Small Business Lessons: 5 tips for a successful rebrand, according to Wilet

For our Small Business issue, we asked 14 B.C. businesses how they're surviving in this economy. Here's one of them

On June 1, Vancouver-based linen company Flax Sleep reintroduced itself as a rest-focused lifestyle brand called Wilet. Co-founder Vivian McCormick pulls back the covers on the steps Wilet’s small team of six took to refresh its branding.
As told to Alyssa Hirose.

1. Set both short-term and long-term goals

It’s crucial to not just think about what you need to get done to relaunch in the short term, but also what you envision the brand to be far into the future. In the short term, we wanted to ensure that our very engaged community stayed with us post-rebrand, and one of our long-term goals was to expand our reach beyond linen home goods.

2. Have a clear vision and mission for the new brands

A rebrand is challenging, no matter the circumstances. Having a vision for the new brand is critical because you need that North Star when things inevitably start to go sideways. Our approach was to focus on the purpose we had at the very beginning: solve our own problems surrounding rest. That led to the vision for Wilet—to be a leading rest-focused lifestyle brand.

3. Pick the right branding agency to work with

For us, it was important to take the necessary time to evaluate proposals from a few branding agencies. Being very realistic and clear about our parameters (budget, timeline) helped us narrow our consideration. We knew that we needed a partner who was strong in both digital and physical assets, and our decision to work with Grant Design in Calgary was based on their clear scope, transparent pricing and articulation of a process that we were confident we could work well within.

4. Be transparent about the rebrand

Consumers today are increasingly invested in the stories behind their favourite brands and businesses. Sharing the journey leads to community buy-in and is realistically the least expensive way to gain awareness. We recorded our own real-time reactions (both good and bad) to various steps of the rebrand process, communicated what we were going to be doing ahead of time and why, and shared a lot of behind-the-scenes content. We’ve had people tell us that they made a point of checking our social media and opening every email, because they became so invested in the journey.

5. Be clear about what is changing and what is not

As a consumer brand, it’s very easy to lose people when you make a big change because they get the impression that you are no longer “for them.” We have come to be known for our superior linen bedding and bath towels, and we made a point of highlighting that our current products would remain the same. At the same time, we are spreading the word that we’re expanding our product line.