Building the right rebrand execution team: a holistic approach

Building the right rebrand execution team: a holistic approach

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Monday, October 7, 2019 | Vladimir Kacar

Orchestrating a rebrand for a large corporation requires the involvement of a broad team of internal and external partners. That’s why creating the right team for a rebrand is so critical for its success. But most executive marketing leaders tasked with putting together a rebrand plan — and a team to execute it — are doing it for the first time. It’s a little like setting out to build a house as a general contractor without a deep understanding of design, architecture, civil engineering, permitting, budgeting, or the role and proper sequencing of various subcontractors. The house may get built, but it’s likely to take more time and money than it should — and the quality may suffer, too. The same thing happens to rebrands when they don’t have the correctly constituted team appointed at the right time.

Too often, organizations in the midst of a rebrand build their team reactively. As the rebrand progresses and new needs arise, they loop in internal stakeholders and hire vendors in an ad hoc manner. In reality, these organizations would get better results through a more holistic approach. That means building out the full internal and external team from the outset.

Exploring the ROI of hiring a rebranding agency to manage the process

At BrandActive, we work with clients to ensure that they have the right people doing the right things at the right time. This holistic approach to teambuilding allows your organization to:

  • Budget for your rebrand more accurately and avoid surprise costs
  • Stick to your rebrand timeline without rushing to make up for lost time
  • Rationalize vendors and select best-fit partners
  • Achieve economies of scale
  • Execute your rebrand more efficiently and cost-effectively

Composing a team for all phases of the rebrand

The composition of your rebrand execution team will change during each phase of rebrand planning and execution. Broadly speaking, there are three distinct phases for which different teams will need to be assembled. These are:

1. Researching and building a new brand identity and strategy

2. Planning and executing the rebrand’s implementation

3. Planning and implementing a communications and PR strategy for the brand’s launch

These phases overlap over the course of the rebrand. Ideally, you would begin the second phase, rebrand planning, as soon as your team begins to explore brand change. Your company may be considering a number of options, including changing the name, or refreshing the logo, or a repositioning only. (BrandActive is often asked to model rebrand implementation scenarios and costs for each viable brand change option. That aids a company to choose a direction.) Stage three would likewise ramp up while stage two is still in process, in advance of the rebrand’s launch date.

Rebrand planning often lies with an organization’s marketing leadership team. So, it makes sense that these businesses often have a strong branding and marketing bias when it comes to appointing a rebrand team. They already know they’ll need to hire a branding agency and a media strategy partner, for example. This bias isn’t a problem when it comes to phases one and three. Phase two — rebrand implementation — is where the trouble often begins. And that’s exactly where BrandActive steps in to help organizations build a fully appointed and optimized team.

Building an internal rebrand implementation team

Your internal rebrand execution team should include representation from all the major functional teams in your organization. Depending on your organization’s structure and business model, this will likely include leaders who are responsible for heavily branded assets, such as buildings, along with leaders who play important supporting roles in making the rebrand happen, such as Legal and Procurement. Consider the following areas:

  • Marketing
  • Legal
  • IT
  • Real Estate
  • Product
  • Procurement
  • Regulatory
  • HR
  • Any other heavily branded operational areas

When building out your internal implementation team, you’ll also want to select for a mix of personality traits. Ideally, your team should include staff who are smart and fast, able to manage stress, and capable of getting things done under pressure.

You’ll also want to be sure to establish centralized control over all rebrand-related activities. Don’t just assume that other departments will be prepared to implement their pieces of the rebrand unsupported. At times, this may involve navigating the usual roles and responsibilities in a way that leaves your staff feeling empowered and not infringed upon.

For example, your procurement department may not want marketing leadership to oversee their work in procuring branded assets. But the reality is that this department is generally involved in procuring the items needed by the organization on an ongoing basis. That’s where they are most experienced and capable. It’s a whole different ball of wax to order $10 million worth of signage globally over a twelve-month period. The more your rebrand leadership provides specific guidance on the required specs and preferred vendors, the better prepared your company will be to get the job done on time.

In our work with clients, we help them to organize the ideal internal team and ensure that a centralized rebrand execution plan is clearly communicated and executed — even in businesses with a decentralized structure.

Appointing the right mix of external vendors toimplement your rebrand

The specific mix of agencies and vendors that you will need to implement your rebrand will be unique to your situation, including your industry, rebrand goals, location, budget, regulatory requirements, and importantly, your mix of branded assets.

The point of taking a holistic approach to teambuilding is that you take the time at the front end of the planning process to determine what the most appropriate mix of partners will be.

Depending on your rebranding strategy, this may include the following partners:

  • Business strategy consultancy
  • Branding agency
  • Media strategy agency
  • Digital marketing/web agency
  • Communications agency
  • Vendors to manufacture branded assets
  • Rebrand implementation agency, such as BrandActive

As you’re building your external rebrand execution team, you’ll want to pay attention to the following factors:

  • Cost, timing, and quality. These are the most obvious factors that organizations tend to consider when comparing vendors.
  • Capabilities. It often makes better sense to hire a small number of strong partners capable of handling your needs than multiple partners that each have a more singular focus. Streamlining your vendors can reduce spend and the time spent managing multiple partners.
  • Cultural fit. As you’re comparing vendors, don’t forget to take cultural fit into consideration. The easier it is for you to work with your external partners, the more smoothly the rebrand process is likely to go. Treat your pre-contract conversations with vendors like professional courting, and you’re more likely to select partners that align with your firm culturally.
  • Economies of scale. Structure your external team with an eye to capturing economies of scale.

At BrandActive, we take the lead in putting together our clients’ external rebrand implementation teams, including managing the vendor selection and management processes for them. Interested in learning more about how we can help you appoint an optimized and holistic rebrand execution team? Let’s talk.

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