7 lessons in orchestrating a B2B2C rebrand

Brightstar's chief marketing officer details the steps taken as the B2B2C business rebrands to Likewize

On 6 September, Brightstar officially takes the wrappers off its comprehensive rebrand to Likewize. The massive effort is designed to showcase the global company’s transformation from mobile phone distribution to a broader technology protection and services provider.

The rebrand effort follows significant investment into pivot the B2B2C business, including more than US$1 billion into systems and services as well as acquisitions such as LucidCX and WeFix. The company operates in 30 countries resolving 250 million problems each year stretching from insurance and warranty to repairs, trade-ins and tech support.   

As LikeWize CMO, Jeremy Dale, put it, the fundamental problem Brightstar has faced is recognition for the breadth of its offering today. Dale joined the company earlier this year just as work got underway to instigate a company rebrand.

“When I asked people what they thought we did as a brand, I got a laundry list of products and services, or what we used to do, which was mobile phone distribution. They couldn’t articulate what we are today,” he told CMO. “What’s more, when I joined, I thought what we did was all the horrible jobs the carriers didn’t want to handle themselves.  

“Within 2-3 weeks, there was a realisation for me, which was a pivotal point in creation of the rebrand.”

Here, Dale shares the key steps taken by him and the Brightstar team to orchestrate the rebrand, and hefty learnings along the way.

1. Know your world view

“One thing I learned in my Microsoft days is the importance of knowing your world view. This is your view of the world and how you fit into that,” Dale said. The experience marketer has worked for a range of iconic brands, including Motorola, Microsoft, Orange and ITV.  

“As Likewize, our world view is that we know tech has fundamentally changed our lives, from how we how we interact to do our jobs. We also know it’s a world of ubiquitous computing, which has created unprecedented reliance on our devices. We literally can’t live without them. The shortest interruption around our devices causes significant disruption in our lives. It’s no surprise when something matters so much to people as technology does, the reaction is emotive.

“We exist to take that pain away. We work for carriers, banks, retailers and handset manufacturers so when their customers’ devices go wrong, we make them right.”

As a result, an important part of the rebrand was articulating the ‘why’ the brand exists rather than ‘what’ it does.

“We make things better by helping people get their reconnected when their tech goes wrong. It’s a fundamentally important role to play in the world, and in a good way,” Dale said.  

2. Back your promise up

There’s no point making such a promise if you can’t back it up operationally. Brightstar has made significant investments to transform as a business in the last 2-3 years to ensure it can solve every eventuality.

“From a lost device to malfunctioning, upgrading or not knowing how to do something on your device - we solve it,” Dale said, noting the acquisitions of LucidWorks and WeFix as key. Likewize now offers four key services to end consumers via its B2B partners: Tech protection, tech support, tech repair and tech renewal.

Jeremy DaleCredit: Likewize
Jeremy Dale

3. Find your emotional as well as rational points of difference

When Dale joined in February, plans for the rebrand had already kicked off and he was tasked with implementing them. But while he loved the new identity and name, Dale didn’t buy into the rationale.

As well as articulating the ‘world view’, he worked on crafting the tagline, ‘for a life uninterrupted’, to bring a more emotive element to the new brand and vision.

“Previously, the view was flat and rational. I think you have to appeal on both a rational and emotional basis. While the name and design was perfect, we needed to create this vision to tie it all together,” he said.

Because of the fundamental changes made to the Brightstar business, the rebrand was also about triggering partners and consumers to reassess the brand. “A dramatic change in identity can’t help but cause people to reassess who we are,” he said.  

What’s more, as a B2B2C business, the brand needed distinct end consumer appeal. “All engagement with end users is via partners. But then we are working directly with that end consumer after we’re introduced,” Dale said.

“It’s one of the reasons why this feels like a consumer rebrand – we are consumer-facing. We don’t sell to them, and only provide our services, but we are very visible to them.”

4. Inspire staff and stakeholders

Initially, only a couple of leaders and agencies were involved in the rebrand work. Once 85 per cent complete, with some dynamic assets under his belt, Dale took it to stakeholders including customers, employees and the company’s owners.

“The thing that made it successful is we showed a fresh and vibrant solution and one that would inspire people. We wanted to bring clarity to what we do as well as to inspire people to come to work,” Dale explained.  

To support this, a brand manifesto video was produced to share Likewize’s world view, while an explainer video articulated the thinking behind the name.

“When we did stakeholder interviews and with our partners, they said they don’t see us as just a supplier, we are someone providing flexible solutions. We are also aligned on the goal of solving the end customer’s problems,” Dale said. “It is a moment in time when that customer could be lost. So customers saw us as a partnership brand aligned to a common goal.

“‘Likewize’ is a great expression of that alignment in approach. The other aspect is it’s made up of two important words – like and wise. We want our customers to love how we resolve their problems, and also to see we have given then intelligence solutions. The name ‘Likewize’ reflects both the intelligence and empathy behind how we look after customers.”

5. Tie brand values to company values

Another important aspect of the process has been revising company values. “We have to ensure our internal culture values reflect the brand values. We can’t be Likewize on the outside if we’re not Likewize on the inside,” Dale argued.

The result has been adoption of six core values: Optimism, agility, always learning, being fair, empathy and personal best.

“We spent a lot of time explaining these values, training in them, we have integrated them into hiring, promotions, our annual bonus structure and planning processes,” Dale said. “This rebrand isn’t painting the outside of the company but re-establishing who we are.”

Every employee is now going through an orientation program including training videos, while celebration days are planned to coincide with the first day of the rebrand on 6 September. Other assets, from office spaces to call centre scripts, invoices and other assets, are also being overhauled in line with the go-live date.

6. Build your industry credentials

Supporting the rebrand is a more concerted effort on building Likewize’s voice within the industry sector. Dale said he’s keen to see the company go beyond just being a category participant.

“We believe the sector needs a brand that helps define the sector. We want to ensure we have a strong voice and point of view,” Dale said. “We had that internally in the past, but we’ve not articulated it externally. We will be far more vocal with our opinion and leading the market.”

One example is championing the need to address tech poverty. “We have seen during Covid how the haves and have-nots have become more divided, and how young kids haven’t been able to go to school but don’t necessarily have the tech for remote education,” Dale commented.

“It’s something we can do something about with our recycling and renewal capabilities, but it’s also something we think the whole industry needs to champion.”

Related: Bridging the digital divide in 2021 

7. Know your measures of success

As big measurement of success for Dale is raising brand awareness with prospects. Within 24 hours of announcing the rebrand, he noted a major carrier the team had been trying to meet with for 10 years slated a meeting,

“They didn’t realise all the things we did. That’s a proof point – seeing the market reassessing who we are,” Dale said. “Another measure of success will be improving employee satisfaction scores and attracting more and better people.

“For our owners, the majority of revenue comes from services, which is valued at a higher PE ratio. So we’re adding value to just by the financial industry seeing us as the services company we are, and not the distribution service we were before.”  

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