March 10, 2014

Brand Rollout – How to execute it without hurting employee morale or inconveniencing customers

Over the years, I have seen many instances where complex brand rollouts were poorly executed. How do I know? The parking lot had corporate vehicles sporting a mix of old and new logos. The outdoor signs didn’t match the indoor signs leading to the corporate offices. I was handed mismatched business cards from executives in different departments.

There are many reasons a brand rollout doesn’t go smoothly, including:

  • Executive leadership team doesn’t champion the brand rollout.
  • Lack of employee buy-in from all divisions prior to and during the brand rollout.
  • The project manager is inexperienced in a complex brand rollout.
  • The scope of the project is underestimated, in terms of deadlines, budget, staff and other resources needed.
  • The company doesn’t have a detailed list of branded assets, causing some vehicles, signs, uniforms, or other touchpoints to be missed.

Why is it so important to complete the brand rollout process quickly and efficiently? Here are just a few of the reasons:

  • Cost: A slow or poorly managed brand rollout impacts the organization’s bottom line. For example, if multiple people are ordering signs or vehicles graphics one at a time, it is far more expensive than ordering them in bulk.
  • Reputation Management: Consumers pay attention to how companies operate to ensure they receive the highest quality products and services, and branded assets tell a story. If the executive team allows mismatched or outdated logos to remain on corporate signs, vehicles, uniforms, marketing materials, websites, and so on, it acts as a red flag that the entire company may be poorly run.
  • Staffing: A badly executed brand rollout hurts employee satisfaction. Staff members want to be proud of where they work, and a poor brand rollout leads to disorganization and miscommunication.

So how do you execute a brand rollout successfully?

  • Focus on communications. From executive leadership down to front-line employees, everyone must be kept in the loop and champion the brand rollout.
  • Have someone with experience in a complex brand rollout in charge of the project. Proper planning at the beginning of the project is a key to success.
  • Strike the correct balance between employees’ duties on the brand rollout and their day-to-day workload, bringing in outside help to complete the project when needed.
  • Set realistic timelines and budgets. If you are dealing with tight regulatory deadlines, you may need to increase your budget or allocate more resources.
  • Constantly monitor the brand rollout process. Missing one deadline can snowball into an avalanche of missed deadlines if no one notices or is held accountable when the first deadline is missed.

Just like other change management operations, a brand rollout needs to be strategically planned and implemented. When done poorly, employees are unhappy and customers are confused. When done properly, the transition from one company name and logo to the new company name and logo is a cause for celebration and a bonding experience for everyone involved. Let’s toast to your successful brand rollout…with matching branded glasses, of course!