How to smoothly manage all the moving parts of a logistics company rebrand

How to smoothly manage all the moving parts of a logistics company rebrand

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Tuesday, March 2, 2021 | Philip Guiliano

Logistics companies are in the business of managing an incredibly high volume of moving parts and complex details. It’s how they can reliably deliver products, services, and information on time. So, it stands to reason that a rebrand — which counts as a daunting logistical challenge in its own right — could fall in their sweet spot.

Not quite.

Even for a logistics company like yours, rebrands are never “business as usual” – there’s often no playbook in place. Add to that the fact that you’ll likely face an array of industry-specific obstacles, and you can see that rebranding presents an altogether different sort of logistical challenge – one you are not used to solving everyday.

Before you start planning your next acquisition or brand transition, take a moment to learn how to navigate the biggest stumbling blocks of a logistics rebrand — and maximize the opportunities that come along with it.

The key challenges of rebranding your logistics company

In order to smoothly transition your logistics company to a new brand, you’ll need to consider each of the following challenges.

  • Budgeting properly. Keep in mind that there’s more than one way to approach any rebrand. Which means your rebranding budget isn’t set in stone. It’s necessarily tied to your rebranding strategy, including how quickly you want to launch and how extensively you plan to rebrand. To find the right-fit budget for your project, start with scenario planning. Once that’s set, mapping out the right budget for your rebrand is a distinct challenge in its own right. The sheer number of branded assets that will need to be transitioned (and associated vendors in different regions) can make determining costs difficult.
  • Tons of assets. From shipping crates, fleet, and heavy equipment all the way down to containers, tape, and uniforms, logistics companies own a cornucopia of branded assets. And some of them, like ships and airplanes, may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each to rebrand. In order to create an optimized, cost-effective rebranding plan, you’ll need to think carefully about your strategy for each asset. How thoroughly and quickly do you want to rebrand each asset type? For example, if 60% of your fleet represents 95% of your brand’s exposure, it probably makes sense to put the remaining 40% of your fleet on the back burner. Decisions like these don’t just simplify your rebrand. They can also save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run.
  • Organizational structure. Many logistics companies — especially those with global reach — are decentralized. This type of organizational structure may be ideal for managing your company’s day-to-day operations, but it won’t do you any favors when it comes to rebranding. The key to overcoming this obstacle is clear: You need a strong, centralized project structure. Without it, you’re much more likely to see issues with how your brand is implemented.
  • Global complexities. Global rebrands are complicated, especially if a legal name change is part of the plan. From regulatory concerns to legal issues and geographic challenges, if your rebrand is global, it just got a whole lot more complicated. You’ll need to consider third-party partnerships, permitting, translations for printed matter, and regulatory requirements, among other things. To get ahead of the curve, loop in your legal and regulatory teams from the get-go. At the same time, make sure your international counterparts are dialed in to your master rebranding plan – as early as possible.
  • Navigating partnerships. Few logistics companies go it alone when it comes to delivering their services. More commonly, they rely on external partnerships and even leased assets. For example, a logistics company may only own 50% of its vehicle fleet. The other 50% may be composed of small, contracted trucking companies. Or they may be leased and/or contracted assets that may or may not carry the organization’s brand. But when they do, planning to transition those assets can be much more complicated. Identify any and all leased or contracted assets at the start of your planning process — and create on a separate plan to transition them.
  • Operational issues. A poorly planned rebrand can seriously disrupt your organization’s operations — something no logistics company can afford. The answer to this potential problem lies in how you time your rebrand. Make sure to leverage your existing operational cycles to keep your business running smoothly (and reduce rebranding costs while you’re at it). For example, rather than pulling individual vehicles out of commission just to rewrap them, you should rebrand your fleet according to each vehicle’s existing maintenance schedule.
  • Proper timing. With so much to manage, rebranding a logistics company takes serious time (think years, not months). But take too long — anything more than three years — and you risk frustrating your stakeholders and diluting your new brand. To avoid that outcome, you’ll need to create a detailed and structured rebranding plan, complete with internal deadlines and regular checkpoints to monitor progress.

The bright side of rebrand implementation: new opportunities to strengthen your brand (and business)

Rebranding doesn’t just serve up challenges. It also offers your logistics company fresh opportunities to build your brand, streamline your operations, and strengthen your business. Specifically, you can use rebranding as an avenue to:

  • Create relevance for your brand. With the exception of a few B2C giants, the logistics industry has largely prioritized other parts of their business over branding. But with the continued rise of ecommerce and globalization, “brand” is sure to become more and more relevant in the logistics space moving forward. A well-structured, comprehensive rebrand is your chance to display your brand impactfully and consistently.
  • Consolidate your brand architecture. Logistics companies commonly pursue inorganic growth strategies – often through M&A. As a result, they can wind up with splintered brand architectures. A rebrand is a unique opportunity to “clean house” by consolidating your brand architecture. Doing so will streamline your operations, reduce costs, and more clearly express your brand’s value. Try not to let it go to waste.
  • Streamline marketing operations. In order to execute a rebrand, you’ll need to evaluate every marketing asset you produce. Which means it’s also the ideal time to streamline your marketing operations by clarifying roles and establishing standardized, repeatable processes. As you do so, be sure to consider each of the four pillars of operational brand governance: people, process, training, and technology.
  • Increase employee engagement. Logistics professionals tend to have a lot of pride for the brands they serve. But if your brand is fragmented or ill-defined, your teams may not operate as a cohesive unit. A rebrand is your chance to underscore your brand’s mission and value to your internal team. Your rebrand can usher in a new era of employee engagement, brand loyalty and stewardship.

Rebranding is never simple. But for logistics companies, extra complexity is the name of the game. Thankfully, with a smart plan and a clear understanding of the most common pitfalls, you can deliver your new brand on-time, on-budget.

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