Whether you’ve been through a rebrand before or you’re embarking on one for the first time, it’s a high-stakes endeavor that you can’t afford to get wrong. You need a modern, smart, expertly designed brand and a flawlessly executed implementation plan to ensure you get the most out of your organization’s brand change.
When BrandActive opened its doors in 1998, the primary focus was helping companies navigate the complexities of rolling out M&A-driven rebrands. Today, BrandActive serves clients in a variety of industries who are changing or refreshing their brands for any number of strategic reasons.
In celebration of BrandActive’s silver anniversary, two boots-on-the-ground rebrand implementation experts — Patrick Heath and Eli Greenspan — reflect on how the game has changed over time and identify three specific ways BrandActive has evolved along with it to continually deliver stellar results.
1. We’ve expanded beyond project management into bigger-picture consultation
BrandActive has always excelled at the “how” of rolling out a rebrand. As a left-brained, detail-driven group of people, the team relishes diving into the logistical aspects of brand change and developing a comprehensive plan to get the job done.
“That’s still the case. But over the years, we began to realize that clients needed more from us than efficient project management,” Eli says. “They also needed expert guidance on how to chart the best course of action for their implementation — using their business’s unique needs, goals, and capabilities as a compass.”
Once upon a sign
“I remember distinctly that we used to tell every client that it took six months to get new signage in place,” Eli continues. “We were intent on providing best-in-class results, and we knew it took at least six months to create the highest quality signage possible.”
“But in the early days we were a little too rigid about those timelines,” Patrick responds.
“Clients would come to us and ask ‘What can be done? What trade-offs do we need to make to get signs up more quickly?’ That drove us to become more agile and responsive to clients’ particular needs and look for creative ways to help them achieve their unique business goals,” Eli expounds.
How scenario modeling helps us develop customized implementation plans
The need to customize the implementation approach for each client led BrandActive to move beyond a project management mindset and into a consultative one. That’s why rebrand implementation engagements kick off with services that include:
- In-depth scope and resourcing analysis to measure the breadth and depth of the project and to determine what types of resources you’ll need to carry it out.
- Scenario modeling and risk assessment to help you understand the impact any given choice will have on your rebrand’s cost and timeline.
- Accurate financial forecasting and planning, which includes looking at your organization’s CapEx and OpEx policies to effectively budget for the rebrand.
- Flexible branded asset conversion strategies that reduce redundancies and give you the most bang for your rebranding buck.
This early-stage strategizing provides a comprehensive understanding of your needs and allows for customized solutions based on what you’re trying to achieve.
“Remember when converting everyone’s business cards was one of the most urgent elements of our branded asset conversion strategies?” Patrick laughs. “Does anyone even use business cards anymore?”
“That’s such a good example of how clients’ needs change and how we have changed, too,” Eli responds. “Now we approach each branded asset conversion strategy through the lens of impact — on their audience and on their budget. And so often, replacing physical assets like business cards with digital alternatives offers tremendous cost savings.”
2. We’ve created Centers of Excellence to enable cross-functional knowledge-sharing and upskilling
As BrandActive’s client base broadened into specialized and regulated markets, the team had to quickly get up to speed on each client’s industry requirements. But the landscape changes fast, and everyone needed to navigate these complexities effectively. That led to the development of internal Centers of Excellence (COEs) to serve as central repositories for industry-specific and asset-focused expertise.
Industry-specific Centers of Excellence
“No two industries are exactly alike,” Patrick says. “Rebranding an oil, gas, or electric company comes with one set of regulatory, safety, and legal requirements to bear in mind. Rebranding or renaming a healthcare organization comes with an entirely different set of considerations.”
The solution? Assign internal experts to head up Centers for Excellence for each of the industries in which BrandActive works.
Operationalizing your brand for the long haul is a key part of achieving the market impact you desire. – Eli Greenspan
“These leads are responsible for staying on top of changing trends, approaches, and processes within their assigned industry and understanding the nuances in each field,” Patrick explains.
“They’re constantly looking at the types of considerations, risks, or challenges that are relevant in each industry,” Eli adds. “So think about the safety requirements you might need to consider for various touchpoints, then think about the regulatory bodies that will need to approve each one. It can get really complicated. Then if you shift to healthcare, again, there are regulatory requirements to think about in addition to how each choice, such as wayfinding, will impact the patient experience. It would be a lot for clients to stay on top of all these requirements on their own.”
Functional Centers of Excellence
One of the most time-consuming parts of rebrand implementation is converting all your branded assets. But signage, ID badges, workwear, fleet vehicles, packaging, and other touchpoints are all very different.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all way to convert all of these assets. They all require a different set of skills and expertise to achieve the desired quality and consistency,” Eli explains.
“That’s why we also created Centers of Excellence for common branded asset categories,” Patrick adds. “Assigned subject matter experts are responsible to stay current on everything from materials to supply chain considerations to vendor specialization.”
This has proved beneficial for clients time and again.
“We once had a non-profit client that was looking for an ongoing but affordable partnership with a vendor,” Patrick says. “We were able to provide three recommendations of one-person shops that could meet their needs and fit within their budget. It just shows the power of our vendor network in action.”
Another client needed to source a technologically sophisticated ID badge because their normal provider was facing supply chain issues.
“Again, thanks to the vendor networks we track within each COE, we were able to quickly offer a solution that met their needs,” Patrick says.
Other Centers of Excellence
There are also COEs set up for each phase of the implementation process as well as for the various services and methodologies BrandActive specializes in.
The knowledge and information from each COE is then cataloged in an in-house learning center. This system is fully accessible by everyone in the organization.
“Every employee at BrandActive gets to benefit from each other’s expertise and, in turn, serve clients more effectively,” Eli says. “It’s pretty fantastic how much knowledge flows across the organization thanks to the Centers of Excellence.”
3. We’ve developed future-focused marketing and brand services to meet clients’ long-term operational needs
Rolling out a rebrand can take years, but eventually you’ll reach the finish line of implementation. Will your team be equipped to apply and deliver your brand consistently when that day comes?
“An engagement with BrandActive doesn’t have to end when the rebrand is complete,” Patrick says. “It’s really important to also make sure your employees know how to carry out your new brand over time.”
To that end, BrandActive can also assess your marketing and brand operations and help you:
- Create clear, repeatable marketing processes to boost efficiency and effectiveness
- Define employee roles and responsibilities so your team knows what is expected of them in terms of living out your brand
- Establish brand governance guidelines and expectations so employees know how to work with vendors to create consistent, on-brand assets
- Look at all the marketing technologies under your umbrella and make sure they’re functioning together to provide a positive brand experience for your internal and external audiences
“Operationalizing your brand for the long haul is a key part of achieving the market impact you desire,” says Eli. “Training your employees to become long-term brand ambassadors is a big part of that.”
Let BrandActive give your rebrand the expert treatment it deserves
Rebranding is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming process. The stakes are high to achieve the results your organization expects, and you can’t afford to take a single misstep along the way.
Shepherding organizations through the ins and outs of a rebrand implementation is why BrandActive opened its doors 25 years ago. And two and a half decades later, it continues to take the headache out of the process while simultaneously driving results.
This article is the second in a series celebrating BrandActive’s 25th anniversary. If you’d like to learn more about BrandActive or explore how we can help your organization maximize the impact of brand implementation, contact our VP of Client Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website for useful information on how to successfully manage a rebrand implementation.