How to approach signage replacement during a corporate rebranding

How to approach signage replacement during a corporate rebranding


Philip Guiliano

On the surface, signage systems may not seem like the most important priority when making a brand change. First and foremost, you want to make sure that the quality of your brand is maintained and improved by whatever changes you are making to brand strategy and design. Then, you need to figure out how much it will cost to roll the new identity out across all your branded assets.

As you plan your rebrand implementation, keep in mind that a coherent and effective signage system can act as a visual symbol to the public of your mission. The design of the signage system can send a message about the direction that the company is heading. Even more importantly, the signage system should be unique and distinguishable so that people know exactly what and who they are dealing and what your organization represents whenever they see one of your signs.

The 4 considerations to prepare for before replacing signage during a rebrand

Signage is high impact—but can be high cost

If you’re in charge of a new brand rollout plan that requires signage replacement, consider that the cost to rebrand signs to reflect your new corporate identity can devour up to 70 percent of your brand implementation budget. With this stat in mind, it can be risky to simply inventory existing sign types, sizes, and quantities, and ship that list off to a couple of signage companies for a quote.

10 steps in a signage rebranding process

Before embarking on rebranding your signage, you will need to consider a multitude of factors. Learn the 10 steps in a signage rebranding process.

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With 20 years of experience guiding clients through brand transitions, BrandActive recommends a different approach to signage replacement that can reduce costs, freeing up your branding budget to invest elsewhere.

Identify core signage needs during a rebranding

Our experience shows that in most cases, a “like for like” replacement strategy is usually not merited. For example, it’s likely that over time, your company has added signs here and there, on an ad hoc basis, to address the lack of effective signage in a given area. While those newer sign(s) may be serving their purpose, it’s best not to assume that the older, ineffective signage is still needed. A rebranding project is the ideal time to review your approach to your signage family.

This high-level review should evaluate requirements with the goal to create a cohesive yet flexible approach to addressing the communication and wayfinding needs. This work should be done by an objective signage subject matter expert with the ultimate goal of improving brand impact and compliance.

Benefits of big-picture brand management

BrandActive’s brand implementation team has helped reduce signage replacement budgets by up to 30 percent by providing an alternative approach to a “like for like” replacement strategy. These cost reductions were realized while still maintaining—and in many cases, improving—brand impact.

The key to successful rationalization and cost-effective signage programs is to begin with thorough and well-documented brand guidelines, standards, and technical specifications. These serve to protect the integrity of the brand while also providing an objective and consistent quality benchmark against which to evaluate prospective signage vendors. It is only by documenting your core signage needs and brand rollout and brand impact goals, that you can secure the accurate and truly comparable estimates from signage companies.

Resources to ensure successful rebranding of signage

During the busyness of a rebrand, it’s rare that a company has both the time and expertise to plan and manage the multiple workstreams this effort requires. This multi-step process requires:

  • Taking inventory of all exterior and interior signage;
  • Creating an overarching replacement strategy;
  • Developing recommendation books;
  • Evaluating and securing qualified vendors;
  • Using best practices for manufacture, including signage prototyping;
  • Working with local employees of your organization in each location; and
  • Managing it all to a timeline and budget that advances your rebrand objectives.

That’s why many companies in the midst of brand change turn to BrandActive. They get access to the experts and resources that assure rational, high-impact and cost-effective signage system across their locations—whether the organization operate in a single region, across North America, or across the globe.