January 20, 2015

Don’t forget to budget for “soft costs” when rebranding exterior buildings signs and fleet vehicles

With a nationwide rebranding project involving exterior building signs and fleet vehicles on the horizon, a senior executive at a Fortune 50 company and I met to discuss budgeting. His eyes lit up when I mentioned ways to reduce “soft costs.” He knew, like I did, that it’s rare for budgets to include soft costs and even rarer to discuss ways to mitigate those costs from the beginning.

Soft costs are indirect costs, and examples of common soft costs found while rebranding exterior building signs and fleet vehicles are:

  • Unforeseen labor costs
  • Internal teams spending more time than expected on rebranding
  • Travel time to and from rebranding locations
  • Interruptions to day-to-day business operations
  • Downtime during installations
  • Downtime to reorder poorly designed or produced materials (e.g., exterior building signs that didn’t meet specs)
  • Reinstalling materials that didn’t work out the first time

How do you mitigate these soft costs? You invest more time in planning. Successfully rebranding exterior building signs and fleet vehicles comes down to paying attention to details from the start. Create a scope of work early in your planning process. Identify the risks associated with rebranding exterior building signs and fleet vehicles. Look at the risks in the context of both direct and indirect costs.

One of the largest soft costs in rebranding exterior building signs and fleet vehicles relates to opportunity costs. Don’t have your internal resources so involved in the actual physical transformation that they lose focus on the new brand’s impact on employees and customers. You may remember I provided an example of these costs in a previous blog post. Because a fleet vehicle rebranding budget included installation costs, but not removal costs, two executives had to take significant time away from their day-to-day jobs to remove old vehicle graphics themselves.

Your customers and employees are the main reason you rebrand in the first place. Keep your internal resources focused on championing the new brand name and brand promise for customers and employees instead of measuring or removing old exterior building signs and fleet vehicles. Outsourcing the planning, management and rebranding rollout for exterior building signs and fleet vehicles reduces your soft costs and builds an achievable budget. Better still…your management team won’t be forced to use sanders, scrapers, screwdrivers and solvents.

Signage Installation