August 26, 2014

Brand management means selecting the right partners to implement your brand

As one of our brand management clients recently said: “Who you entrust your brand to is the most important decision you’ll make in any rebranding process.” I couldn’t agree with her more!

Following up on my last blog about brand management budgeting, let’s look at another key issue related to costs – supply chain selection. By supply chain, I mean vendors that supply products or services for your rebranding, like sign production and installation companies, vehicle graphic production and installation companies, uniform manufacturers, etc.


As brand implementation experts, we know that the selection of vendors to supply and/or install branded materials and signage is critical to achieving positive ROI. Whether you use an RFP process or use a less formal approach, here are five key steps to take before making a final decision:

  1. Quality standards: Set minimum quality standards up front, because quality level can impact costs. Brand management teams need to include quality level in specifications for interior signage, exterior signage, point of sales equipment, and branded materials to reinforce brand positioning. Without it, the wrong vendor could end up putting low-quality signs on high-end retailers, the exact opposite of the company’s desired brand positioning.
  2. Project scope: Brand management teams need to use accurate data when seeking bids, which means uncovering all signs, branded pieces of equipment and vehicles, POS systems, marketing and sales materials, apparel and uniforms, etc. You may have far more branded assets than you originally thought, leading to higher volume discounts from vendors.
  3. Design for implementation: Too often, brand management teams approve design systems and brand treatments without understanding how the design will actually appear on branded assets. A thin, vertical logo might look great as a stand-alone design, but how will it look on vehicles and other vertically-challenged touchpoints? We recommend planning for implementation up front by value engineering design systems to take into account touchpoint shapes, performance needs, production costs and installation time. By standardizing specifications, supply chain partners will be able to adhere to brand guidelines, meet deadlines and keep costs in check.
  4. Hard deadlines: Work backwards from the required project completion date to set deadlines for vendors to complete production and installation projects. If vendors cannot commit to meeting those dates during the RFP selection process, brand management teams need to find more customer-focused suppliers.
  5. Removal costs: Unless you’re starting with brand new assets, you need to include the cost of removing the old brand in the budget. It’s one brand management mistake we see over and over again.

If your brand management team has limited experience building brand implementation budgets, or you are thinking about relying on current vendors for budget estimates, review the steps above first. A little expert advice can go a long way in keeping brand management costs under control.