Welcome back to part three of our M&A branding series. Previously, we explored rebranding strategies and delved into the creative process. Today, we’ll explore the often-neglected yet crucial stage of any rebrand: implementation. This is where the magic happens – transforming stunning visual guidelines into a consistent, cost-effective reality across all touchpoints.
Executing a successful brand refresh extends beyond captivating visuals and impactful messaging. It requires meticulous planning and an intricate understanding of how to translate design brilliance into consistent, cost-effective execution across all touchpoints. This is where brand engineering shines. It meticulously bridges the strategic design vision with the operational realities of flawless brand implementation, ensuring every element adheres to your brand identity with remarkable precision and unwavering consistency. Ready to transform your brand guidelines into a working, breathing brand?
Brand engineering bridges the gap between strategic design vision and operational realities of brand implementation, ensuring every element adheres to your brand identity with precision and consistency.
Your design agency will have handed over a comprehensive set of brand guidelines. The clue is in the name – they are there to guide you in implementing your brand consistently. But with the best will in the world, they cannot cover every scenario and detail.
We all know that it’s important to plan. No doubt you will have already scoped various scenarios and may be working already with a brand implementation partner who has provided a full audit of your brand touchpoints.
Equipped with these insights, it’s now time to expand on the guidelines and flesh out the rules and solutions in detail. Take signage as an example.
Consider how your design is specifically applied to a multitude of different real-life signage requirements. What is the signage hierarchy and what is the purpose – wayfinding or standalone? Pylon, monument or fascia, illuminated or backlit?
This is where it really pays to work with specialists who know the product field, but who also how to deliver solutions that will maintain your design integrity.
Developing your design and showing how it will be applied in the real world will be an ongoing feature of your rebrand. The way you capture the developments and nuances is also key and forms part of your brand governance strategy. But that’s a whole other topic for another time!
Once you have a full picture of what is required in each area, you can start to add all the finer details. The more detailed on the following points you can be, the better:
Let’s now consider colour. There are nearly 2,000 Pantone colour references. Your design guidelines will be very specific about which colour to use, most often in 2D print. But it’s a whole different story when you have to achieve the exact colour match in your retail store, car dealership or workplace – be it graphics, tiling, wallpaper or paint.
Of course, product knowledge is important but what probably counts most is experience. What works on paper does not always translate in reality. Tried and tested solutions are worth their weight in gold.
'Protect your design integrity - the more detail you can specify, the greater your chance of achieving your brand vision.'
Designers, architects, interior designers, and specifiers can all contribute to detailing and specifying the right materials and in the right quantities.
They understand how different materials work and which finishes or lighting solutions will give you the best result.
Remember to reach out to suppliers too – their technical teams are always happy to advise on the best solution. Be aware that their advice will be restricted to their specific product range.
To save doing the rounds with multiple suppliers in an attempt to find the best solution, consider using an independent adviser who has experience across the board.
Brand implementation companies undertake this exact task day in and day out – tap into their experience and product knowledge.
Designers, architects, interior designers and specifiers can all contribute to detailing and specifying the right materials and in the right quantities across a brand implementation project.
“We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” I don’t think anyone reading this blog would disagree with this statement. There is more information, more choices, more sources of information than ever before and it’s more readily available than ever.
In Step 2, you have honed down the many and often overwhelming number of choices available – to convert this ‘information’ into knowledge that can be shared with your team, it’s time to document and then test drive the solutions. Many people will be involved in your rebrand – to keep them aligned and delivering against your specific objectives, it’s vital to pass on and share your knowledge.
The better the brief to all involved, including suppliers, the better the outcome. Leave no room for doubt – robust documentation results in consistent branding and eliminates the risk of costly mistakes or going over budget.
Create a comprehensive set of instructions that covers:
Particularly for larger branding programmes and the branding of physical environments or experiences, a pilot scheme will identify potential issues and pre-empt issues.
Often larger organisations have their own ‘dark’ sites where design concepts are tested, sometimes with customers.
This is your chance to try out options – experiment with different finishes, formats, lighting, layouts, materials and colours.
A pilot also provides the ideal opportunity to engage with key stakeholders. Chief Executives love to be involved at this stage and express their opinion. Getting them on your side at this stage will smooth the way for the next step in your rebrand journey – your national or international rollout programme.
'The better the brief to all involved, including suppliers, the better the outcome. Leave no room for doubt – robust documentation results in consistent branding and eliminates the risk of costly mistakes or going over budget.'
Your prototype site has turned your information into valuable knowledge – you know what works where. Now it’s time to share this knowledge with those who can deliver your solutions.
Armed with your guidelines and documentation, it’s time to create your ‘tender pack’ so that you can brief the best suppliers. Remove any room for interpretation – provide as much information as possible including visualised design concepts, graphic schedules, profile packages and architectural placement plans and elevations.
The process of finding, qualifying and appointing suppliers can be time-consuming. Don’t underestimate the time needed to prequalify, brief, evaluate, shortlist, listen to presentations, visit sites, select, negotiate and finally appoint suppliers.
You may want to involve your procurement team and, of course, require input from the legal team.