February 25, 2015

Don’t make this common fleet rebranding mistake

Over the years, we have completed fleet rebranding projects for many companies, including one project that involved over 75,000 vehicles. For companies that buy thousands of new fleet vehicles every year, decisions have to be made about makes and models – cargo vans, pickups, Ford transit connects, service body (work trucks), sedans, and so on. While the type of fleet vehicle may change, one thing stays the same. Color – white. Not even a slight variation on white, like eggshell or snowflake.

Ford TC xlIf fleet vehicles are always white, why are fleet rebranding projects so complicated? Because fleet rebranding includes ALL company vehicles, not just those that fit under the category of service fleets. We’re talking sales vehicles, promotional vehicles, and a subset of the fleet that serves consumer markets. These vehicles tend to be cars and trucks that you and I drive as opposed to commercial makes and models. And these vehicles are rarely white.Pickup

We like to go to Genba (a Japanese word meaning “the real place”) with projects. By seeing first-hand what the fleet looks like, we avoid fleet rebranding oversights. As much as we’d like to believe companies telling us they have an all-encompassing database of vehicles, we’ve seen over and over again that they are mistaken. It doesn’t matter what industry we are working with – consumer products, energy and utilities, healthcare, hospitality, retail, or transportation.

Before we start a fleet rebranding project, we recommend an Assessment to uncover as many details about the fleet as we can. While there may be a database with basic information about the service fleet, vehicles used by sales and other departments are often purchased outside the standard fleet vehicle supply chain. It’s rare that a company has a detailed database that includes all vehicles in need of rebranding, which is why the Assessment is so important. Otherwise, costly mistakes are made during the fleet rebranding. The wrong vehicle graphics are ordered. Vehicles that need to be rebranded are overlooked. Customized vehicle graphics are created when standardized graphics would save time and money.

This doesn’t just happen with large companies undertaking a fleet rebranding. If the database doesn’t include vehicle color information, there’s an assumption that all vehicles were white.

If we proceeded with a fleet rebranding using inaccurate color information, our client would be faced with three alternatives when we encountered non-white vehicles:

  1. Leave the vehicle without the new branding.
  2. Paint the vehicle white, a very expensive, project-delaying undertaking.
  3. Wrap the vehicle to completely change the color, which is also expensive.

We have seen all of these responses from clients that failed to do the necessary preparation before starting a fleet rebranding.

The last thing a company wants is clashing colors during a fleet rebranding, like an orange logo on a red car. Even diehard Broncos fans would cringe at that color combination!