October 9, 2015

The “Stop Doing” approach to corporate brand implementation

Corporate Brand Implementation

The most common approach to corporate brand implementation we see internal brand teams use is the replacement approach – replace old branding with new branding on every sign, vehicle and other brand touchpoint. This approach is easy and straightforward. Divide the work up among the parties responsible for each touchpoint (facilities managers, fleet vehicle managers, etc.), have them submit a budget for one-to-one replacements and approve it as is. The replacement approach to corporate brand implementation causes companies to repeat past mistakes and leads to waste, missed deadlines, and blown budgets. That’s why we say, “Stop Doing.” Let me explain.

We often take the role of “best practices coach” for corporate brand implementation when internal brand teams come together during mergers and acquisitions. We have teams analyze their assets the way other departments do. For example, the way operations looks at whether the space requirements are the same, or whether some locations can be consolidated, relocated or divested.

Just as operations looks strategically at space requirements, the “Stop Doing” approach to corporate brand implementation looks at the strategy behind the rebranding. Who are the primary target audiences for brand messages? Are you trying to reach external audiences (e.g., consumers), internal audiences (e.g., employees), or both? Messaging for external audiences is different than internal messaging, so this is an important piece of the strategy.

We were recently involved with a merger of two companies that shared very different messaging strategies, which became apparent during early discussions about the corporate brand implementation. The combined team eventually agreed on one strategy – to focus on external audiences – which meant the company needed to enhance visibility on touchpoints seen by the general public and de-emphasize touchpoints seen only by employees. This decision affected the selection of brand treatments for touchpoints, including color vibrancy, size, and materials. Using data compiled during the touchpoint assessment phase, we identified the highest priority signage, service vehicles, and other brand touchpoints and they received the most impactful brand treatments. The employee-facing touchpoints, like multiple large signs at warehouses in industrial parks, were either given low-cost brand treatments or old signs were taken down and not replaced.

The “Stop Doing” approach to this corporate brand implementation freed up money by reducing costs on rebranding low priority or unnecessary signs and vehicles, which allowed additional money to go toward increasing brand awareness in strategic locations. Eliminating unnecessary touchpoints also sped up the process. The corporate brand implementation came in early and under budget.

The replacement approach to corporate brand implementation reminds me of the Albert Einstein quote: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So “Stop Doing” instead.