The three pillars of corporate rebranding: company, branding agency, and brand implementation partner

The three pillars of corporate rebranding: company, branding agency, and brand implementation partner


Tuesday, July 8, 2014 | Philip Guiliano

This article is intended for marketing and communications staff and executives who haven’t yet gone through a strategic corporate rebranding initiative. It may also be useful for those who have experienced a less-than-ideal implementation of a new brand. The three pillars of corporate rebranding represent three very distinct entities and roles in a rebranding effort. We’ll refer to them in this article as 1) Company; 2) Branding Agency; and 3) Brand Implementation Partner.

Below are short definitions of their roles:

  1. Company decides to explore brand change. A senior marketing/communications executive is assigned to drive the initiative and outsource specific roles and tasks.
  2. Company hires Branding Agency to validate brand needs, design a new brand identity (new name and/or logo), update the brand architecture, develop brand guidelines and messaging, and lead employee engagement.
  3. Company also hires a Brand Implementation Partner to collaborate with Company and Agency by generating scenarios and cost estimates for the new brand identity rollout, along with strategies and tactics to implement the rollout. This ensures that the business implications and opportunities associated with the change are optimized and well represented to the executive team before moving into detailed planning and management of the rollout.

Branding Agency Designs the Car and Brand Implementation Partner Builds It

The role of Company is clear; they have a business objective to achieve, and they assign a team to outsource specific tasks to entities #2 and #3. What’s important to understand is the difference between design and implementation. To use a new car analogy: Branding Agency designs the car, the Implementation Partner helps Branding Agency define part specifications, ensure cost-effective procurement, then the Implementation Partner builds and delivers the car to showroom floors across the country or globe with efficiency and maximum ROI. Though this description implies the process is linear, the reality is that designers and implementers work concurrently, and in partnership.

Concurrent Yet Distinct Task Management

Because Branding Agency and the Brand Implementation Partner work so closely together, in a series of parallel processes, they often have solid working partnerships and may refer each other to Company. The Implementation Partner’s early stage role is to generate and quantify scenarios about how the new brand could be launched and rolled out. These scenarios estimate the impact to the implementation budget of different approaches on time, scope, quality and cost. More often than not, discussions comparing scenarios have a significant impact on the Company’s final brand decisions.

Still with us? For many, the intersection between Branding Agency and Implementation tasks is still a bit murky. Here’s a visual to help explain their parallel yet distinct roles, where the black tasks are performed by Branding Agency, and blue tasks by the Implementation Partner (note: this is a partial list).

Scope and Assess Plan and Prepare Roll-out and Manage
Brand assessment and research Application guidelines Brand culture and engagement
Brand strategy Marketing and advertising; Launch events
Identity/logo design Corporate communications Brand tracking
Brand architecture Brand tools
Brand guidelines Websites
Brand messaging Marketing templates and production
Branded asset audits Transition strategies and project planning Project management and reporting
Scenario planning Value engineering and rationalization Manufacturing and installation supervision
Cost estimates and timing Technical specifications Process improvement and automation
Project organization Procurement strategies Branded asset management and maintenance


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 don’t require undue compression that could risk cost, quality, and the ability to capitalize on the many opportunities that these unique projects present. BrandActive is happy to speak with prospective clients about our process and commitment to world-class deliverables. We have offices in Toronto, Canada and in Boulder, Colorado; send us an email or call +1 866-478-7322 for more information.

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