Strategize your rebrand: How Zeffy navigated the challenge

It can feel daunting to decide a rebrand is the best course of action for your organization. While crafting a robust strategy should precede any initiative towards a new brand, it is not always an intuitive first step. Our trusted partner, Zeffy, discusses the importance of preparing and following a strong strategy – a lesson they implemented when they took charge of their rebranding transformation – from start to finish.

Zeffy, previously Simplyk, is a zero-fee fundraising platform for non-profit organizations. The Simplyk name, a play on the French verb “s’impliquer”, represented the original idea for the company: recruit volunteers. As the company grew and reoriented its mission, the two founders, Francois and Thibaut, took the leap to not only change their company’s name but to rebrand it entirely. The name change to Zeffy was only the beginning.

In an interview with Phil, Zeffy Brand Designer, Sammy Goyette, shared her perspective of the Zeffy rebranding campaign.

Why would an organization want to rebrand, why did Zeffy?

“A strong brand tells a story; one that others can recognize, connect with, and remember. A rebrand can be a nerve-wracking experience, but taking the leap to rebrand allows you to learn so much about your company and where you plan on going. Having a clean slate to visually communicate, provides a multitude of possibilities to improve your message.”

“As the company started to grow, the Simplyk name became less encapsulating of what we do and we began to encounter problems with pronunciation, causing an issue with word-of-mouth referrals, making it a challenge we wanted to address quickly.”

Where did you begin?

“To start, there are major challenges that come with the renaming process, so conducting extensive research to measure the value of this big change was key. I conducted multiple interviews with our users, and…soon after…we were able to cement the problem that we knew all along; our brand name needed to be changed.

The naming journey was only the first step in the rebranding; once we had a strong name we had to create a visual identity that encapsulated our energy, our desire to do good, and to improve our accessibility.

The criteria that we used to decide our new brand name was:

  • Clarity in both French and English
  • Legal and domain availability
  • Represents “the why” (why we do what we do, reflects our values and goals, etc.)
  • Memorable name

Why is a robust strategy important to the rebranding process?

“Building a robust strategy prior to the rebrand is key to outlining who you are as a business, the main goals of the new brand, and all of the touchpoints—who will be interacting with the brand. This will allow you to consider the long-term effects the brand may have on your business’ success but also the effects that it will have on your community.

To begin the renaming, we needed to brainstorm as a company. To do this, I organized several brainstorming workshops to clarify how the employees saw our brand. It gave us a great place to start. For the next 7 weeks, myself and the founders met every single day to brainstorm new names, themes, and criteria that we needed for our brand name.

We were exhausted with the process but we did not want to settle until we found the perfect one. At last, Francois came to us with the idea that our product is a powerful and free force for nonprofits. Naturally, wind came to mind, and this led us to Zephyr and then Zeffy.”

The rebranding process included:

  • 7 workshops
  • 26 user interviews
  • 36 meetings
  • 280 hours
  • 354 names
  • 3,000+ searches

How did Zeffy communicate their rebranding effectively to keep stakeholders engaged?

“It was very important for Zeffy to keep the employees very involved in the rebrand to hear their feedback, excitement, and to be a part of this change together. This was very helpful when it came time to launch the rebrand because everyone knew the story of the brand, they knew why design decisions were taken, and they were there to answer questions and encourage the new brand as a whole.

All of our communications about this change were written and designed with high clarity to properly answer our stakeholders’ questions. Some steps that we took to ensure this are:

  • We created an FAQ page on our website, specifically to answer questions on the rebrand.
  • Adding a banner to our new, rebranded website and in our product, stating that Simplyk is now Zeffy with a link to the FAQ page.
  • A social media post with animation answering why we rebranded, what our new brand is, and how we executed this.
  • Email communications that highlighted the rebrand, and reassuring our existing audience of the changes that would be made.”

How do you know if your rebranding is successful?

“At the beginning of the rebrand, I made a list of problems that I wanted to solve with our new brand. I was able to go back to this list and narrow it down to three main goals that I wanted to accomplish with the new Zeffy brand:

1. Our brand tells a story – Our brand tells a strong story and reflects who we are, our missions and what we do.

2. Our brand is accessible – With special consideration to color contrasts, typeface legibility, and the rename; we were able to create a more inclusive brand.

3. Our brand is cohesive and memorable – Although we chose bright colors and exciting graphic elements that work in unison to stand out; we are still able to accomplish the simplicity that we were looking for. We have a set of brand guidelines to follow which has helped keep the brand both cohesive and memorable across all of our communications assets.”

The Takeaway

Goyette’s tips can apply to any organization looking to rebrand:

  • Step 1: Identify and address an issue with your current brand and how it is communicated
  • Step 2: Make a strategy to tackle your goals for the rebranding process
  • Step 3: Don’t settle, be liberal with the time you spend brainstorming
  • Step 4: Communicate effectively with stakeholders
  • Step 5: Evaluate the success of your outcome by reviewing your initial goals

Zeffy still serves local organizations in Quebec to make their fundraising platform accessible. We recommended Zeffy while supporting the Donald Berman Maimonides Foundation during their rebranding project. Phil has also seen our clients, including Anorexie et boulimie Québec (ANEB), Les Petits Renards, Geordie Theatre, Ruelle de l’avenir and many more, benefit from Zeffy’s platform.

While the rebranding process can be complex, it does not have to be a nightmare. Phil can help make it easy for your team! Reach out to us for a free consultation today.