Delegate or retain control? Decide how to manage your brand change before it starts

Delegate or retain control? Decide how to manage your brand change before it starts


Patrick Heath

If you’re on the brink of a rebranding or reconfiguring your brand and marketing operations, there’s a key question you need to consider early in the planning process: How much control will the marketing team maintain during implementation?

Some marketing leaders keep a close eye on every element of rolling out a new brand. They require anyone who converts or creates branded assets to obtain approval from the marketing team. Or they might provide significant and detailed pre-approved templates for employees and vendors to use.

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Others take a more hands-off approach. They may offer high-level guidelines or limited templates for business units and teams to refer to. But in general, employees should interpret and carry out the brand rules according to their best judgment.

Neither approach is wrong, and most organizations land somewhere between these two extremes. But in our experience, the problem is this: Many marketing leaders don’t think about the issue of brand control early enough in the brand conversion process. Then, when inevitable problems arise, they need to scramble to determine the best way to tackle brand governance.

Early proactive planning can prevent chaos and confusion down the road. So, what approach to brand control should you take?

The pros and cons of a tightly controlled approach to rebrand implementation

You may be tempted to keep brand change strictly within the marketing team because:

  • It’s the best way to ensure high levels of brand adherence and consistency.
  • You’re still developing the broader brand guidelines and want to be able to think carefully about how the brand should be applied in specific circumstances.
  • You’re worried that lapses in consistency or quality will affect brand adoption.

However, despite these benefits, a purely centralized philosophy can be quite difficult to live out. Therefore, it’s important to weigh in the drawbacks:

  • It can take longer to implement your rebrand due to the bottlenecks inherently built into the approval process.
  • Your team may struggle to manage all the details themselves, especially if they’re juggling other marketing-related priorities and tasks.
  • Employees often bristle against locked-down branded templates that limit their ability to apply your brand in their daily work, and they might just move ahead anyway without your support.

You may decide the benefits of maintaining control outweigh the drawbacks. If so, you’ll need to clearly define the brand guidelines and approval processes you expect employees to follow long before implementation begins.

The risks and rewards of a decentralized approach to rebrand implementation

Large, complex organizations usually can’t control every aspect of brand change — even if they’d like to. There are simply too many branded assets to convert. So if your rebrand spans many locations, regions, or even nations, you’ll undoubtedly need to recruit and empower workgroup leads to manage the ins and outs of implementation.

Your brand belongs to your entire organization. There’s a strong case for making rebrand implementation part of everyone’s job.

There are several challenges inherent to a decentralized implementation strategy:

  • Brand consistency can take a hit if employees don’t understand (or don’t follow) your brand guidelines.
  • If you don’t have a comprehensive branded asset inventory for each business unit and location, it’s easy to overlook details and end up with gaps in your guidelines and templates.
  • A lack of visibility into the process may cause you to miss opportunities to rationalize and reduce the number of assets your organization converts.

The good news is that a decentralized brand management strategy doesn’t have to be the opposite of a centralized approach. If you think it through early (and, ideally, engage an implementation partner to help you put a smart plan in place), you can achieve the consistency and quality your new brand deserves.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to:

  • Spread out the burden of rebrand implementation and make it more manageable for everyone involved.
  • Speed up your time to market by harnessing your entire team toward a common goal.
  • Foster deeper employee engagement and encourage internal stakeholders to become ambassadors of your rebrand.

The brand and marketing team isn’t the sole owner of the brand; It belongs to your entire organization. Therefore, there’s a strong case to be made for making rebrand implementation part of everyone’s job.

BrandActive can support you no matter how you approach your rebrand implementation

At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that you’ll take a purely binary approach to the way you implement and manage brand change. The most important thing is to consider your overarching goals and make sure you’re putting a thoughtful plan in place at the outset of your rebrand.

BrandActive can help you get the results you’re after by:

  • Defining roles and responsibilities so employees know exactly what they’re responsible for and where to turn for help and approvals.
  • Generating flexible digital templates that empower employees to apply your brand quickly and easily to documents and commonly used collateral.
  • Developing a brand asset management book that provides employees and vendors with the exact specifications they’ll need to apply your brand to every asset type (e.g. fleet vehicles, signs, workwear, and more).
  • Gathering a thorough inventory of branded assets so your team knows what needs to be converted organization-wide
  • Evaluating and selecting vendors whom you can trust to produce a consistent result every time.
  • Training employees on how to interpret and apply brand guidelines in a variety of situations.
  • Setting up a help desk to answer employee questions and concerns in a timely manner.
  • Establishing clear, repeatable processes for employees throughout the organization to follow.

Above all, BrandActive will help you seize every implementation-related opportunity that will maximize your rebrand’s business impact. So why go at it alone? Let’s talk.