Rebranding: the balance between central control and local responsibility

| 17 January 2018

You’re rebranding. The board’s given the go-head, designs are approved, budgets are signed-off. It’s time to boldly ‘go and deploy!’ But is it that straightforward?

When rebranding a global organisation, there is a fine balance to be made between central control and local responsibility. Often the decision and mandate to roll out a new brand is driven from the global headquarters or central office and the job of completing all the necessary activities then falls on the local or regional teams dispersed around the world.

When such a complex task gets shared out in a manner such as this, there is often the risk that the brand message will become diluted through misinterpretation, and consistency will suffer.

How then to mitigate risk, and ensure that the brand’s message and impact will be rolled out effectively, globally?

Follow our 7-step approach, based on best practices from over 2,000 rebrand cases:

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Planning is key

A key component to a successful implementation programme often lies in the pre-planning and preparation stage. We call this phase ‘getting prepared’ for the rebrand. So, ideally by the time you’re ready to deploy, there is already a clear delivery plan in place which everyone can sign up to. Undoubtedly, embarking on a global rebrand programme can be a challenging prospect. The organisation will want to know the impact of brand change on the business. How will it affect the commercial day-to-day activities? How will shareholders respond? What are the risks to the organisation’s reputation? Is there a plan to mitigate these risks? And how much will it cost? Being armed and ready with answers to key business concerns will stand you in good stead.

Let’s say a global organisation has just launched an exciting new brand and is ready to begin rolling out the new branding across all regions. Where would it start? Does it understand how the status quo at every location will be affected? The answer is likely no, and it’s fairly certain that the brand managers aren’t going to receive the budget to fly all over the world to assess things themselves. The solution is to carry-out an in-depth audit beforehand to find out the true impact of the rebrand.

"Long-cherished processes, protocols and initiatives launched five years ago may no longer fit business needs, especially with the increasing rise of technology and automation in the workplace."

Valuable brand auditing

This is a valuable and recommended process where you will discover a lot of relevant data. Take quantity, for example: not every asset has to be rebranded. Some items can be prioritised over others, especially those which have the most visibility. Timing is also a key factor to consider: what are the drivers for the business? Is the plan to implement quickly, say a roll out within one to two years, or maybe phase implementation over a longer period. Of course, all of this will depend on how much the rebrand will cost. The audit will help to establish budget(s), and give considerations as to who will pay for it – central, local teams, or a combination of both.

The great thing about doing the audit is that it can provide a snapshot of existing business processes and how these could be streamlined. For instance, long-cherished processes, protocols and initiatives launched five years ago may no longer fit business needs, especially with the increasing rise of technology and automation in the workplace. So, this is a good opportunity to streamline processes; look for efficiencies and so deliver real savings over time.

Improving processes within an organisation not only allows for better brand management, but can also improve brand consistency enormously, both during and after roll out. Messages, and more importantly, the impact of the brand can often get lost, distorted or misinterpreted when transported over a vast, multi-layered network. By ensuring that all teams are adequately prepared, engaged, and switched-on to the real opportunities which a rebrand can deliver, you can take advantage of the opportunities to build a more coherent brand proposition.

After all, stronger brand coherency means a greater impact.

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7 steps to a successful rebrand

A practical step-by-step plan for brand, marketing and communication managers.