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?

Step 1: From Guidelines to Detailed Solutions

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!

Step 2: Details & Specifications

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:

  • Specific design application: Ensures every element translates flawlessly into real-world contexts, protecting your brand vision from dilution.
  • More accurate costing: Minimises budget surprises and maximises return on investment.
  • Find the best supplier: Guarantees optimal quality, compatibility, and performance for your brand expression.

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.

Step 3: Documentation & Prototyping

“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:

  • Quantities: Guarantees accurate ordering and avoids material waste.
  • Technical drawings and architectural plans: Ensure precise construction and alignment with brand vision.
  • Detailed artworking: Delivers brand assets in the correct format and size for every application.
  • Materials specification: Specifies exact characteristics for consistent brand expression.
  • Workstreams: Defines timelines and tasks for efficient implementation.


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.

  • Experiment with formats and layouts: Ensures an optimal customer experience and engagement.
  • Test the customer journey: Identify touchpoint friction and enhance brand interaction.
  • Add the product: Integrate branding seamlessly into product offerings.
  • Trial different product solutions: Choose the highest-performing and brand-aligned options.

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.'

Stage 4: Tendering

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.


Let’s start with Brand purpose.

  1. A brand must deliver a product, which achieves business goals and benefits society as a whole. In this new era, customers, investors and executives know that a brand must have purpose. It must have a reason for being beyond making money.
  1. Brand purpose can help build better relationships between a brand and its consumer and investors. Understanding your brand purpose is a key part of our strategic immersion services and developing it through brand communications is fundamental to your future success.
  2. A unique brand purpose can differentiate your brand from competitors. It’s part of everything you do, so will be woven into your visions, values, culture and company missions.

Working with your Human Resource, Brand and Marketing teams we can help weave a brand purpose tapestry that people truly believe in, want to be part of and champion, by ensuring it is embedded within your brand language and part of your everyday conversations with everyone.

'At companies that have clearly defined and communicated how they create value, 63% of employees say they’re motivated, versus 31% at other companies; 65% say they’re passionate about their work, versus 32% at other companies.' (PwC 2019)

86% of B2B companies recognize purpose as important to growth, but they are still working out how to implement their purpose so that it influences business and social outcomes.

Only 24% said purpose is embedded into their business to the point of influencing innovation, operations and their engagement with society. (Carol Cone 2020)


In an increasingly complex and competitive global marketplace it’s increasingly important to create an identity that is distinctive and representative of your values and purpose to enable your company to cut-through the mass of advertising, be recognised for being the purposeful better brand and ultimately convert and retain consumers, better than your competitors can.

A sensible starting point is understanding how you are currently perceived and how visible and resonant your brand is compared to your competitors. Your consumer research agency may have already conducted these perception audits as part of your strategic reviews and your marketing team will have provided analysis of marketing campaigns to understand consumer response to current brand campaigns. Your HR team will have polled employees on their views on whether the brand reflects their values and is engaging and inspiring.

'To complement your internal analysis we will combine a visual benchmarking exercise, with a review of consumer sentiment and undertake a full brand visibility review to understand whether you are making the best use of your physical assets.'

The combined outcome of your analyses is that we are able to develop a visual, statistical, sentiment and physical assessment of how your brand is perceived, performs and its place compared to your competitors. When combined with your business and beliefs objectives, we have the basis for a solid brand design brief.

From this brief we will design the visible elements of your brand that identify it and distinguish it from competitor brands. A cohesive identity that wholly reflects the personality and purpose of your organisation, which will enable you to build a positive brand image. And a language that encourages audiences, from customers to investors, to buy-into your brand image.

We develop the brand design through multiple media formats, create future campaigns and compare these campaigns to the visual benchmarking exercise. This enables everyone to see the brand in comparable real-life scenarios. We also advocate that brand design routes are tested internally with employees and externally, if the project scope allows, with consumer focus groups or even in some online campaign activity. 

'A cohesive identity that wholly reflects the personality and purpose of your organisation, which will enable you to build a positive brand image. And a language that encourages audiences, from customers to investors, to buy-into your brand image.'

We will produce a full suite of brand guidelines to enable all partners to understand why and how the brand is implemented. We can help deliver those onboarding sessions internally and externally. 

There are many brand agencies and many brand implementation agencies. There isn’t one agency that does both as expertly as we do. So, once your brand identity is developed, we are very well placed to support the delivery through marketing and mobilise its physical implementation, across the globe.

'There are many brand agencies and many brand implementation agencies. There isn’t one agency that does both as expertly as we do.'


You know your place. You know your purpose. Now, let’s campaign, engage your audiences and compete to win and own that place.

'You will have determined who you are talking to, when and how, so it’s now about delivering a range of dynamic brand stories that are engaging and authentic, championing your products and celebrating the benefits your products and services will bring to your customers.'

Working with your product, marketing and brand teams we will develop compelling creative campaigns, honed to places, tailored to people and loaded to perform, enabling your brand to have multiple mission campaigns running simultaneously, dialling them up and down, being everywhere you need to be, always elevating why you are the better brand.

You know your place. You know your purpose. Let’s campaign and engage your audiences.

With our network of production partners we will create hyper-localised and hyper-personalised campaigns, creating high quality, engaging content for all your audiences. We can create campaign content across the full spectrum of media, from TV, digital, press, OOH through to video vignettes of internal company champions and external brand influencers.

Our media partners can help plan how best to land these stories to maximise awareness and optimise engagement and we can work with your marketing and sales teams to ensure that the campaign objectives are planned to deliver the right level of economic performance at the right pace.

The campaign for a better brand begins here.


Visibility matters. In a hyper-digitalised world, real world visibility is often over-looked and opportunities to position and promote brands are missed.

We can conduct a full audit of your current brand, where it is and where it isn’t, making recommendations on how to optimise visibility on a sequenced, efficient and economical basis that fit with your strategic brand programmes.

We blend digital, desktop and onsite surveys, pinpointing the exact the type, location and condition of every branded asset. This data is carefully captured into a Brand Asset Management system and analysed to provide the planning blueprint for your rollout.

'Visibility matters. In a hyper-digitalised world, real world visibility is often over-looked and opportunities to position and promote brands are missed.'

Our detailed reports provide the foundation for your brand implementation.  They also leave you with a legacy asset management system that can be easily maintained and kept for future use in brand management and mobilisation.

If we’ve developed your brand, we will have created this legacy asset management system for you. 

In some client cases, the master-brand has already been developed and our role is to then work from the guidelines and extend the brand into new product services and new markets.

We understand the value chain and can add innovations at any point in your destination strategy: from diagnosing challenges, creating a vision, developing a masterplan to creating new brand identities, commissioning and analysing consumer research, creating and overseeing marketing programmes and enhancing environments through lighting, navigation and place implementation programmes.

'We are an expert end to end real estate brand ideation and implementation consultancy.'

We Make Places & Move People

We have a comprehensive understanding of the current flux in real estate markets and how to revitalise our clients’ real estate destinations in readiness for a new era for places, through more purposeful, performance-oriented communications and placemaking designs that encourage occupiers and customers to enjoy that place.

Ilot Brand Implementation

We were commissioned to revitalise this 1990s mixed-use city centre destination in Liège, Belgium. The refurbishment programme was driven by a strategic repositioning exercise that aims to attract a new tenant mix, and increase footfall and time and spend per visitor.

'The GLIMMA team is a valued design and implementation partner for our retail and entertainment centres. They understood the strategic changes needed to revitalise and appeal to a new target audience. Most importantly, they have the knowledge, experience and skills to practically translate these changes into an engaging customer experience. Through the right choice of lighting, street furniture, way finding and brand signage, they have helped transform ILOT into a much more vibrant and safer visitor experience.'


Caledonia Park Branding & Marketing Programmes

Following on from our success at resuscitating and revitalising the commercial performance and positioning of this designer outlet village, we were commissioned by the investors to rebrand the destination to further accelerate its competitiveness and commercial trajectory.

Almaly Branding

We were commissioned to develop a full brand identity and environmental concept for this super-regional real estate destination in Kazakhstan.

Borough Yards Branding

Borough Yards is the capital’s most exciting cultural and retail-focussed regeneration. This unique social, cultural and shopping hub is woven from historic urban fabric. A lost medieval street system has been revived. Once-forgotten warehouses and railway arches house dramatic, double-height retail spaces, all embodying the district’s unrivalled feel of intimacy and welcome, regardless of size.

We were asked to brand this vibrant new London destination to inspire and provide a unique experience for visitors and retailers in a beautiful raw-brick, cathedral-scale spaces.

Mander Centre Brand Implementation

We were asked breathe new life into the Mander Centre, a 1960s retail destination in Wolverhampton, UK. To create a new tenant mix that will attract a different profile of shopper and encourage them to stay longer.

At 52,500 mgross leasable area, the Mander Centre is the largest shopping centre in Wolverhampton, a lively city with a catchment of over 584,000 residents and attracting over 17 million visitors a year.

'The design team at GLIMMA immediately understood the brief and ran with it, producing design concepts that hit the mark with all stakeholders, from architects to the individual retailers. Their innovative ideas were readily translated into signage and lighting solutions that have dramatically transformed the Mander Centre, making it the retail destination of choice for the people of Wolverhampton.'


M&A Volumes Are On the Rise

Amid a blazing hot M&A climate, CEOs have a responsibility to ensure their brand remains one of their most valuable assets during – and after – the acquisition process. So, smart marketing management, underpinned by technology, must be high on the agenda.

2021 was a historic year for mergers and acquisitions activity with global M&A volume hitting $5.9tn, shattering previous records. So far, 2022 looks to be just as robust. The red-hot market brings with it a host of challenges for the C-suite– from driving value for stakeholders to ensuring cultural compatibility internally. However, while navigating the M&A maze CEOs can often lose sight of the most critical factor in ensuring success: the value of their brand.

The Value of Brand in the M&A Process and Beyond

A target company’s brand is often a key consideration of attractiveness to management, shareholders and investors. In a post-Covid-19 world, brand is ubiquitous. It touches everything within a business. There’s also the prevailing theory that ongoing brand investment is the only way to weather economic storms. As per the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), brands that invested in growing excess share of voice by 8% during the 2008-9 downturn grew their market share by an average of over four times more during the recovery phase.

'As per the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), brands that invested in growing excess share of voice by 8% during the 2008-9 downturn grew their market share by an average of over four times more during the recovery phase.'

To Rebrand or Not to Rebrand?

With Bain and Company predicting that M&A is expected to spur 45% of revenue growth over the next three years (up from 30% over the past three years) modern CEOs must learn to balance the needs of commercial success alongside long-term brand building and management. Effective and efficient brand management, by those who understand all aspects of it during these transitions, should not be underestimated.

The CEO Brand Challenge

Decisions relating to a merger or acquisition can be very complex; one huge one is to rebrand or not to rebrand.

For Ross Haxton, Commercial Director at GLIMMA, a full-service global brand management agency, this means brand and business strategy are inseparable, with the future success of any union reliant upon selecting an appropriate model for managing the brand’s key M&A objectives.

Haxton says that in M&A situations it is vital that brand is considered early in the integration process. “This will help to speed and smooth the acquisition process, protecting the value of investment.” He argues that when the branding and corporate values of so many take-over targets are developed quickly in “startup mode,” there is a risk that buyers are working with “inherently flawed” brand blueprints.

“CEOs often need to bring it back to basics, audit their new purchase to establish the core brand offering and key positioning. From that, they can develop marketing and physical branding that will drive success.” The CEO, he states, is the driving figure in this whole process, working with HR and the marketing department to involve the whole business in an internal brand engagement programme.

'CEOs often need to bring it back to basics, audit their new purchase to establish the core brand offering and key positioning. From that, they can develop marketing and physical branding that will drive success.'

Brand Guardianship Index 2022

According to Annie Brown, Associate at Brand Finance, “Good CEOs are those who nurture relations with all stakeholders, and enhance the reputation of their brands as a result”. This is evident in the recent results of the 2022 Brand Guardianship Index, the annual report on the world’s top 100 CEOs.

Emerging on top for 2022 is Satya Nadella from Microsoft, who has been credited with the successful acquisition and integration of major brands including LinkedIn. Since joining the business he has also instilled a growth mindset, evolving the brand’s purpose from “putting a computer on every desk and in every home” to “empowering every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more. The CEO plays an increasingly important role in managing brand amid an M&A, with Haxton seeing it as their duty to steer two marrying companies through any potential “cultural clashes”.

Technology-led Solutions

“CEOs need insights to understand the ‘successful elements’ from each brand, but they also need to navigate the politics of how brands are taken forward into the new scenario.” Seamlessly integrating brand into the M&A process.

So, how do CEOs seamlessly integrate brand into the process? The answer lies in smart brand management, underpinned by technology. GLIMMA works with clients such as FedEx and Delta to make this a reality, offering end-to-end solutions which combine brand consultancy with on-the-ground implementation. Their team of consultants offer digital solutions that help CEOs roll out brands efficiently and cost-effectively. “What we’re seeing is that, especially when they’ve just undergone an M&A, many companies don’t fully understand the assets they have – whether that’s digital or physical.

We can audit brands and provide a single gateway to all their brand data.” “We integrate systems which can standardise products and processes and deliver high volumes of data that allow them to clearly understand their assets and govern their brand more easily.”

'Good CEOs are those who nurture relations with all stakeholders, and enhance the rep-utation of their brands as a result.

Annie Brown
Associate, Brand Finance

Driving Efficiency

For some clients, this can yield a 20 to 30% saving in efficiency. By switching from manual to automated processes, introducing global specifications and seamless ordering and payments, GLIMMA can work quickly and with large volumes, significantly reducing the costs and even the environmental impact typically associated with global brand management.

When it comes to branding and rebranding post-M&A, Haxton says companies often need additional support and specialist expertise, as well as resources, to effectively manage their brand. Failure to do so carries a huge risk to the success of not only the union but the business too. “The brand is the North Star for the full organisation, led by the CEO. We can help CEOs work top-down and create impetus for a big brand push or rebrand, but also bottom-up – using data to inform key decisions and drive success.”


There are varying speeds and scopes for a rebrand. To keep it simple, I’ll use two scenarios (but there are many in between):

SCENARIO ONE: a full corporate identity change that comes into effect on a single launch day – this is the most challenging from an operations point of view.

SCENARIO TWO: a phased approach which may even include some transitional branding, with a land date for the rebrand to be completed some time in the future. This buys you more time to engage with stakeholders and plan your strategy and implementation.

Faced with scenario one, invariably it works out best to use a rebrand specialist, especially if the scope is global and speed is essential.

In scenario two, it can often work out best to adopt a combined approach, for example use a rebrand specialist at certain stages (develop your strategy or manage the implementation) as you will have more time to engage and train your employees to manage the rebrand.


01 EXPERTISE: without doubt the main benefit is that you are buying expertise, a ready made experienced team which you can simply plug and play, meaning you can hit the ground running without impacting too much on your day-to-day operations. Often a specialist is placed within your organisation to manage the launch from within, helping with engagement.

02 SPEED: a rebrand is not a ‘business as usual scenario’ so whilst you may have a fantastic team of brand specialists, they all have their day jobs too. An outsourced team is ready to go and does not face a rebrand learning curve – they already know exactly what needs to be done and how to do it.

03 COST: despite the upfront cost, it can definitely be more cost-effective in the long term to use external resource, particularly for global rebrands. Firstly expertise means ‘getting it right first time’ and avoiding costly mistakes. Secondly, economies of scale can be achieved more readily, for example in the purchase of materials or logistics. Finally, by keeping your team focussed on their day jobs, there is no negative impact on your daily operations and bottom line.

04 GLOBAL REACH: drawing on an existing network means that your rebrand is fully scaleable, can reach all parts of the world and all suppliers are pre-qualified to guarantee quality. A centralised international team means that you don’t have to stay up until 1am to catch the morning call with your Project Managers in Singapore!


01 COST: for smaller scale rebrands it simply isn’t always cost-effective to buy in external support. Provided you get the right team together with the right mandate and a clear scope of work, then it can be managed quite easily from within.

02 STRUCTURE: a rebrand is a company-wide activity and requires engagement from every team – Legal, Finance, HR, Real Estate, IT etc. You know your company best – the structure, the teams, the personalities and should be able to mobilise the right team from within.

03 ENGAGEMENT: a rebrand is an opportunity to build relationships across all departments and functions. It can be used to break down silos and improve communication, helping to reset your company purpose or vision and reignite passion within your employees.


Many companies will often start out on the rebrand journey, with a view to managing the entire process in-house, mostly with cost in mind.

With increasing time pressure and a growing realisation of the complexity of the rebrand programme (how do you find a quality assured supplier in Bermuda?!), some resort to buying in expertise at a later stage. This last minute panic is not the ideal scenario for a strategic and cost-effective rebrand implementation.

With the benefit of experience, I am genuinely convinced that an early understanding that investment in some external expertise really can pay dividends in the longer term.

Step 1: Brand Audit and Mapping Your Rebranding Journey

The excitement of a new identity fades quickly when faced with the logistical labyrinth of brand implementation. Before diving headfirst into production, a thorough brand audit is essential. This critical first step acts as a roadmap, guiding you through the complexities of transitioning your brand from vision to reality.

Six key questions form the foundation of your audit:

  1. What Needs Rebranding?
    Catalogue every physical and digital touchpoint that embodies your brand, from stationery and signage to your website and social media presence. Leave no stone unturned – even minor details like employee lanyards and internal documents matter.
  2. Where are They Located?
    Understanding the geographical distribution of your branded assets is crucial for planning logistics and resource allocation. A global brand, for example, will require a different approach than a local one.
  3. Access and Legalities:
    Are there any physical or legal hurdles to accessing and rebranding certain items? Permits, regulations, or contractual obligations might complicate the process in specific locations.
  4. Quantity Counts:
    Knowing the precise number of items to be rebranded is essential for accurate budgeting and production planning. A precise inventory prevents costly overproduction or underestimation.
  5. Supplier Spotlight:
    Identifying the current suppliers of your branded assets allows you to leverage existing relationships or explore new partnerships for more efficient production and cost savings.
  6. Condition Check:
    A brand audit is the perfect opportunity to assess the state of your assets. Are they nearing the end of their lifespan? Could their replacement offer additional value or cost benefits?

Building Your Rebrand Team

For extensive rebranding projects, a dedicated team is vital. Assembling representatives from key departments like IT, HR, Legal, and Marketing ensures a holistic approach that considers every aspect of your business. This cross-functional collaboration fosters team bonding and knowledge sharing, especially during mergers and acquisitions.

Specialist Support

Consider partnering with a rebranding specialist company. They can provide valuable templates, data capture tools, and expertise to streamline the process and ensure efficient data collection.

Data Gathering Strategies

The best approach to data gathering depends on your resources and the nature of your assets. Technology can be your ally, utilizing self-surveys and AI to automate data collection for specific items.

Desktop Audits

Leverage the knowledge of your on-the-ground teams. Equipping them with the right questionnaires and templates allows you to gather valuable data remotely with minimal disruption to their daily operations.

In today’s smartphone-driven world, capturing visual data is easier than ever. Encourage employees to snap pictures of branded assets and upload them directly to your server, creating a readily accessible visual library.

Site Surveys

For in-depth data and accuracy, on-site surveys are the gold standard. Although more expensive due to travel and manpower requirements, they are particularly recommended for flagship locations or areas lacking a dedicated on-site team. Consider combining a detailed site survey with other tasks to maximize efficiency and avoid repeat visits.

Rebrand Checklist

Keep track of all the elements requiring your attention with a comprehensive rebrand checklist. This could include:

  • Stationery (business cards, letterhead, envelopes, etc.)
  • HR/Legal documents (contracts, etc.)
  • Signage (interior and exterior)
  • Fleet vehicles
  • Wearables/uniforms
  • Office materials (memos, forms, invoices, etc.)
  • Marketing materials (print, trade booths, merchandise, etc.)
  • Digital assets (website, social media, intranet, etc.)
  • Product packaging
  • Presentation templates
  • IT systems

Building Your Brand Asset Database

The brand audit culminates in a central database housing all the information gathered. This visual snapshot of your entire brand landscape serves as the foundation for:

  • Accurate planning and cost estimation: Knowing what needs to be done and where allows for precise budgeting and resource allocation.

  • Ongoing brand management: The database becomes a valuable reference point for future brand decisions and ensures consistency across all touchpoints.

Budgeting and Cost Control

With a clear understanding of your assets and their locations, you can set realistic budgets for the rebranding process. The audit will also reveal cost-saving opportunities, such as revitalizing existing items or divesting outdated ones.

There are various approaches to managing a global rebrand budget. A central budget for program management combined with local budgets for regional items often proves the most effective balance.

Remember: While minimising costs is important, your rebrand is also an investment. Organizations like Brand Finance can help quantify the potential increase in brand value resulting from a successful implementation.

'There are various approaches to managing a global rebrand budget. A central budget for program management combined with local budgets for regional items often proves the most effective balance.'

Step 2: From Strategy to Seamless Brand Implementation

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 of which brand implementation strategy is best for you. Armed with these insights, you can decide:

  • Are you looking for a PR splash with a single launch date for all sites?
  • Are you rolling out your branding market by market, for example, starting in Europe and moving to Asia?
  • Do you wish to prioritise specific sites in each market – rebrand your flagship sites in various countries before moving to lower-priority sites?
  • Is your rebrand phased over several months or years, depending on operational or legal requirements?
  • Consider your stakeholders – do you need to inform a regulator first?

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 your customers.

Cultivating Buy-In for Lasting Success

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 the board level. Appointing high-level Brand ambassadors who take responsibility 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.

  • Consider launching the rebrand internally first. This way employees will feel more engaged and comfortable with the change.
  • Celebrate success. This is not business as usual and it gives you the perfect opportunity to create a feel-good factor, particularly if you are merging two different organisations. There’s nothing like branded merchandise to make it feel real and generate excitement.
  • Work with HR on a mirroring scheme to help break down barriers. For example, legal works with legal, marketing works with marketing etc. to identify best practices.
  • Provide practical training. FAQs on how to answer the phone, how to update email signatures, and how to deal with customer queries.
  • Brand the workspace. This is the perfect opportunity to develop your employer brand and embed your brand purpose and value.

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 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.

Developing an External Launch Plan

A detailed communications plan for all external stakeholders is also vital – regulatory bodies, customers, suppliers and membership organisations. Consider:

  • Targeted direct mail
  • A big PR launch
  • Face-to-face meetings with key customers

Why Program Management Matters

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 resources can be a useful boost here.

Local Brand Implementation Success

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.

Advantages of a Local Team

  • Shared culture and language
  • Well-connected and more resourceful in finding solutions
  • Working within the same time zone
  • Local knowledge – this is particularly important where permits are required
  • Speed of response – local teams can be on the scene quickly
  • No shipping cost
  • Reduced environmental impact.

'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.'

Step 3: 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 Brand Implementation?

It’s important to monitor your metrics so that you can recognise success:

  • Number of sites rebranded
  • Snag-free installations
  • Total number of employees or customers reached

When it comes to measuring the wider success of your rebrand programme, think about:

  • Brand recognition and awareness
  • Market share
  • Premium pricing

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 videos so that you can successfully tell your brand story.

Statistics are also useful in marketing terms. Track key metrics such as:

  • The number of touchpoints rebranded
  • The quantity of vinyl or paint used
  • The average time to rebrand a site

'One of the greatest tools for 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.'

The Importance of Digital Asset Management Systems

One of the greatest tools for 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

  1. Know your approach and create an implementation plan that fits with your company’s strategic aims.
  2. Work with local teams and ‘subject matter’ experts to identify all your brand touchpoints.
  3. Plan your communication – both internally and externally.
  4. Centrally coordinate your rebrand efforts to ensure quality control and brand consistency. Deploy local teams to deliver your branded assets in each market.
  5. Celebrate your success and don’t lose all your good work – maintain the reporting from your Audits and Surveys into a central database. Ready for the next rebrand?

Stay tuned for part 5, where we’ll 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.

A robust Brand Governance approach is key to risk management, providing the framework to ensure that your brand continues to move forward and develop in the right way.

Discover the three key success factors:

  1. People
  2. Process
  3. Education

In part one of our series, we looked at Five Rebrand Strategies to help you define your joint brand goals. In part two we delved into the Creative Process of developing a new brand.

Part three covered Brand Engineering – a detailed look at the three key steps in preparing for your brand rollout. And part four examined the Brand Implementation process which sees the physical transformation take place.

From Brand Cop to Brand Steward

So much has already been written about the shift from ‘brand cop’ to ‘brand steward’ or ‘brand coach’ – a model that allows brands to be agile and responsive in today’s fast-moving environment.

For deeper insights, read Landor’s excellent article on the ‘Brand Community model’.

As far back as 2017 this new approach inspired our thinking – read how in this short article in Transform Magazine where we asked, “Does the new approach to brand governance impact on the practical implementation?”

Why This Shift?

  1. Brands are shaped by experience more than ever
  2. Detailed guidelines can become out of date as quickly as they are written
  3. There is so much user-generated content. Companies can no longer exert the same levels of control
  4. With lightning speed, anyone with access to the cut-and-paste function can easily publish branded content
  5. If you teach and inspire rather than tell, you achieve greater engagement
  6. It allows your brand to be more authentic, reflecting greater individuality whilst maintaining core brand values
  7. Cost savings by teams getting it right the first time

This is not to say that we are now amidst brand anarchy – far from it.

Litigation still exists but a good brand governance model will avert the need for legal recourse, protecting your brand identity and improving engagement.

So, it’s farewell ‘Central Command & Control’ and ‘Hello, Agility’.

'Litigation still exists but a good brand governance model will avert the need for legal recourse, protecting your brand identity and improving engagement.'

What Factors Make for Good Brand Governance?

When it comes to managing your brand, do you relate more to the ‘Brand Cop’ model but want to shift to the ‘Brand Coach’ model? Let’s look at what each entails:

Brand Cop Model: Tightening the Reins

  • Policing & Compliance: This model prioritises adherence to strict brand guidelines, often seen as restrictive by employees. Think legal contracts with rigid clauses, leaving little room for creative interpretation.
  • Micromanagement & Closed Channels: Brand cops control every aspect of brand usage, limiting employee autonomy and communication channels.
  • Manual Processes & Instruction: Everything gets done the ‘cop’s’ way, with cumbersome manual processes and prescriptive instructions.
  • Lack of Pride in Brand: This model often fails to foster brand pride among employees, leading to a disengaged workforce.

Brand Coach Model: Inspiring Champions and Unlocking Potential

  • Enabling & Coherence: The coach guides employees, offering frameworks and resources to interpret brand guidelines creatively.
  • Objectives & Open Access: Brand coaches set clear goals and empower employees to achieve them independently. Think open doors and transparent communication, allowing employees to contribute their diverse perspectives.
  • Automated & Inspirational: Technology simplifies workflows and automates routine tasks, freeing up employees’ time for innovation.
  • Shared Motivations & Monolithic Architecture: This model fosters a united purpose and sense of ownership among employees.

Where to Start?

An audit of both companies involved in the merger or acquisition will help you to scope the size of your task. Unlike the implementation phase, this is not a physical audit of your branded assets, but of people and processes:

  • Who is responsible for the brand?
  • Is there a centralised or decentralised approach?
  • What are the approval processes?
  • Is there automation?
  • Is there a central system for capturing and creating content?

If each organisation has a different approach, then finding common ground is vital. Most organisations now follow the brand community model, with a much more nuanced approach to brand management.

As a result of the brand creative process, you will already have developed and set the ground rules for your brand identity and established the non-negotiable elements, for example, colour and font. This includes non-graphic positioning elements and statements – brand purpose, values etc. Use these as your way-markers for your brand’s onward journey.

Remember, successful M&A branding isn’t just about merging logos; it’s about uniting cultures and unleashing the combined energy of your powerhouse brands. With a pre-flight audit and the essential building blocks listed above, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a unified brand identity that resonates with the world. The following are three building blocks to creating a solid brand ecosystem within your organisation:

'Remember, successful M&A branding isn't just about merging logos; it's about uniting cultures and unleashing the combined energy of your powerhouse brands.'

01: People

Businesses and brands are driven by people, so it’s key to identify everyone involved in the management of both brands and to recognise any overlaps and differences in approach.

Start by plotting all stakeholders.

The brand is traditionally owned by the brand or marketing teams but in reality, the brand is embedded in every level of your organisation. Public relations teams and HR are also heavily invested.

Next, scope the decision-making structure and clarify roles and responsibilities. The merger may result in cost-saving streamlining and this must be managed sensitively.

In addition to employees, consider other stakeholders, such as external agencies and how they are managed.

'Businesses and brands are driven by people, so it’s key to identify everyone involved in the management of both brands, and to recognise any overlaps and differences in approach.'

02: Processes and Systems

Even if both companies have a similar approach to managing their brand, they will have different processes for brand management.

  • How is content created?
  • What is the approval process?
  • Who manages the communication?
  • What legacy systems or software is used?

Start by mapping the processes within each company, so that you can adopt the infrastructure that works best for the newly merged company. Or maybe build a new brand infrastructure that combines the best of both worlds.

Technology is the great enabler of brand ecosystems – there is no shortage of proprietary systems available.

Many larger organisations develop their own technology solution which encompasses:

  • Digital Asset Management (DAM) – logos, videos, artwork etc.
  • The automation of workflow
  • New asset creation
  • Templates
  • Approvals process
  • Portal for all guidelines
  • Showcase for best practice

As well as being more efficient, by harnessing technology to pull all of this into a single framework, you will offer a more user-friendly and accessible interface.

It will also help provide important data analytics so you can better understand how your brand is being deployed globally.

'Technology is the great enabler of brand ecosystems – there is no shortage of proprietory systems available.'

03: Education and Empowerment

Last but no means least, is the education and training of all your stakeholders. In the Brand Community model, this is more important than ever. Guidelines are purposely open to allow for interpretation by local markets. So, it’s vital to communicate your brand’s purpose clearly so that it is translated correctly.

You should aim to inspire and inform rather than instruct.

Communication pathways need to be established – starting with onboarding for all employees and then considering how brand is communicated to all employees. They are your brand ambassadors so it’s vital to continually engage with them, bottom up and top down.

User-generated content is increasingly important so equip your entire organisation with the tools they need to creatively and accurately represent your brand.

In addition to systems training for all those involved in brand management, think of brand education in its widest sense and how you can embed your brand into the organisation, for example through workplace branding.

Any measure that helps to build employee confidence in the new brand will help to migrate the transition to your new brand and improve motivation.

'Any measure that helps to build employee confidence in the new brand will help to migrate the transition to your new brand and improve motivation.'

Top Five Tips for Successful Brand Governance

  1. Embrace differences in a coherent way – a community approach will help your brand to reflect the diversity of your people, markets and cultures and keep it authentic
  2. Harness technology – it can support content creation and workflow to produce locally loved but globally compliant content
  3. Don’t lock your brand guidelines away – make them accessible
  4. Know the non-negotiables and create agility by inspiring and educating your people
  5. Remember to support and celebrate success

We hope this five-part series equipped you with the tools and knowledge to conquer your own M&A brand challenge. Translate our insights into action, stitch together a unified brand narrative, and unleash the full potential of your merged force. The world is watching – make your brand impact legendary.

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.


Back in 1986 US based Braniff Airlines, wanted to flaunt their brand-new, top of the range leather aeroplane seats to their customers, with the subtle and smooth tagline – ‘Fly in Leather’. The campaign was a hit with every market except their Spanish speaking customers, as ‘Fly in Leather’ can be translated to ‘Fly Naked’, something which Braniff Airlines certainly didn’t want to encourage



A breakdown in communication doesn’t always have to include poorly translated words, sometimes different cultures are misunderstood. Since they began operations in 1928, US baby food manufacturer, Gerber, has featured a delightful baby on their product labels. But when Gerber branched out to the African market, this label become quite the cause for concern. In African countries, labels depict images of what the consumer will find within the tin; therefore, it seemed as if Gerber was selling, quite literally, babies in a can. Needless to say, it was not an instant bestseller.



Parker Pens’ expansion into Mexico was met with a significant amount of confusion. They thought it was a good idea to use their strapline globally to sell to the masses – it was simple and straightforward – ‘It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you’. Unfortunately for Parker Pens, it was translated into ‘It won’t leak into your pocket and make you pregnant’. So close, yet so far…


Even automobile giant Mercedes-Benz isn’t safe from a branding mishap in their history. When they announced themselves into the Chinese market with a new name, it wasn’t met with the desired reaction. Mercedes-Benz allocated themselves the name ‘Bensi’ for their Chinese operations which translates to ‘rush to die’. Needless to say, not many cars were sold until they underwent an extensive rebrand.



Pepsi struck fear into the hearts of millions of Chinese customers when debuted a new slogan – ‘Pepsi Brings You Back to Life’. However, this didn’t quite translate correctly in Chinese, as Pepsi’s new campaign was headed with the phrase – ‘Pepsi Brings You Back from the Grave’, which is quite a bold, and ultimately false, claim.



In the ‘90s, Panasonic wanted to unveil a web-ready PC to the masses in Japan. To give sales a boost, they secured the rights to beloved character Woody the Woodpecker and created a Woody theme for the PC’s, and an unfortunate name for the PC was born – Touch Woody: The Internet Pecker. This wasn’t even a breakdown in communication or translation, but simply evidence that context is everything and sometimes you may need some feedback before settling on a name!

As more companies pay attention to their branding efforts, there are significantly fewer marketing blunders. This is mainly attributed to employing experts that have a keen eye for potential communication, cultural and translation issues, as well as having more tools at your disposal to avoid any mistakes.

Businesses and industries have only benefitted from the ability to communicate with people from all walks of life, and for this, we celebrate International Translation Day.

If you’re looking for help with your branding or rebranding efforts – strategy, engineering or  implementation, our multi-cultural and multi-lingual team is here to help. We work globally but deliver locally to guide your business, and hopefully avoid any lost-in-translation mistakes!


This claimed the number one spot with a strong consensus that authenticity is critical to strong brands. What you stand for must truly reflect your brand values, your mission and your brand vision.

Brands are no longer broadcasting, but rather engaging in two-way conversations with their stakeholders.

Finding your ‘why’ and putting this at the heart of your marketing strategy will help you to build emotional connection with your customers. Gone are the days of empty slogans and unsubstantiated, unrealistic brand promises.

With digital natives representing an increasing percentage of our target audiences, there is an increasing expectation. There is no escape from real two-way engagement, which often takes place in the public domain. Online forums, social media, our ‘always-on’ culture – all these factors create an inevitable transparency.

Brands must develop an authentic brand promise that accurately reflects what they stand for, or they risk being held publicly accountable.

The most powerful brand purpose will represent a long-term commitment rather than a short-term tactic: it will go beyond commercial aspirations to also create societal benefit.

The internet is littered with examples of companies who have been questioned and held to account because of their over stretched promises, only to have to very quickly apologise, stand down and change tack.

The moral of the story – keep it honest!

'Brands must develop an authentic brand promise that accurately reflects what they stand for, or they risk being held publicly accountable.'


Simon Barrow introduced us to the concept of the Employer Brand way back in 1990, but never has the alignment between internal and external audiences been more important.

There must be a strong match between your brand and your internal company culture. Your people are your brand. It is they who directly represent you with your customers, so your brand journey really starts with them.

Listen and engage with employees at every stage of your brand positioning and development work to create a truly authentic brand purpose.

Every employee is your brand ambassador, so invest in your internal culture and ensure that each and every employee has been inducted into your brand purpose goals.

Not only will this help your authenticity to shine through, but it will also help you to attract the right talent, to reduce churn, to keep everyone motivated and to make your business thrive.

Embed brand purpose into every aspect of your employee communications, use Workplace branding to convey your brand spirit and encourage specific behaviours through reward and appraisal systems.

'There must be a strong match between your brand and your internal company culture. Your people are your brand. It is they who directly represent you with your customers, so your brand journey really starts with them.'


There has been a significant shift in the way we talk about sustainability. It used to be all about mitigating risk, then came greenwashing. But as we’ve seen, transparency and authenticity will soon unveil this undesirable and questionable tactic. Better to be authentic.

Over 25 years ago, John Elkington coined the phrase, Triple Bottom Line (TBL),representing a sustainability framework that examines a company’s social, environment, and economic impact. Increasingly there is a sense that only a company that produces a TBL is taking account of the full cost of doing business.

As businesses in pursuit of commercial profit and cost efficiencies, it’s not always easy to adopt a sustainable approach. Consumers understand this conflict – so don’t pretend that you have all the answers.

Take your customers on your sustainability journey with you as you gradually put in place measures to reduce your environmental impact.

The pressure to change is coming from the bottom up, as much as from the top down. Increasingly brands are driving the environmental agenda more than governments, even individuals (think Greta Thunberg) can be more powerful or vocal than macro government policies.

Wherever you stand in terms of environmental progress, it is time to take a stand. Your customers are not looking for perfection, but steps in the right direction.

Sustainability has come of age, Covid has shown that the cost of ignoring it is greater than the cost of dealing with it.

'There has been a significant shift in the way we talk about sustainability. It used to be all about mitigating risk, then came greenwashing. But as we’ve seen, transparency and authenticity will soon unveil this undesirable and questionable tactic. Better to be authentic.'


It is widely accepted that the Covid pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of businesses right across the world. The pace of change in the merger of online and offline is unprecedented.

This is all driven by customer centricity. Data allows us to understand precisely what our customers want; technology enables us to deliver it. With the advent of companies such as Uber, Amazon and Netflix, speed and responsiveness are the new norm.

Customers must sit at the heart of your brand purpose, allowing them to make that all-important emotional connection with you. Our growing passion for personalisation stands as testament to the importance of personal connection.

Make sure that your brand purpose is evident at every stage of your customer journey.




Data is a significant driver in defining brand purpose – with so many statistics available, there is no longer any need to second guess what your customers want.

It’s not just about the hard statistics that we capture – our customers increasingly have a very public voice. Be it on forums or via social media, companies can use these qualitative insights to help them better understand what customers seek.

Artificial Intelligence, automation and robotics are helping businesses to improve awareness, engagement and loyalty.

Data should be at the heart of your brand strategy, helping you to define your purpose, your products and services and how you stay focussed on being relevant to your customers.


According to Jim Stenghal Co. purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow on average three times faster than their competitors, all the while achieving higher employee and customer satisfaction.

Brand purpose is your biggest differentiator and brand drives choice. The question must surely be: can you afford to ignore it?