After completing 100 brand implementation plans, we’ve learned what success looks like for our clients going through a rebrand - overcoming obstacles, creating efficiencies, and celebrating impactful brand change. Regardless of the size of the organization or the degree of change they are undertaking, there are aspects of rebranding that are overlooked or underestimated – and that’s where we come in. Our goal is to create a comprehensive implementation program that brings the brand to life and drives results.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common underestimations:
When to start planning for brand implementation
Everyone knows that they need to identify an agency partner to develop the strategy and creative for a rebrand, but they don’t know how much planning goes into a successful launch and roll out. Waiting until all brand deliverables are finalized shortens the time window to plan, build and manage the brand internally and in-market. If you don’t start planning early enough, you may miss the opportunity to look at the bigger picture, anticipate audience needs and nail down the details for an efficient and effective brand delivery. That’s the value of a brand implementation plan.
The importance of building consensus
Rebranding has multiple dimensions, both rational and emotional, and internal leadership alignment will pave a strong foundation for success. Clients often underestimate the information required to bring the team along from telling the story of brand change to outlining a clear concise budget for getting it done. After years of helping our clients define exactly how they will implement brand change, we understand the importance of this step in the process.
“It’s critical to clearly define how the organization will benefit from a well-defined and executed implementation plan versus how the business could suffer if not done right. Leadership wants (and needs) to understand how this impacts the bottomline,” describes Carey Cockrum, Marketing Executive and brand veteran.Connecting the dots and demonstrating business impact is critical to selling through brand change.
It’s also important to note the challenge of navigating change and driving consensus among multiple teams and stakeholders. CreativeExecutive, Peter Leeds, adds to this point, “Leaders often underestimate their own organizational complexity and what it means for fully implementing the new brand system in a coordinated way across all lines of business, divisions, departments, employee resource groups, operational teams and initiatives, etc.”
How much the brand touches
During our planning process, we work through a touchpoint prioritization exercise, identifying everything the brand currently touches, what needs to be converted to the new brand and the level of relative priority. At this point in the journey, it can be eyeopening as to how many branded assets an organization manages - even lean digital brands - and how many people are involved, internally and externally. The prioritization process becomes critical, as not everything needs to be converted by day one. Taking a strategic approach to touchpoint conversion ensures everything is accounted for from a time, budget and resource perspective.
While most companies place emphasis on what needs to be branded by launch day, Carey Cockrum describes what’s required to support on-going brand needs, “Most organizations underestimate the discipline required to maintain a long-term brand investment, it’s not one and done. It can be easy to recognize what’s needed up front, but it goes beyond that. It takes both budget and people to support the necessary year-over-year investment to manage the investment made during implementation.”
How long it will take
When planning for how long it will take to implement a new brand, we start by understanding what you are launching (i.e., a new name and logo or a refreshed visual identity system) and what needs to be ready for day one. Clients are often overambitious about what can be converted by day one of launch, especially when timelines are tight.Rebranding can take any length of time depending on what needs to be converted and how we phase the work based on budgets and resources. The exercise of prioritizing touchpoints and planning accordingly ensures the most practical timeline for brand implementation.
How much internal teams can take on
Resourcing a rebrand can be difficult when internal teams are leading and managing the current brand while also getting the new brand ready for launch.Underestimations around resourcing can happen when it comes to internal capabilities, bandwidth, or budgets. During the planning process, we help clients take a realistic look at these aspects, helping them determine who is going to do the work and where, and how, external partners can provide support.
Going a step further, Creative Executive Peter Leeds comments, “Companies tend to underestimate the level of design sophistication and the number of specialized resources needed to activate a new brand system. Few companies have the kind of subject matter expertise required to build out a comprehensive motion graphics package, illustration repository, or even a suite of collateral with implementation guidance, but they don’t anticipate the need for all these things at the onset of rebranding.”
How much it will cost
And finally…price. The cost of implementing a new brand can be more of an unknown than an underestimation, but it can be a difficult number to arrive at given most organizations go through a rebrand every seven to ten years. When building a budget for rebranding, we answer one of two questions to eliminate surprises: 1) what do you want to accomplish? or 2) how much do you have to spend? This helps us work through trade-offs and find efficiencies to land on the most impactful outcome.
In speaking with the VicePresident of Global Sign company, he expanded on how often signage budgets are overlooked when arriving at the total cost of rebranding. “When we get to signage conversion, leaders realize that they have to go through the budgeting process to secure the funds for roll-out. They vastly underestimate what goes into the equivalent of a construction project –equipment, project management, subcontractors, permits, manufacturing and beyond – and how that will add up cost wise. It’s important for organizations to understand the realities of their signage footprint and the impact they desire to make.”
Brand implementation is critical to a successful rebrand and having experts to help remove the guesswork and avoid the pitfalls, can make all the difference. We’re eager to share what we’ve learned on our road to 100 rebrands as we keep learning, growing and closing the gap between brand identity and brand operationalization. Reach out to email@example.com to start planning today.