We all know about Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will.” In the course of many rebrandings, we’ve uncovered a few examples. In one case, just before the grand opening of a new location—at which a new sign was to be unveiled at just the right moment—the sign vendor shipped the wrong sign cover.
Talk about a sinking feeling. Our client recovered from the near disaster owing to some fast thinking and action—turning the sign cover inside out and putting a decal on it from a local vendor. Not ideal, but it worked, and it looked professional. And it could be done overnight to be ready for the big reveal in the morning.
But of course the mix-up shouldn’t have happened. During a rebranding rollout, a company has to be ready for anything—and have a backup plan for every likely disaster. The bigger lesson, though, is that you have to close out every rebranding by identifying what went wrong and establishing best practices for the next time around.
Many companies approach rebranding implementation as a one-time operation. But there are lessons from rebranding projects that can be integrated into the ongoing branding processes of a company that can improve ongoing brand management and safeguard brand consistency for the long term. Furthermore, companies expand, merge with others, and acquire firms as they grow, so a brand rollout often becomes a repeated effort.
By documenting the process, companies can make sure they don’t get caught reciting Murphy’s Law. The value of a repeatable process is in its reliability, which lowers risk and cost. It also boosts quality and people’s confidence. The key is to take the time at the end of a brand rollout to capture knowledge and complete what BrandActive calls “Close & Maintain”—the fourth phase in our brand implementation methodology.
As a rollout winds down, the first step in Close & Maintain is to audit the work. That may mean undertaking a business version of “Where’s Waldo.” Rebranding team members hunt for remnants of the old brand, checking everything from signs and stationery to wall colors and furniture styles. Consistency is everything.
The next step is compiling all the lessons learned. Just why did the vendor ship the wrong sign cover to the wrong place? BrandActive helps companies compile lessons in a work-team meeting at the end of each project. What went well? What went wrong? What could have gone better? Who should we tell? What should we do differently?
BrandActive captures all this intelligence in tools, templates and databases that clients can use to inform future projects. We also work with clients to produce a playbook for them that documents the repeatable processes that can be used to improve ongoing brand management. If a company just wants to rebrand a single vehicle, it then knows the team to contact, the vendors to work with, the specifications to put in an RFP, the process to follow, and so on.
BrandActive has worked with clients including Allegiance Health and Siemens in this way. What we leave behind is not just a final report, but a guide to the decision-making and logistics management for a new round of rebranding. The materials include schedules and budgets, communications and risk-management plans, asset lists and organizational charts, audit reports and process flow maps, guidelines, standards, and technical specifications.