PART FOUR IN OUR SERIES ON BRANDING DURING M&A
In part one we looked at Five Rebrand Strategies. In part two we dived into the Creative Process of developing a new brand.
Part three covered Brand Engineering – a detailed look at the four key steps in preparing for your brand rollout.
Now we’re ready to jump into the brand implementation programme itself.
The real-world work starts here – it’s time to roll up your sleeves and plan, manufacture and deliver your branding.
The preparation is complete and you are now equipped with:
Ready? Let’s look at the four key steps:
STEP 1 – BRAND AUDIT
Ideally you will have already scoped the extent and nature of your brand touchpoints in the Brand Engineering phase, by identifying your main sites and key brand touchpoints. Extrapolating this early indicative data can give you a reasonable handle on what to expect but the implementation phase does not lend itself to assumptions or vagaries.
Your brand implementation plan must be data driven and based on FACT. Be absolutely precise and pinpoint each item as part of your Brand Audit.
SIX QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING A BRAND AUDIT
WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED?
For larger organisations or global companies, the extent of the rebrand can be overwhelming.
Break the task down and share ownership by setting up your Rebrand team early – nominated representatives from each workstream – IT, HR, Legal, Marketing etc. – will help to ensure that you have every aspect of your business covered. I’ll talk more about engagement later but if you are dealing with a merger or acquisition, this exercise can provide the opportunity for team bonding and the cross-fertilisation of ideas.
A rebrand specialist company can assist with templates to help get your team up and running as quickly as possible and to ensure that the data is captured efficiently.
Your approach to data gathering will depend on the nature of your assets and budget available. Remember that technology can be a huge enabler and can automate the process to an extent, using self-survey tools and AI to capture, scan and interpret data.
Your workstream experts can identify and capture a lot of data remotely, by tapping into the knowledge of their on-the-ground teams.
Armed with the right questionnaires and templates, they can feedback all the information cost-effectively and with minimum disruption to daily operations.
Photographing assets has never been so easy – every employee with a smart phone can take snapshots of your branded items and upload them quickly and easily to your server.
An on-site survey will return the best results in terms of the level of detail and accuracy.
The downside is cost as it is clearly more expensive to physically send a person out – from the point of view of time, travel and accommodation costs.
However, this more intensive approach is recommended for flagship sites or where there is no team available on the ground.
Think ahead – can you also conduct a detailed site survey at the same time, to avoid the need for a repeat visit?
'A rebrand specialist company can assist with templates to help get your team up and running as quickly as possible and to ensure that the data is captured efficiently.'
BRAND ASSET DATABASE
For many, the brand audit is the first time that all this information has been funnelled into a single location.
This visual and detailed snapshot of all your branded touchpoints represents the entirety of your brand landscape and its value should not be underestimated:
BUDGET AND COST MANAGEMENT
The findings of the brand audit will allow you to accurately set your budgets and also help you to decide if you are to replace, revitalise or even divest certain items.
A central budget will be required for the programme management and you will need to take into account regional cost variations.
Budget management for a global rebrand can be handled in many ways but it pays to be clear from the outset about who is paying for what.
There are three main approaches:
Generally we find that the second model works best.
In addition to the objective of minimising implementation costs, you must also remember (and remind stakeholders) that your rebrand investment is also helping to add value to your brand. Organisations such as Brand Finance can help to measure the positive impact of a rebrand and in this article, our then Brand Implementation Director answers the question, “How does brand implementation impact on the bottom line?”
'The findings of the brand audit will allow you to accurately set your budgets and also help you to decide if you are to replace, revitalise or even divest certain items.'
STEP 2 – BRAND IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY
Now that you know WHAT needs to be rebranded, it’s time to consider the sequence of your rebrand activity.
Detailed analysis of your brand landscape will provide a clear indication which brand implementation strategy is best for you. Armed with these insights, you can decide:
Often it is helpful to introduce your new brand internally before you launch it to customers. This improves engagement and allows employees to become familiar with your new brand.
COMMUNICATION PLANNING FOR A REBRAND
A carefully considered communications plan must be created for both internal and external stakeholders. The order of play is important.
Beyond the operational team who are working on the rebrand, internal engagement can make or break your rebrand. For rebrand success, it’s vital to get all your employees onboard, understanding why you are rebranding, what your new brand purpose is and exactly what the benefits are to them, to the wider company and to your customers.
Winning hearts and minds at every level is key. This is best achieved when it’s both bottom-up and top-down.
A rebrand is a strategic initiative – usually taken at Board level. Appointing high-level Brand Ambassadors who take responsiblity for their area of the business will have a hugely positive impact on your rollout.
A rebrand is not an everyday kind of activity. For this reason, your leadership team should be encouraged to make the most of the opportunity to create excitement and vision for the future.
'Often it is helpful to introduce your new brand internally before you launch it to customers. This improves engagement and allows employees to become familiar with your new brand.'
CREATING A SENSE OF UNITY
We’ve already established that it’s vital to draw upon the network of your on-the-ground teams from an operational point of view.
They possess the specific knowledge of their area of the business to help you to both identify and then deliver your branding across your entire organisation.
Cross-functional and cross-border communication will help to smooth the rollout and promote a sense of unity.
EXTERNAL LAUNCH PLAN
A detailed communications plan for all external stakeholders is also vital – regulatory bodies, customers, suppliers, membership organisations. Consider:
To ensure consistency of your brand and quality control over your suppliers, you must have a single pivot point.
Programme management is a science- there’s good reason for there being so many tried and tested project management methodologies – from Waterfall to Agile to Critical Path.
The complexity of managing a global branding programme – suppliers, permits, materials, installers – is not to be underestimated.
A professional Project Management team will be the driving force for your rebrand and external resource can be a useful boost here.
Globalisation has made the world smaller and we all inhabit a much more international community.
Occasionally it’s possible to use a single supplier who ships items across the world and dispatches a team of installers to different locations.
Aside from the obvious cost, we find that local works best and we generally call upon the members of our international network to fulfill regional requirements.
THE ADVANTAGES OF A LOCAL ON-THE-GROUND TEAM:
'A professional Project Management team will be the driving force for your rebrand and external resource can be a useful boost here.'
STAGE 4 – MONITORING AND TRACKING
One of the key roles of your Project Management team will be tracking progress and reporting back.
There are many off-the-shelf software options for this, such as Workfront, Asana or monday.com, and these can usually be customised to suit your exact needs. For larger programmes, you may want to consider a bespoke system. Keep the long-term in mind – you are building up a powerful picture of your business that will set you in good stead for future developments.
HOW TO MEASURE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR REBRAND IMPLEMENTATION?
It’s important to monitor your metrics so that you can recognise success:
When it comes to measuring the wider success of your rebrand programme, think about:
TELL YOUR REBRAND STORY
If you are dealing with a global rebrand that is not confidential, the reporting can easily be used as part of your marketing efforts. A powerful social media campaign could be a demonstration of the Mexican wave that your rebrand has created across the globe.
Be sure to capture photos and video and so that you can successfully tell your brand story.
Statistics are also useful in marketing terms. Track key metrics such as:
ASSET MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
One of the greatest legacies of a rebrand is often a Digital Asset Management (DAM). This is the perfect opportunity to bring all your branded items into a single system where they can be managed.
If you already have a DAM, then it’s a great opportunity to do some housekeeping and tidying.
Any data should be carefully stored and can be used for future planning or brand updates.
TOP FIVE TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL BRAND IMPLEMENTATION
In part 5, we examine Brand Governance, taking a detailed look at the three key steps in protecting your brand throughout the merger and acquisition process.
FIND OUT MORE
Our team of rebrand specialists is on hand to help with your rebrand, from strategy through to implementation. Contact us for an initial no-obligation chat.
In merger and acquisition situations, there is a union of different organisations with distinct brands. It’s vital that brand is considered early in the integration process. This will help to speed and smooth the acquisition process, protecting the value of your investment.