Marketing and communications staff and executives often find a corporate rebranding initiative daunting. That holds true for both those who have experienced the complexities of rebrand implementation before, and those who contribute to a strategic rebranding for the first time. And it’s no wonder: These initiatives require a unique blend of strategic, analytical, and tactical skills. They cost a lot of money. They’re very high profile. Succeed, and everyone will know. Fail, and the same will hold true.
Like many business challenges, the best outcomes result from assembling the right team—one with the right balance of talents, skills, and experience. The entities involved in large scale, successful brand change are:
• The company who is rebranding,
• The branding agency delivering the strategy and creative, and
• The rebrand implementation partner doing financial analysis and logistics.
Brand change: stages and players
|Stage||Key players and their role|
|Stage 1 | Explore brand change||Your company decides to explore brand change. A senior executive in marketing or communications is assigned to own this initiative and find partners to work with on this task.|
|Stage 2 | Hire a branding agency||Your company hires a branding agency. They do the research, develop a strategy, design a new brand identity, and create new brand guidelines. They may also update brand architecture and messaging and lead the employee engagement part of the process.|
|Stage 3 | Hire rebrand implementation partner||Your company hires a rebrand implementation partner. First, they identify the scope of the conversion across all branded asset implications. Then, they collaborate with your company and the branding agency to help you create various launch and completion scenarios and cost estimates. Next, the rebrand implementation partners defines the strategies and tactics to ensure the rollout is on time and on budget. Finally, they provide hands-on assistance to fill in any gaps at the organization. In the end, they make sure that your brand change is realized in the market.|
Note: Stages 2 and 3 often seem distinctly different and may be seen as linear, with one following after the other. However, these steps are best addressed in unison, with the branding agency and rebrand implementation partner working together in sync, in order to take advantage of opportunities that save money and create greater impact.
Branding agency designs the car; and rebrand implementation partner builds it
You may be curious about what exactly is the difference between the brand design services provided by an agency and a rebrand implementation consultancy. A new car analogy provides an easy way to differentiate the two. The branding agency you hire designs the new car (your new brand strategy and logo). The rebrand implementation partner helps define part specifications, ensures cost-effective procurement and delivers the new car to showroom floors across the country or globe, maximizing ROI, costs and efficiency every step of the way.
Cars are not designed without the production costs, market impact, powertrain, and feature set in mind from the start. Much the same, designing a brand and setting the stage for rebrand implementation are not linear processes. The brand designers and implementers work together in partnership to achieve one goal: to deliver your new brand.
Creating a symphony of brand change
It is not uncommon for the branding agency and the rebrand implementation partner to refer each other to companies who are looking to orchestrate effective, efficient rebranding work. The branding agency provides creative and strategic guidance to define the brand. The rebrand implementation partner’s early role in a brand change is to scope the rebrand implementation work, including scenarios that play with the variables of level of brand change, costs, time, quality and many other factors. These scenarios are pivotal in rebrand decisions as they can have a significant impact on budget and costs. The earlier in the process the rebrand implementation partner does its work, the better for all of the parties involved. Here’s why: addressing scenario planning early on will reveal the financial resources required for effective brand change and provide the brand agency and the company with options as well as with the facts and figures they need to secure the full budget allocation needed.
Empowering executives to control the rebrand process
Many executives have too much on their plate to properly manage a rebrand without expert help. They find themselves stretched thin between day-to-day responsibilities and the large undertaking of brand change. Ideally, the company executive and their team should be well-informed to make the big decisions that keep the project headed towards the ultimate goal. If they find themselves gathering data and driving every detail, the project may be going off key.
The rebranding implementation partner knows how to organize and manage rebranding initiatives. Its implementation strategy, financial analysis and subject matter consultants empower company executives to understand all the options and associated costs. That enables fiscally responsible decision making. As the project progresses, the rebranding partner provides insights, structure, and transparency as well as proven processes, vendors, and organizational approaches to enable centralized management even with decentralized execution. This rigor delivers cost control and brand quality to achieve the intended branded asset change on-time and on-budget.
The rebrand implementation partner alleviates the stress of integrating with operational areas, and makes sure that brand conversion on assets ranging from fleet vehicles to local office signage moves forward without missing a beat. Localized company resources appreciate a well-managed process with clear direction, no frivolous overlapping meetings, and not being asked to make decisions that are outside of their specific expertise.
Realize the value of your company’s brand change
The rebrand implementation partner makes it possible for all the investment in brand development to deliver the value intended by the company. The partner makes sure all practical, logistical, and legal issues are addressed when creating and producing final branded assets. The rebrand partner also tracks and ensures proper approvals, develop budgets and monitors spending. As a result, the company won’t find itself battling legacy logos for years to come or worse still, running out of money before the rebranding is implemented.
In the end, proper rebrand implementation is seamless and integrated. The company executive is able to ensure that the business intent of the brand is brought to fruition.
Responsibilities of Branding Agency and Rebrand Implementation Partner
|Rebrand Implementation Partner||Branding Agency|
|Audit and Strategy|
|Plan and Produce|
|Rollout and Manage|
As you can see, the collaboration and effort required for a successful corporate rebranding initiative is rather significant. In an ideal world, each of these three stages is planned well in advance so that schedules and work requirements don’t force undue compression at the expense of risk cost, quality, and the ability to capitalize on the many opportunities that these unique projects present. But in the event of an M&A or other business event, having the right partners in place can help you achieve an on time, on budget, and on strategy rebranding, even when facing an aggressive timetable for brand change.