April 9, 2014

New Branding and Signage – The Need for Speed

New branding and signage conversion schedules may not be at the top of your mind during a merger, acquisition or brand refresh, but they should be.

Years ago, we worked on a brand implementation project for a major telecommunications corporation and handled just one part of implementation – converting old vehicle graphics to new vehicle graphics. When I say “just,” I mean tens of thousands of vehicle graphics converted over an eight-month period. Someone else was working on the branding and signage conversion, and they were still changing the signs on a single building when we were packing our bags and heading back to Denver eight months later. Not surprisingly, the department responsible for sign conversion came under scrutiny after that. Had the brand implementation plan been a coordinated effort across the entire corporation, this type of problem would have been avoided.

How does a slow or fragmented implementation impact your company? By leaving old branding and signage on the outside of buildings, in parking lots, and inside buildings, customers may be confused. Investors certainly aren’t pleased that the company is so slow to act, and regulatory deadlines may be missed.

To speed up the process, be sure an accurate timeline and budget are in place before you start a branding and signage project. If only one or two locations are involved, in-house branding and marketing departments may be able to handle branding and signage conversion plans on their own. However, if there are hundreds of locations and thousands of signs involved, make sure to outsource branding project management to experts in the field.

Based on our experience with branding and signage projects, here are four keys to a speedy, thorough rollout:

  • Sign Facts: Have a database that lists each sign, including location, size, type, current graphic, etc. By standardizing specifications for branding and signage, ordering is streamlined and costs and installation times are decreased.
  • Scheduling: From a logistical standpoint, locations with the highest concentration of signage touchpoints or those in high traffic areas can be scheduled first. Routing resources to locations once and changing out all branding and signage at the same time reduces overall brand rollout time and avoids unplanned costs. This requires detailed plans based on accurate data and synchronizing the flow of new branding materials to coincide with the deployment of installation crews to each location.
  • Visibility: Why not make the most of the investment in your new branding and signage by maximizing the visibility of your new brand? Identify the signage locations that offer the most exposure to your target audience, and create high impact brand treatments. Go big and bold.
  • Budget: Brand implementation budgets are frequently inaccurate because prior projects, if there were any, had costs spread out across different budget centers (regional offices, corporate departments, etc.). By spending time collecting and analyzing data about branding and signage upfront and setting an accurate budget for materials and logistics, a realistic brand implementation budget can be developed.

Keep new branding and signage needs at the top of your mind during your next merger, acquisition, brand refresh or new brand rollout. Even if you don’t, your customers, investors and regulators will, and it’s better to delight than disappoint them.

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