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Alison Hardacre and Lachlan Wheeler, co-founders of Halaxy

How to successfully pull off a brand relaunch without losing customers

In August, we undertook one of the most exciting and stressful steps in our company’s life: we rebranded.

For six years, we were HealthKit and now, we are Halaxy. And as exciting as that change is and what it represents for our company’s future, rebranding is not an easy decision to make — nor to carry out.

As with all seemingly fun things, there’s a lot more to a successful rebrand than merely tweaking your logo, having some workshops, throwing a launch party and hoping it will go over well. It’s understanding the importance of the change for your most important stakeholder: your customers. For us that meant customers in 130 countries!

Although we liked our previous name, we found it limiting because the name HealthKit limited us to product markets (“kits” like practice management software, directory, personal health record) and the inclusion of the word “health” in our name made it a crowded market where some stakeholders could be confused if a competitor had an issue (such as the Health Engine data use controversy where they sold patient data to lawyers allegedly without enough patient consent). We needed a name that uniquely reflects our global ambitions to make healthcare better

Over and above all of this, there is the healthcare aspect. We (Lachie and Alison, our co-founders) have worked in the healthcare industry for a decade, and we both understand the complexity of marketing and relaunching a healthcare service.

Unlike most other industries, those who work in healthcare are faced with an additional layer of ethical considerations and change can be difficult if it is perceived to impact patients. Healthcare is the most crucial industry in society; it quite literally saves lives.

It is also hugely diverse, complex and clunky, which affects healthcare delivery.

So, prior to the launch, we scoured the internet looking for a guide that would tell us how to not only successfully rebrand (our software, logos, our look etc), but also how to avoid losing clients in the process.We couldn’t find one so we decided to write this article!

We are now three-quarters of the way through our rebranding period (that’s right — it’s not an overnight thing), and so far, two-thirds (66%) have decided to migrate to our new system, in just 7 weeks since we announced the new name and platform.

During this time, we have noticed three key steps which have kept most of our clients — primarily time-poor healthcare practitioners — satisfied and, most importantly, still committed to using our platform.

Communicate the purpose

While internally, you may have been thinking about rebranding for months, your clients and customers are not privy to the decisions that govern your business.

Communicating the reasons to your clients and customers about why you have chosen to rebrand is therefore vital.

We cannot emphasise this part of the relaunch strategy enough: your customers must be adequately informed throughout the entire duration of the rebranding process as to why you have made this decision, and continuously reassured that it will not affect them (or at least, not negatively — there will be inevitable changes).

This can be done through email, but make the clients also have a human face they can put to the company.

Invest in creating a video with a senior member of the company explaining the thinking behind the brand change — any change is serious for any customer base, particularly if they’re in a sector like healthcare, where every second matters. Senior leaders sharing the news and rationale gives the change gravitas and credibility.

Also make sure that you tailor your message to each individual audience base. You need to say the same thing to every audience, but you can’t necessarily say it the same way.

Be prepared to communicate every week for the entire transition period

Having a formal launch communications plan in place which clearly articulates who does what, when and how often is another integral part of the process.

For example, knowing that you’re going to have to send an email every few weeks for three months during the transition period (i.e. first email to say you’re changing; second to say you’re open for business; a third asking for feedback; and a fourth to send a summary of the feedback to your user base) shows that you are attentive and thinking about your customers at every stage, and how it may be affecting them. Sharing users’ compliments and feedback helps everyone know that you’re listening.

This also includes responding to criticisms and complaints in a timely manner, and looking further to address any potential bugs in your new brand and strategy based on that feedback.

Maintain high service levels throughout the process

We pride ourselves on having a high level of customer service, which is something we vowed to keep during the transition.

Because we have offices in Ireland and in Australia, it means we straddle two time zones and are able to provide 20 hours of customer service a day. We are planning on opening another global office, which will complete the 24-hour customer service cycle.

While our business is technically a healthcare technology platform, we don’t treat it as such. Tech companies are notorious for eliminating almost all human contact from their customer service, and they are beginning to pay for that decision.

Against industry trends, we have decided that all customer inquiries, no matter how small, will be met with a real human voice — and this has made all the difference. Importantly we’ve done this with only 6 dedicated service team members globally; it’s all about hiring the right people and creating a service ethos across the business.

It’s so important that people in the entire business see that we are a people-focused company,  and not a tech business. If this means sacrificing some short-term profit for a healthier workplace and better business practices that build a better global business in the long run, then it is 100% worth it in order to build a global brand that enables global business ambitions.

Alison Hardacre is co-founder and Managing Director of Halaxy.

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Alison Hardacre

Alison Hardacre

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