Lessons in Branding.” One of the presentations, led by Michelle Ubben, Chief Operating Officer of Ron Sachs Communications, and Steve Murray, Communications Director of the Florida Department Veterans’ Affairs, focused on overcoming challenges when rebranding an already established brand, with a special focus on the FDVA rebranding effort.

Michelle started off with an introduction on what branding is all about.. She said when we think of the term “branding,” the original image conjured in our minds was that of a glowing poker searing a permanent “brand” into livestock in order to help identify the owner. In this modern era, however, “branding” is a word that encompasses numerous techniques related to the appeal and accessibility of a product to its intended user. Consumers choose which “brand herd” they want to belong to.

Michelle and Steve Murray then discussed the rebranding process, which included the following steps. Along the way, Michelle demonstrated the process using the “Brandyland” board game handout.

FDVA’s rebranding was prompted by difficulties the organization was having with connecting veterans in search of aid to available federally funded services.

Creating a new logo. The red, white, and blue motif appealed directly to those who most embody the American spirit- the veterans who risked their lives to defend this country.

A New Slogan: “Honoring those who served U.S.”

Defining brand personality: Passionate, active, outspoken, bold, wise, and trustworthy

Creating a new mission statement: “To advocate with purpose and passion for Florida veterans and link them to superior services, benefits and support.”

Overhauling the FDVA website. A website that had become crowded, convoluted and confusing was completely revamped, providing veterans with a much more straightforward and painless online experience.

Getting the word out. The creation of a mobile app, a brochure, the production of multiple public service announcements, and the establishment of a social media presence were vital to the success of the rebranding effort.

All in all, the rebranding event was a great success. Thanks to the efforts of Michelle and Steve and all others involved, page views to the website increased by 8,000, while website “visit duration” decreased by 4.5 minutes due to easier navigation. The newly established Facebook page has an average daily reach of 12,111 and since September 5th, 2012 there has been an increase of 2,305 new newsletter subscriptions.

To read Michelle’s article, “What Public Sector Agencies Can Learn From Private Sector Branding,” click here.