First, What is Brand Implementation?
The brand implementation process consists of designing, planning, installing, and maintaining various assets at your physical locations. It ensures you uphold positive experiences for customers and employees.
These physical assets include interior and exterior signage, wayfinding signage throughout your facilities and exterior spaces, any digital graphics, your interior and exterior lighting systems, and of course, the physical spaces themselves. Elements such as fixtures, flooring, restrooms, coolers, counters, and displays, and just about every other aspect of a facility interior or exterior all combine to engage customers’ and employees’ senses — creating an impression that will either make or break their relationship with your brand.
Brand implementation is typically executed at scale, such as when an organization needs to rebrand itself, decides to open or relocate a number of facilities, or is looking to save on collective energy costs. But when organizations have more than one facility throughout their footprint, navigating the brand implementation process rapidly becomes difficult.
A number of things can go wrong from the start, ranging from not planning at the program level and neglecting to consider all of the construction and electrical requirements of each phase to missing region-specific essentials like code stipulations and permits. These problems are magnified when brand implementation is managed by inexperienced professionals or teams that don’t understand the impact of physical brand assets on people’s impressions of your organization.
In the end, the program costs the organization more, takes significantly longer to complete, is haphazardly managed, creates frustration for internal team members and contractors, causes confusion for customers and employees, and potentially even impacts your ability to operate locations during peak sales periods. It’s for these reasons that the brand implementation process is best left to the professionals.
With the right team at the helm, your brand implementation process will be executed more efficiently, cost-effectively, and in keeping with the goals you’re looking to achieve for your organization. Let’s explore a few of the ways that an experienced partner delivers ideal solutions for brand implementation programs.
1. It Must Begin and End with Focused Goals
Every brand implementation process — and partner — should be focused around producing specific outcomes. For example, when it comes to LED upgrades and retrofits, the goal is to reduce annual energy costs from outdated lighting systems as well as costs pertaining to lighting maintenance. By investing in an LED retrofit, both of these areas see more savings over time due to more efficient equipment. These savings can be used to calculate ROI and to identify the point at which the spend is repaid by savings created.
On the refresh & remodel side, the goal is most often related to improving the customer experience. Certain industries such as restaurants and hospitality must periodically refresh their physical locations to ensure they’re appealing to consumers’ changing tastes and preferences. While not as easily quantifiable as annual energy savings, ensuring that every location throughout your footprint provides an enjoyable, engaging experience is paramount to success. Working with a proven partner on your brand implementation process ensures you’ll be aligned on defined, meaningful goals.
2. Consistency Across the Footprint is Key
One of the greatest challenges with the brand implementation process is understanding how everything fits together. It’s unlikely that every location throughout your footprint is completely the same — even if they’re all branded appropriately. Minor fluctuations in building design, signage options, interior layout, energy requirements, and asset availability mean that a brand implementation program will have to account for minor variances in design, logistics, installation, and more to create a consistent, cohesive result.
In these instances, being proactive is key. Full due diligence and analysis of each location to be included in the program is essential. With the right brand implementation partner, all of this information will be gathered up front via site audits. This may be done on-site at each location or remotely depending on the work needed and the number of locations.
3. Effective Management is Everything
Do your in-house facility or project managers have experience leading brand implementations at numerous locations at the program level (see here for a quick rundown on the difference between program and project management)? If not, your brand implementation process is bound to experience some serious setbacks. You’ll likely run into roadblocks that weren’t foreseen because people don’t know what they don’t know, and things could easily spiral out of control from there.
Effective program management with dedicated account contacts and on-site supervision of contractors is absolutely essential to the success of a multisite rebrand or update program. Working with a brand implementation partner that utilizes in-house staff and program managers to see your initiative through to completion ensures that contractors, materials, timelines, and communications are handled efficiently by knowledgeable professionals that know what steps to take from start to finish and should any issues arise. They will be able to confidently navigate changes while understanding how they impact the overall process.
4. The Execution Will Be on Point
While goals, program management, and consistency are key components of the brand implementation process, it all comes down to the execution. To ensure your program goes off without a hitch, you’ll need a variety of contractors, vendors, and suppliers across the program footprint. Identifying, vetting, and coordinating with multiple vendors is a significant undertaking — one that will take days and weeks per site to be updated.
The sheer investment of time required here would overwhelm even the most experienced in-house teams, which is why working with a brand implementation company that already has established relationships with various field partners is a strategic advantage. These companies will have proven themselves as reliable and efficient to be included in the program and can be trusted to execute any brand implementation needs according to the established schedule. Your program management team will manage these partners thoroughly, and thanks to their experience together, they’ll be able to rapidly identify and quote with the best companies throughout your footprint.
5. Measurement: Bringing It All Together
Remember the first advantage to working with a proven partner for your brand implementation process? Defined goals with clear results? Achieving this isn’t possible without the proper solutions for technology and measurement. Even if your program is completed on time or even ahead of schedule, what did it achieve? Sure, the work is done, but did you achieve your energy savings goals? Did you accomplish your goal of improving the customer experience? Did you have access to everything you needed along the way to understand where costs and projects stood?
Clearly, you need to be informed about the brand implementation process along the way to know whether you’re moving closer toward your goals. Advanced technology that allows for field partner reporting, accessing documentation per site, and reporting on overall status is essential to quantifying and reporting on the outcome of your program. Work with a company that offers these solutions and uses them in-house for every initiative.
Entrust Your Brand Implementation to the Experts
It’s important to remember that every brand implementation is a reflection of your brand itself. You are executing what your brand represents, and if anything falls through the cracks, the image you project will be tarnished in the minds and experiences of consumers and your employees. Ensure it’s well-received with the right brand implementation partner.
At Stratus, we work with some of the largest brands in the country across multiple industries on their brand implementation programs. From financial services and convenience stores to retailers and government institutions, our team identifies ideal solutions from infinite opportunities and executes them reliably, consistently, and with unmatched quality — whether we’re working at a few sites or a few hundred (or more).