September 10, 2015

Why the brand management team’s reputation is on the line during a brand rollout

brand management, brand rollout

Brand management is often hard to define and quantify by individuals outside corporate branding and marketing departments. Ask anyone in finance, operations, manufacturing or engineering. These individuals probably won’t notice brand management done well, but they will notice brand management gone wrong. And comment on it. “Look, our old logo is on that truck.” “The sign on our store down the street doesn’t match this one.” When branding mistakes happen, the reputation of the brand management team suffers.

Good brand management comes down to strategic planning and implementation, especially during a brand rollout. There is a methodology to a brand rollout, and it includes being prepared for things to go wrong. Bad weather on the day service vehicles are supposed to receive new brand graphics. Missed deadlines by sign manufacturers. Employees not bringing in fleet vehicles on schedule. Many times, it’s a lack of brand rollout experience by the brand management team that results in poor brand rollout results. These poor results manifest as cost overruns, delays or “escapes” (branded touchpoints that are missed during the brand conversion).

We are currently working on a project where this is happening. Since we weren’t brought in at the very beginning of the brand rollout process, we’re uncovering mistakes as we go. For example, the initial brand treatments didn’t account for all the variations of brand touchpoints found in the field. The brand management team assumed its brand design agency provided brand treatments that would work for all brand touchpoints. This is rarely the case when your brand rollout includes internal signage, external signage, vehicles, retail environments, uniforms, and apparel. Brand treatments are not one-size-fits-all.

A more experienced brand management team uses a brand rollout methodology that starts with a formal Assessment, identifying and analyzing all branded touchpoints before the brand conversion process starts. The Assessment would also take into account timing and operational constraints. For example, will brand rollout crews be constrained by operating hours, lack of access to facilities and vehicles, weather, or lighting? These details are important, because they can stall a project, add costs or lead to escapes.

A brand management team that treats and trains all employees to be brand ambassadors has an easier time during a brand rollout. Gathering information and creating buy-in at the start of the brand rollout process speeds up the Assessment and Conversion process, which also reduces costs. And, by preventing escapes, the only comments you’ll hear are, “Good job, brand management team!”