Rebranding: Managing Change

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A change of identity will be welcomed by some and disliked by others, so it needs to be managed. Everyone within an organisation must be involved in an identity project in some way and understand why the project is going ahead.

If people are expected to embrace change and run with it in the long term they need to be introduced to it in a way that is encouraging and not threatening. People need to be ‘sold’ on the idea.

Many businesses’s that decide to review and make changes to their identity are successful and have been in their industry for many years. Previous to looking into achieving a focused and manageable identity, things have usually been done in a more or less reactive manner, with many people in the business having input, all who have different ideas. If this is the case, then a new identity will conflict with this way of working.

How To Manage The Change
Involve key staff in the process. The sales team are great to ask questions to as they represent the business on a daily basis and will be able to give a good idea as to the strengths and weaknesses of the business. Your consultant should be working one-on-one with selected staff members to get their viewpoint.

If you have regular staff meetings, you can provide an update on the progress of the project. You might consider a notice board where draft designs can be seen by staff. You could also include an easy way for staff to give comments and suggestions. One thing to keep in mind though is that identity projects are killed by committee.

People within the organisation need to be encouraged to give their opinions, but a steering group of no more than 5 people need to work together and make decisions. The make up of your group is usually influenced by the structure of the company.

The group should include the CEO (or equivalent), Marketing or Sales Manager, CFO (or equivalent), and the brand consultant to help steer the group.

Brand Management
An identity or brand manual is a reference on how to apply and present the company’s image. It should cover the visual, verbal, physical and intangible aspects of the brand and provide clear guidance on how to manage it. It can cover items such as logo usage, what fonts to use, legal requirements such as trademark laws, language usage, marketing guidelines, even down to what paper stocks to use.

An identity manual might be thought of as a ‘procedures manual for image’. They should not be so limiting that it stifles creativity. They should guide, not present unworkable barriers. Manuals are an important reference but can sometimes create a negative reaction by those who see it as an unnecessary control on them.

Having the manual endorsed by the senior leadership is not enough.  The CEO needs to give a presentation to the staff to explain why the company has decided to make changes. It is also wise for them to do a follow up with the staff a few months after the launch to ensure things are going smoothly.

A brand that is clearly explained and managed before and after its launch, will have greater success through the support of all staff.


© Hamish Chadwick, Image Substation 2009