The Seven Key Steps to Brand Implementation

Developing a new brand demands so much effort. Research, touchpoint analysis, positioning, brand architecture, naming conventions, logo design, ID guidelines, and more all provide the framework. Then comes the task of physically bringing the brand to life, both in the way an organization looks and the way it acts. Each of these areas takes careful planning and execution to maximize the investment and ensure the long-term brand sustainability.

There are, of course, hundreds of considerations and variables common to implementing any type of brand. We’ve boiled that list down to seven. The sequence of activities will vary by project, approval structure, and the conversion timeframe, but these areas are generally universal throughout brand development, implementation and launch programs.

1. Build buy-in from the top down
Visible support from the C suite is a critical element for success. However, a CEO prioritizing the initiative has to be complemented by the engagement of key management across the organization. Involving the right people and instiling a feeling of collective ownership in the process.

2. Communicate clearly and often
Define the reason for change in simple, compelling language, and emphasize its strong relationship to the core business strategy. This isn’t a new coat of paint; it’s part of a long-term business plan to ensure the success of the organization. Which is why you should keep on keeping everyone in the loop: an internal communications plan educates, engages and enhances support for the brand when it’s launched externally.

3. Present a plan, stick to the scope
Draft a rollout strategy and a high-level timeline to share with decision makers for their input. Even a rough outline, establishes a spine for the initiative and dilutes doubt about its success. Then you can define the project scope and objectives in detailed terms – milestones, budgets, responsibilities – and manage tightly to that structure.

4. Get a get-it-done team together
Build an implementation team by sourcing the right people with the knowledge, the perspective and the time to get the job accomplished, and make sure that they’re fully backed and empowered by executive management.

5. Know the lead times
After developing the timeline, prioritize key assets to convert and plan for long production lead-times in labor-intensive areas such as systems and signage.

6. Set appropriate expectations
Make sure that everyone knows what will happen when. This is especially important for communicating which elements will be re-branded for the launch. With most conversions being done in phases these days, employees and the market should understand when things will change.

7. Don’t break the bank
Determine how to achieve the required launch volume level in a cost-effective manner. Minimize the budget by adopting business-as-usual processes wherever possible, with conversion occurring at reorder. Identify timing for regular updates, reprints, upgrades, etc., and use those opportunities if legal requirements don’t dictate an “all at once” change.

Brand implementation is about the plan and the people.

A successful, sustainable launch depends on a strategy-based plan with clear objectives and a realistic schedule; plus the involvement of the right people at the right time, with visible executive management support and commitment to getting the job done.

To learn more about building an intelligent and impactful brand implementation program, contact:

Bob Loughhead | [email protected] | 303-941-0821