Rebranding requires thorough planning and keen attention to detail. And even with ample resources and a thoughtfully developed implementation plan, it can be surprisingly challenging to achieve and maintain brand consistency across all touchpoints, locations, and work units.
That’s especially true if your brand lives in a host of partner channels seemingly beyond your control. If you don’t own each channel, how can you ensure your partners will update your brand appropriately everywhere it’s represented?
Your partners — whether they distribute your products, promote your services, receive your sponsorship support, or collaborate with you in another way — may not be as motivated to achieve a high level of brand integrity and consistency wherever your identity appears. After all, they have their own set of strategic priorities to focus on.
Your partners serve as an important conduit for your brand, and it’s critically important to engage them thoughtfully and diligently throughout the rebranding process and beyond.
But your partners are motivated to maintain a positive, mutually beneficial relationship with you. With some careful planning, you can educate them on everything your new brand stands for, achieve the brand consistency you’re looking for, and ultimately deliver a more streamlined and positive partner experience along the way.
Here’s how to fully equip and engage your partners to help you achieve rebranding success.
Develop a comprehensive rebranding partner education plan
Informing your partners about the importance and strategic implications of your rebrand involves many of the same principles as gaining buy-in from your employees and stakeholders. To foster widespread adoption of the new brand, education and training are key.
Just like you might encourage employees to become ambassadors for your new brand by holding events, workshops, and brand training, you’ll want to incorporate similar strategies when educating your partners about your new brand.
This is your opportunity to share the reasons for your rebrand, explain exactly what is changing and when, and outline precisely what your partners will need to do to bring the brand elements within their purview up to date.
To effectively educate your partners regarding every salient detail, collect data in two key areas.
1. Take an inventory of the branded assets under your partner umbrellas
Although your partners own their respective channels, it’s up to you to provide a comprehensive inventory of all the branded assets and touchpoints your partners will need to address.
This may include:
- Sales sheets, brochures, and other collateral
- Signs, banners, and promotional items
- Advertisements and billboards
- Websites, email templates, social media pages, and other digital assets
- Co-branded fleet vehicles and branded apparel
- And more
As a marketing leader, you likely have a good handle on all the places your brand and visual identity appear. You may already have checklists and inventories of all the collateral you regularly update within your partner channels. Nonetheless, be sure to round out your own knowledge by inviting members of your team and stakeholders across your organization to help you compile the most up-to-date list.
2. Compile partner lists and contact information
Making a list of the touchpoints your partners will need to convert is often the easy part of a partner rebranding initiative. What may come as a surprise is the difficulty of gathering names, titles, and contact information of key players within your partner organizations so you can communicate the details of the rebrand effectively.
A few years ago, we worked with a global telephonic company to implement their rebrand within multiple partner channels. As part of their engagement plan, this brand wanted to rank their partners into tiers to allocate rebranding resources appropriately and to offer various levels of engagement during the process. For example, top-tier partners were invited to signature events and received a larger share of the market development funds available to help convert rebranded assets while lower-tier partners received gifts and were invited to smaller-scale events. Clean data was key to making the types of strategic decisions necessary to engage each partner appropriately.
One surprising roadblock this brand discovered, however, was that they lacked the clean data they needed about each of their partners. There was no single database that contained all the up-to-date contact information and other information they needed to implement their rebrand strategy.
This became a substantial task that required much more work and energy than originally anticipated. Employees spent days comparing data sets, filling in gaps, and tracking down correct contact information. Given their extremely short timeline and big bang launch plans, this unexpected hurdle became a significant challenge to overcome.
If you suspect your partner data is similarly incomplete, devote time and resources as early as possible to get these details in order.
Provide funding to help partners implement your rebrand
Some of your partners may be well-resourced and fiscally motivated to update your brand expeditiously. These partners will move quickly to maintain the customer experience your audience expects. They may even be willing to split the cost of the rebrand or absorb a large portion of the expenses.
But others may face fiscal and human resource limitations that hinder their ability to update your logo and brand messaging in a timely manner. These partners might want to convert assets over time or as part of their normal operational plans.
Or they might expect you to cover the entire price tag in order to update your logo and other brand elements within the time constraints and quality standards you lay out.
If it’s important to you for partners to convert branded assets quickly — or if you’re concerned certain partners won’t be able to meet your expectations using their own resources — plan to incorporate this expense into your rebrand implementation budget.
Engage partners thoughtfully to achieve brand consistency
Your partners serve as an important conduit for your brand, and it’s critically important to engage them thoughtfully and diligently throughout the rebranding process and beyond. You’ll need to provide clear rebrand guidelines and may also decide to run online training sessions long with an online help desk. After all, your brand’s integrity — and its ultimate market value — depends a great deal on your ability to deliver a consistent brand experience for every employee, customer, and stakeholder.
If you need help thinking through the myriad details rebranding across partner channels requires, just reach out. We’d love to help you consider every element to ensure a successful rebrand.