THE POWER OF BRAND IDENTITY
An iconic visual brand identity is all about standout. It drives customer preference and helps build engagement and equity across the entire customer experience. In developing your visual identity, prepare to satisfy the key criteria of whether the brand achieves visual, emotional, functional and structural objectives, wherever it is appears.
Your brand is ultimately built on reputation and visibility, with your name, logo and strapline being important visual representations of your brand. They’re central to how you’re perceived but how they are managed relative to your entire customer experience is critically important.
WHICH APPROACH IS BEST – EVOLUTION OR REVOLUTION?
There are different types and degrees of rebranding (evolution to revolution – a light refresh, a full rebrand or a new brand which includes naming).
Defining clear objectives and priorities will help determine what level of rebrand is needed but also provide clarity to your external creative brand consultancy and implementation partner.
See part one in our blog series: Five strategies to manage your brand during a merger or acquisition, to determine which route is best for your brand.
'Your brand is ultimately built on reputation and visibility, with your name, logo and strapline being important visual representations of your brand. They’re central to how you’re perceived but how they are managed relative to your entire customer experience is critically important.'
SIX KEY QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU DEFINE YOUR BRAND
1. OFFER AND POSITIONING
2. MARKETPLACE ENVIRONMENT
3. COMPETITOR LANDSCAPE
4. CUSTOMERS AND EXPERIENCE
5. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
6. CULTURE AND HISTORY
A QUICK SENSE-CHECK – IS THERE A GENUINE BUSINESS NEED TO REBRAND?
The answers to these key questions will lead to a conclusion on whether or not a rebrand is required.
Before you take the final plunge, consider some reasons why you may not need to rebrand:
If a rebrand is still the right strategic decision for your business, read on!
READY TO REBRAND – GETTING STARTED
To begin, develop a clear plan and brief for your rebrand, which summarises your responses to as many of the above questions as possible. These drafts should be discussed with your management team and revised as required, so don’t stress too much at this stage about getting every detail perfect – they’re working documents!
Include the following steps, which will not only confirm your plans but add the necessary detail:
Many management executives are too busy to properly manage a rebrand without expert help, with considerable day-to-day responsibilities leaving little space in their diaries. The financial cost implications of the rebrand will be their priority, so establish detailed cost parameters with their input.
Their interest and attention during the full period of the strategic positioning and creative concept development stages can vary, so think carefully about how to maintain their focussed involvement in the process and keep them engaged.
'Many management executives are too busy to properly manage a rebrand without expert help, with considerable day-to-day responsibilities leaving little space in their diaries. The financial cost implications of the rebrand will be their priority, so establish detailed cost parameters with their input.'
FIVE KEY STEPS IN DEVELOPING YOUR CREATIVE BRIEF
There are five key steps in your future brand development plan. Work through each step with your internal team so that you can reach consensus and thoroughly brief your brand agency.
IDENTIFY WHICH BRANDED ASSETS YOU NEED TO CONSIDER
In preparing briefing information for your brand agency, it’s also important to consider early collaboration with your brand implementation partner to help audit any existing brand assets that you’re unable to manage internally.
With physical site surveys, online self-surveys and desktop research, this data can be usefully provided to your brand agency from the very start. It gives them a clear picture of the nature and extent of your brand touchpoints, so that they can be more specific with what to quote for and subsequently create. This can save a lot of embarrassment and prevents having to request extra budget later on in the process.
Implementing your future brand can be the most difficult aspect of the relaunch process and many brands opt for a phased programme, due to the volumes and geographical scope. It’s also worth reviewing progress along the way, so that adjustments and fine tuning can be introduced. Experienced brand implementation partners are skilled at the organisation and management of rebranding initiatives; with strategic, financial, vendor management and reporting tools being their core daily activities. The aim is to deliver branded asset change on-time and on-budget to a consistent brand quality that is intended.
'In preparing briefing information for your brand agency, it’s also important to consider early collaboration with your brand implementation partner to help audit any existing brand assets that you’re unable to manage internally.'
SEAMLESS COLLABORATION BETWEEN YOUR DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION TEAMS
Your brand implementation partner should work with your designers and internal resources to remove the stress of detailed operational project management and ensure that all your brand touchpoint assets transition as planned. Both physical and digital elements need consideration – building signage, wayfinding, workplace environments, fleet, workwear, administration templates, marketing collateral and online resources all need appropriate solutions to help decentralised company resources manage the governance process with clear direction and autonomy.
Seamless connection between all stages is essential – Brand Strategy, Brand Engineering and Brand Implementation. These phases require specific talent, expertise and experience in strategic, analytical, and tactical skills.
TOP FIVE TIPS
'If your brand can create impact, resonate, subtly refresh and endure the test of time – you’ll look back on your rebrand journey with a deep sense of satisfaction.'
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.
THE SIX MOST COMMON CHALLENGES FACED BY ALL FLEET MANAGERS
Over my career, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of many large fleet branding projects. Most of these projects involved the following elements:
Certainly, there are many other factors that can come into play. Most of the large jobs I’ve experienced contained these six characteristics.
Whenever my team assesses a potential project, the first question we typically ask is the following: What is the deadline? Of course, that question is followed with a litany of others. The deadline dictates the timeline, and the timeline dictates the tasks.
Two of the biggest pitfalls are rarely discussed as openly as they should be:
If the existing branding is old, or substandard, removal can easily be more time-consuming than subsequent installation. Ask any certified installer about removing old, inexpensive graphics. It can be next to impossible and can blow out a time schedule ad infinitum.
INSTALLATION FACILITIES – WHAT QUESTIONS DO I NEED TO ASK?
When examining installation facilities, many standard questions apply:
You get the picture. The greatest of these concerns usually revolves around climate control. Most graphics cannot be installed above or below a certain temperature. Too cold and the adhesive won’t adhere. Too hot, and the vinyl stretches and becomes gummy.
FLEET BUDGET MANAGEMENT
The budget can be addressed through a variety of approaches. Limiting the number of suppliers allows for economies of scale. Specifying the proper materials, and optimizing the yield, is key. Utilizing existing assets, such as garages or covered spaces, saves on site or equipment rental. Nearly every facet of the project can ultimately impact budget.
While I’ve touched on some major issues, perhaps the most critical factor revolves around the age-old activity virtually every organization strives to improve: communication. Let’s assume for a moment you’re the Director of Brand for an organization with 4,200 trucks and vans spread about Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico. Your brand agency has worked with you and your team to perfect a suite of new designs that will be rolled out to your existing fleet.
You’ve made the wise choice to work with GLIMMA on your comprehensive project. GLIMMA has worked with you on specifications and has chosen the vendors. You, your team, GLIMMA, and the vendors have had numerous planning calls as the kickoff day draws closer. Everyone is ready. All of the planning, the creative juices, the late nights will soon yield gorgeous new branding across your fleet.
However, when the field work begins, so do the problems. Garage managers rebel, citing various maintenance conflicts. Drivers don’t deliver their vehicles on time and, when they do, they’ve not gotten their vehicles washed. The vendor’s installers complain that the garages are too cold, or don’t have enough lighting. The problems can go on and on.
Much of this can be prevented by strong communication, throughout your organization. Include the drivers of the vehicles. Include the garage managers. Include maintenance. No, they don’t have to be on every team call, but by including them, by giving them a voice, by listening to their suggestions, they will help you during the project’s most crucial phase: execution.
LONG TERM FLEET BRAND MANAGEMENT
Finally, when the job is done, maintaining the graphics properly is the key to extending the life of the fleet’s branding. There are simple steps that can be performed to optimize the life and vibrancy of fleet graphics.
Digital is transforming the way we work in Fleet Brand Management. We often work with our clients on one-off Fleet livery rebrands, but this soon turns into a longer term partnership, as we equip them with the tools they need to keep a full grasp on the status and maintenance requirement of their Fleet.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of the many facets of a fleet branding project. That noted, few things get me more excited than working with a client on a far-reaching, audacious project that others wouldn’t dare attempt.
There’s nothing quite so exhilarating than to stand before a team of capable people, look them in the eye and say, “We pulled this off!”
If you are considering a Fleet rebrand or refresh, or are looking for a longer term Fleet branding management solution, then I’d be delighted to help with free adviceto get you started.
Our team has global experience, working with clients such FedEx, Verizon, AT&T, Heineken, C&A, DPD, Alitalia and Gate Gourmet, to name a few. Check out our Fleet Branding page to find out more.