Planning for a Brand Transition

So, you’ve determined that it’s time to take a look at your company branding. Maybe you’ve celebrated a merger, acquisition or a leadership transition. Your existing branding efforts no longer work seamlessly with reality. The prospect of overhauling something so ingrained to create something new can seem like a monstrous, impossible task… especially considering that during a brand transition, you’ll need to continue marketing your organization and maintaining operations and profitability. It’s not like you can drop everything to rebrand.

To tackle this all-encompassing and seemingly-overwhelming project, Covalent Logic utilizes a brand transition roadmap. This document serves as a robust guide through the labyrinth to produce a consolidated brand identity, company culture and communications. Our guiding principles for this process are:

Culture is about core values and business goals. Without defined goals and values, uniform brand identity application will not create exponential returns.

Brand comes from within. The goal is to think like one company, not necessary look or act like a monolith.

Identity is more than marketing. Decisions outside of communications, especially legal, human resources, IT and other operational issues have massive brand effects. While defining the brand is owned by communications, implementing the brand is everyone’s responsibility.

Anticipation and expectation can be leveraged for good. Transparency of roadmap progress is essential during the transition. Managers and team members need to know what’s coming and how it will affect their current projects.

Application should be simultaneous across divisions. Implementing each step across all divisions reinforces thinking like one company. Completing one division at a time undermines the cohesive force of alliance.

Plan comprehensively. Do not leave questions unanswered and items unaddressed. Where flexibility is allowed, set a policy to create clarity rather than uncertainty.

So, where does one begin? With research! More than just an attractive façade applied ad hoc to the surface of materials, a true brand conveys the essence, character, purpose and value of your organization. Creating and establishing a strong brand is a process. If developed properly, managed and communicated effectively, your brand can help you achieve company goals and objectives by guiding all strategic programs going forward.

It’s important to consider the input of key stakeholders, company leadership, employees and your target audience. You’ll need a bird’s-eye view from multiple vantage points to determine where you are and where your brand should go.

After you’ve done your research, the brand transition roadmap lays out a path toward uniting design and communications materials. Consistent application of internal and corporate communications, plus sales and marketing materials is key. This roadmap will include a description of consolidation to take place, identify the responsible party and provide a Gantt chart of the timeline. Ideally, the roadmap will be a living document, available to all company personnel to understand the process and timing of brand application.

There will be many items on your brand transition roadmap that can be executed by your existing staff and resources. However, an experienced creative partner with advanced skills in graphic design, public relations, copywriting and web development will alleviate much of the stress involved with navigating a brand transition. This partner can implement many of the items identified on your roadmap so that you can focus on your business.

In the immortal words of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t Panic.”

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