Heading into a decentralized rebrand? Don’t overlook these 5 best practices

Heading into a decentralized rebrand? Don’t overlook these 5 best practices



Managing a major corporate rebrand is always a big deal. When you’re redesigning and reconfiguring everything from email signatures to signage, customer-facing forms, microsites, and mobile apps, your organization will have to make literally thousands of decisions large and small.

For companies with locations across cities, states, and even countries, deciding who will manage all those decisions at both the corporate and local level adds an additional layer to the already complicated scenario.

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In these cases, the solution is often to undertake a decentralized approach to the implementation. In simple terms, this means pushing much of the responsibility for the rebrand to local offices and affiliates. In more complicated terms, it means managing regional teams as they handle many of the region-specific assets while ensuring brand consistency across the thousands of assets previously mentioned.

If you find yourself about to embark on a decentralized implementation, it pays to be prepared. Here’s a look at the challenges and best practices to maintain an effective level of control over the rebrand process, even from a decentralized position.

Four considerations when embarking on a decentralized implementation

Rising costs

Based on our experience, a decentralized rebrand often carries a significantly higher price tag compared to centralized initiatives. This is often due to decreased economies of scale as regional teams handle spending and decision making independently. A lack of centralized oversight can also lead to inconsistent or incorrect brand application that requires costly rework to correct.

Diminished control over funding and approvals 

In a decentralized implementation, it’s up to local and regional groups to determine how and what to spend their portion of the overall budget on. Certainly, head office can offer direction, but local groups are ultimately going to spend budget in line with their own priorities. While individual groups should all work from the same brand guidelines, inconsistencies can and most likely will occur without any centralized oversight.

A shifting balance of power

When control and oversight move from head office out to regional branches, a shift in power is to be expected. One way to maintain a level of control and ensure consistent brand materials is to maintain vendor relationships at the head office level. This allows regional teams to have the decision-making power they need to progress but also ensures one central point of control over finished materials.

Ever-extending timelines

Without oversight, head office marketing teams can end up spending a significant amount of time chasing down approvals, following up to ensure brand guidelines compliance, or bringing regional teams up to speed on real-time developments.

Priorities can also shift away from the rebrand as the initiative gets underway. As teams encounter the challenges mentioned previously, they may choose to allocate their rebrand budget toward other initiatives and return to the project at a later date. The net result? Inadvertent timeline extensions based on unexpected developments.

Engaging a centralized vendor ensures a uniform approach to brand and quality and can reap cost and time savings.

Five best practices to help your decentralized implementation progress as smoothly as possible

Engage centralized vendors for critical touchpoints

It’s prudent to consider engaging a centralized vendor to produce larger, public-facing assets like billboards or signage. Not only will this ensure a uniform approach in terms of brand and quality but can also reap cost and time savings.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you engage just one vendor. For example, a global enterprise may engage one vendor to handle the North American arm of an implementation and another for the European side of things. In this configuration, resources can be centralized and managed more effectively than if local offices in each of these regions handled production piecemeal.

Centralize reporting

Whether you’re heading into a rebrand or developing a net new brand, data collection throughout the process is a crucial component of measuring the success of the project. By maintaining a centralized reporting structure, all the data you collect from regional points can be accumulated and analyzed as a whole, allowing efforts to be levelled up and elevated as needed.

Centralize design templates

During asset conversion, especially when you’re looking at a high volume of individual units on a large enterprise scale implementation, custom design templates can go a long way. Custom templates can be packaged up and distributed to local and regional offices, along with brand guidelines that teams everywhere can leverage when developing branded collateral. This will also save time when compared to the alternative of letting regional offices approach their own vendors and starting from scratch.

Involve brand ambassadors

A final piece of the puzzle is the involvement of brand ambassadors. By this we mean individuals within the company that can be trained as experts on the brand, brand guidelines, applications, assets, and everything in between. These ambassadors can be deployed to visit local and regional offices to help roll out the implementation, review work for brand consistency, and reduce strain across the organization.

Remember, help is always available

At the end of the day, a decentralized rebrand is not without its challenges, but by knowing what to watch out for, and following the best practices, you can set your organization on the path to success.

If your company is about to embark on a decentralized implementation, always remember that help is available. Engaging with a partner like BrandActive can help develop a strong sense of project governance and oversight across all working groups in your organization.

BrandActive can:

  • Orchestrate a workflow to ensure a seamless implementation
  • Build project governance infrastructure to give you the visibility you need
  • Work with vendors to ensure consistent quality for your rebrand across all your locations
  • Manage quality control
  • Collect data and report against it

So if you’re looking for support on how best to manage your decentralized rebrand initiative, just reach out. We’d love to help.