Lessons from the Superstore Rebranding Episode

"Superstore” is an NBC sitcom that follows the escapades of a group of employees who work at a big-box discount store (à la Wal-Mart) called Cloud 9. If you’ve watched the show, you know it’s hilarious. If you haven’t, both seasons are available for free on NBC.com (we’re just sayin’).

Last week’s episode, “Rebranding,” tackled Cloud 9’s big rebrand of its in-store product line, Halo. In what was possibly the worst rebrand rollout we’ve ever seen, Halo became “Supercloud.” Watch the first two-and-half minutes of this clip to see what we mean.

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Though the Halo rebrand was 100% terrible, it was 300% hilarious in its woeful execution. But marketers can learn a lesson or two from the comedically incompetent corporate team at Cloud 9.

1. Rebrands are both external and internal.

One of the major flaws in the Supercloud rebrand is the way it fails to think internally. The corporate team is only thinking about a hip new logo and name the customers will see when the interact with the brand.

One character, Jonah, even asks what the difference is between the old brand and the new brand. His flustered district manager, Jeff, can only point out the obvious difference in name. While this external rebrand is important, the internal rebrand is often overlooked.

A brand is more than its visuals. Employees are the frontline in interacting with customers and hardest part of a rebrand to control. In order to conduct a successful rebrand, employees must be educated in the finer points of the new identity. If employees can’t explain the logic behind a rebrand, how can they convey it to customers? If they aren’t excited about it, why should your customers be?

Remember, the internal rebrand comes first. If you want to change your brand successfully, your employees need to be on board before your customers are.

 

2. It's importance to get feedback from stakeholders.

In “Superstore,” Jeff reveals Cloud 9’s new mascot, Kelsey, designed to accompany the new name and logo.

Superstore rebranding episode 1.jpg

Upon seeing Kelsey, another employee, Cheyenne, suggests the new mascot should have been a Cloud 9 superhero who saves people with “savings.” Jeff falters again, realizing this idea is much better than using Kelsey as a mascot.

This is a great example showing why you should gather feedback from internal stakeholders, especially employees, before designing the elements of your rebrand. Cheyenne’s feedback could have been extremely valuable early on, but Cloud 9 didn’t ask for it.

Use your employees’ feedback before, during, and after the rebrand. Instead of throwing a new identity at them and expecting them to execute it, have a strategy, purpose, and goals that incorporate stakeholder opinion in your branding process.

 

3. Rollouts require careful planning and a timeline.

In the clip, this is the first time Cloud 9’s in-store employees are hearing about the Halo to Supercloud rebrand. Instead, the process should have been announced early on with employees receiving constant updates. This gives the internal rebrand a chance to take hold while getting the employees used to the elements of the new identity.

The rollout should also come with clear messaging and talking points, making it easy for the employees to interact with customers. These talking points should be more specific than Jeff’s language list, which includes lame phrases that don’t resonate with his staff (“on fleek,” anyone?).

Consideration for the employee experience is an important factor in the success of any organization. A great company culture leads to happy employees which leads to higher productivity and increased success.

Online retailer Zappos specializes in creating an outstanding employee experience, working to ensure their employees enjoy where they work. They’ve made Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list seven years in a row – no way that’s a fluke.

They focus on successfully onboarding their employees, giving them the attention they need, empowering them to do the right thing, and creating a positive environment. Zappos even offers a School of Wow! designed to inspire team leaders and front line employees to get excited about where they work.


If you’re considering a rebrand, remember to think internally. Your employees need to be satisfied before your customers. In the Superstore rebranding episode, we learned exactly how not to execute development and rollout for your new identity.

Remember to include your staff in the process by asking for and implementing their feedback, keeping them updated, and making it clear why your rebrand is important and what they can do to ease the transition.

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