Centrally located: rebranding a decentralized organization with a centralized project structure

Centrally located: rebranding a decentralized organization with a centralized project structure

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Monday, January 6, 2020 | Adrea Fink

The process of transitioning a company from one brand to another may look straightforward from the outside. But take a look behind the scenes. You’ll find an exceptionally high level of internal coordination and collaboration behind any successful rebrand.

That sort of seamless orchestration is difficult for any company to pull off, regardless of its size and structure. But for large, decentralized organizations, the challenge is far greater. The only way for decentralized organizations to ensure a smooth and efficient rebrand is to adopt a centralized management structure for the project to guide rebrand planning and execution.

Why decentralized organizations need a centralized rebranding project management structure

When it comes to managing day-to-day business operations, a decentralized structure makes sense for many companies. But rebrands aren’t business as usual. They demand a clearly articulated, unified plan that leaves little room for interpretation. It’s not that decentralized organizations don’t have the wherewithal to create such a plan. It’s that they don’t have a pre-existing, centralized structure to plug into as they navigate this out-of-the-ordinary process. Rebrand implementation requires people from Marketing, Legal, HR, IT, Product Development, Facilities, and others across divisions and geographies to work together.

Without a strong, centralized rebranding project structure to guide them, decentralized organizations effectively leave individual work groups to fend for themselves. As each group individually implements various elements of the rebrand, they inevitably interpret the mandate in slightly different ways. This results in a subpar brand experience—one marred by inconsistency and uneven quality of execution.

But that’s not all. Decentralized organizations that rebrand without a centralized project structure in place also miss a major opportunity to identify and implement operational efficiencies as they go. That’s because a centralized rebranding project structure creates a framework for cross-functional communication. This communication allows teams to gain a bird’s eye view of the processes across silos. That gives the perspective necessary to find the most efficient path forward for the rebrand — and beyond. For example, marketing and HR might discover that there’s an overlap in their vendors’ services or capabilities and find opportunities to rationalize their collective vendor portfolio. And marketing teams from different divisions or regions may find ways to reduce the number of collateral pieces they each produce.

The free-flowing internal communication fostered by a centralized rebranding project structure also keeps important details from falling through the cracks. When individual teams take a heads-down approach to managing rebrand tasks in their own separate fiefdoms, they are more likely to forget certain details. Frequent communication between teams over the course of the rebrand ensures that all details are accounted for.

Finally, creating a centralized control function for rebrand planning and execution allows organizations to minimize the impact on regional and local resources. The heavy lifting of decisions about how to transition the brand and express it consistently can happen at the centralized level rather than falling to decentralized work groups. This allows organizations to leverage local teams in customizing the rebrand plans for their own work or region while still staying in line with the bigger picture.

When it comes down to it, a centralized rebranding project structure is all about creating internal alignment, understanding dependencies, setting clear expectations, and identifying roles and responsibilities. It makes for a happier, more efficient, and more productive team. And a more effective rebrand, too.

The BrandActive process: Structure and support for a centralized rebrand

When BrandActive partners with decentralized organizations, we provide the framework for the centralized rebranding project structure and lead our clients in creating and executing their rebrand. Our process includes the following:

1. Assemble the right team. The first step is to assemble the right team that is prepared to take centralized control of the rebrand. We always begin with an executive sponsor from within our client’s organization to ensure executive buy-in on the rebrand process. Next, we assemble a core team of two or three individuals, usually from the marketing or corporate communications function, who can commit to championing the rebrand and working with us to set strategic goals.

2. Audit assets. After we assemble our core brand team, we turn our attention to a comprehensive audit of branded assets. To ensure we have a complete list of all branded assets, we identify workgroup leads for each asset area. For example, a fleet manager might oversee the rebranding of a fleet of vehicles, while a facilities manager might oversee the transition of signage. We work with these workgroup team members to build out detailed asset inventories. This data allows us to refine cost estimates, plan asset transitions and identify any adjustments or refinements to the high-level plans and assumptions.

3. Conduct an interdependencies workshop. Once individual asset leads are identified, it’s time for our interdependencies workshop. The workshop brings together the core brand team and asset representatives who have identified the branded assets for transition. During the workshop, the teams align around roles and responsibilities and identify gaps and overlaps. By identifying relationships and interdependencies between assets, we can chart all the instances in which branded asset representatives must consult with each other to ensure that those interdependencies are accounted for. Coming out of this workshop, we prepare a high-level responsibility assignment matrix for asset ownership. In addition, we begin to identify opportunities to gain efficiencies in the process.

4. Host a biweekly workgroup leads meeting. As we begin implementing the rebrand, we host “workgroup leads” meetings on a regular cadence. This meeting allows the full team to share progress on individual work and update each other on interdependencies to make sure that no details are overlooked along the way.

By centralizing a rebranding project structure for our decentralized clients, we lead the way in executing optimized rebrands that are efficient and consistent. The result is an internally aligned team and a process that works together to give customers a clear and unified understanding of your new brand.

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