How to secure executive approval of your corporate rebranding plan

How to secure executive approval of your corporate rebranding plan

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Friday, October 25, 2019 | Philip Guiliano

Corporate rebranding is a big decision. And once it’s made, as a marketing leader it will fall to you to make it happen. That holds whether you were advocating for the change as a way to seize new growth opportunities through repositioning, or if your organization is rebranding to respond to an M&A transaction or other event.

Either way, now you’re knee-deep in it and are probably itching to start work on the creative strategy and design. And now is precisely the time to be sure your organization is equipped to actually implement the rebrand. That means you need to create a corporate rebranding strategy, budget, and rebrand implementation work plan.

It probably goes without saying that a corporate rebranding strategy is not something you can pull out of your back pocket.  To start, corporate rebrands are hardly business as usual. Many businesses go a decade or more without rebranding. And every rebranding is inevitably somewhat unique in circumstance, scope, timing, and/or business implications.

So, where do you begin? To get the nod (and secure the budget) to go forward, you first need to arm executives with the data they need to get behind your proposed strategy for rebrand implementation. Read on for our best advice.

Creating your overarching corporate rebranding strategy

While brand change might begin with the development of new creative (typically a new logo and/or name), the successful execution of a brand implementation strategy is where the rubber hits the proverbial road. When you anticipate a brand change in your company and know your team is responsible for creating and presenting strategy and cost estimates to executives, consider these three tips to gain credibility and their eventual nod of approval:

1. Present benefits and risks to gain credibility with senior executives

When the impetus for rebranding is growth, executives need to be persuaded of the benefits and outcomes of the brand change and ongoing brand management. You’ll need to demonstrate anticipated benefits while being upfront about risks. Your role is to educate management about the need for risk management plans to deal with potential risks to budget and schedule. By taking the time to do this assessment, you will earn trust with the decision makers, that due diligence was performed for this big task.

Some typical risks can include internal resistance, signoff delays, brand rollout missteps, and even consumer backlash. Clearly, marshalling the right multi-disciplinary resources (either internal or external) that have the right skills, experience, and available bandwidth to commit to the project, will be key to your success.

2. Identify and document all your corporate branded assets

You’ll need to communicate the extent of the change, and to do that, you need to understand it yourself. Did you know that it’s not uncommon for a company to have brand assets that number into the thousands? Key to budget control is accounting for them all—from the start—to enable accurate scoping. Know what you have, how many there are, how they will change, which part of your organization is responsible for each type (signage, fleet, IT systems, packaging, etc.) and then calculate the rolled-up costs for implementation.

3. Help executives connect the dots

Brand change for a large organization can be challenging for executives to wrap their arms around. By leveraging benchmarks and best practices from consultants and vendors, you can outline a high-level cost estimate and timeline.

It’s a good idea to tie specific costs to milestones of the project, such as the North American brand launch or the cost for rebranding all your digital assets. Because of the complexities of these projects and the specialized skills required to execute them well, many companies outsource brand strategy, creative development and implementation planning and execution of the rollout. (That means orchestrating the activities of multiple internal and external teams.) Be sure not to omit these costs when developing estimates for presentation to the executive team.

By engaging early on in high-level business conversations about corporate rebranding, you’ll get the support you need to deliver the full potential value of this initiative for your organization.

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