In the fifteen years since BrandActive has been in the business of implementing new brands, we’ve heard our share of war stories. Most relate to clients who had an unhappy surprise, often due to a cost overrun or a timing interdependency that put a major wrinkle in their rebranding launch plans. Signage is a highly visible beacon for a new brand but it is also often the most expensive and complex element to execute in a rebranding project. Below are three practical examples of proactive strategies that can be employed to help ensure a smooth and successful signage transition.
Think Globally, Collaborate Locally
If you adopt a national or global vendor strategy, don’t hesitate to make use of resources familiar with the local landscape. What is a brand?Municipal permitting for signage, for example, is one of the longest and most variable steps in getting new signs in place. Often the ideal supplier to manage a rapid and large-scale signage transition (usually a large national vendor) is not the best party to secure permits. We often recommend using local sign installers (in addition to the rollout vendor) who understand their area’s signage permitting processes and have established relationships with local authorities. Because the signage permit approval process can vary greatly by municipality, a launch date could be missed if the local authority takes more time than anticipated to issue the permit. Once the specific permitting parameters are understood, informed decisions can be made about how to best approach installation scheduling to meet timing milestones. For example significant time can be saved by overlapping manufacturing and the permit application process.
Wouldn’t it be great if a brand change created operational benefits? Highly visible and impressive signs create high impact for a new brand, while burned out signs leave a negative brand impression. Facilities managers and chief branding officers can both win by thinking carefully about materials and specifications when rebranding. Specifying LED lighting is one opportunity that can greatly reduce power consumption (80% versus neon lights) and increase reliability (typical lifespan of 6+ years 24/7). LEDs have proven so successful that often during a signage rollout we encourage our clients to consider additional LED retrofits. We can calculate the return on investment (ROI) for an LED retrofit (e.g., parking lot lights) and have found that payback time is typically less than two years.
Think Outside The Box
When one of our environmentally conscious clients acquired an organization and wanted to put a new sign at the main site entrance of their headquarters building, they found that there was no power at the location to illuminate the sign. A costly solution would have been to tear up the lawn to bring power lines to the sign but instead, we recommended a solar powered lighting system. This strategy reduced installation costs significantly, and by including messaging that the sign was powered by solar energy, our client had an authentic opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to their environmental principles.
To Learn More
BrandActive is strongly committed to sharing best practices with existing and future clients that are planning or overseeing a rebranding program. To learn more, check out our blog, or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.
About the Author
This article was authored by Matthew Reece, Director of Brand Application at BrandActive.