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Corporate Branding

How does a global company roll out “the next new thing?” Deploy it in hundreds of offices? In dozens of countries? To legions of employees? To thousands of customers and prospects? These days, corporations rely on analytics and sophisticated logistics that drive thousands of point decisions in parallel.

When architects create a conceptual design for a structure, they talk with clients, take a few measurements, and come up with a floor plan that documents a grand strategy. But the initial plan, even once approved, remains pie in the sky until a host of added data and additional measurements are obtained. Builders of the new structure will need specifics on everything from building materials to electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and so on. Only when they get the so-called “working drawings” can they get started with moving dirt, pouring concrete, and erecting walls.

Marketing executives charged with managing a company-wide brand transition know that the journey from project start to new brand launch can feel like a roller coaster ride. Corporate rebranding is a risky venture because it impacts a company’s reputation, its brand value, its employees and customers, and more.

My phone rings, and on the line is a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) tasked with leading a corporate rebranding initiative. The CMO is asking the Million-Dollar Question: “How much is our rebranding project going to cost?” The question typically arises during the CMO’s due diligence process before cost estimates are due to an executive team. Having guided Fortune 500 clients through complex rebranding projects for almost a decade, I realize the importance of arming my clients with realistic numbers they can feel confident presenting to the C-Suite.

This article is intended for marketing and communications staff and executives who haven’t yet gone through a strategic corporate rebranding initiative. It may also be useful for those who have experienced a less-than-ideal implementation of a new brand. The three pillars of corporate rebranding represent three very distinct entities and roles in a rebranding effort. We’ll refer to them in this article as 1) Company; 2) Branding Agency; and 3) Brand Implementation Partner.