In a fast-paced world, brand transformation is inevitable. Companies must adapt to a changing environment and market. Transformation, of course, brings risks. That is why the role of branding agencies in the whole process is so important.
Brand transformation and the pandemic
The pandemic that broke out last year has greatly affected the dynamics of change in global markets and brand transformation.
According to the March 2021 Global Capital Confidence Barometer report, as many as 92% of surveyed senior executives from global companies say that COVID-19 directly impacted corporate profitability. Interestingly, 49% of them still plan to merge companies and make a brand transformation (either through mergers or acquisitions services) in the next 12 months.
Therefore, it can be assumed that the number of brands that will undergo a minor or major brand transformation will not decrease, and may even increase as a result of the crisis.
According to Philip Kotler [Ph. Kotler, Marketing, Warszawa 2005, p. 42], the strength of a brand results from the fact that it is a specific image present in the customer’s consciousness, evoked by the product’s specific features, the visual brand identity, and the company’s communication strategy and methods. The impression arises in the consumer’s mind at the thought of the product or service.
We should remember that the brand is part of the company’s capital. It has a great marketing significance, therefore it does not change often.
Types of brand transformation
However, there are situations in which brand transformation is necessary. It can have many versions. The three most popular are rebranding, brand transformation as a result of merger or acquisition, and joint ventures.
The first of these – rebranding – is a strategic, coordinated change to the key elements of one brand to strengthen its position.
The need for a new identity can also result from a brand merger. A situation where two separate entities merge, remain equal to each other and together form a new entity. Other options are company and brand acquisitions when one organization absorbs another into its structure.
The last one is a joint venture when two or more companies come together for some specific purpose.
Branding agency and brand tranformation
Each of these brand strategies is more likely to succeed with the involvement of a branding agency. Support in changing the visual side and brand communication is essential. In the case of an acquisition, one of the companies takes over the existing brand and concentrates on its implementation.
The brand implementation of a new identity can be a challenge. Especially in large, complex organizations. The needs of users and brand audiences and their habits must be taken into account. When it comes to joint ventures, rebranding or laying the foundations and new brand guidelines, design, visual identity, and creative services are of great importance.
Pillars of brand migration
The migration of a brand, especially one operating in an international environment, is quite a logistical and procedural challenge. The preparation of the migration process itself can take up to several months. The full transformation of the company will take even longer (depending on the chosen strategy), as it has to cover many areas of the business activity. According to CBS News, as many as 83% of migration processes fail. To avoid this, three essential pillars of brand migration need to be considered.
1. Brand equity transfer
This is the migration of the marketing added value built up by the brand. It is extremely important not to lose the position of the brand with the change of identity. Neither in the market nor consumers’ minds.
It is important to remember that brand transformation is not only about changing the logo or the letterhead. From the receiver’s or employee’s point of view, it also includes advertising campaigns, marketing materials, internal communication (often extensive in corporations), and the entire visual language of the brand, as well as offices (usually lavishly branded), a car fleet, and work clothes.
2. Brand positioning in the new structure
When an existing brand enters a new umbrella brand structure it must find a place for itself. This is of considerable importance for maintaining the brand’s identity and the employees, customers, and partners who create it. It is worth structuring the processes in such a way that every interested person knows where they can find materials and to whom they should report questions or doubts.
This is why the support of a branding agency, brand governance, special e-mail box, a brand advisory team, a professional repository of brand materials, or regular information meetings are so important.
3. Talent migration
In the course of brand migration, it is also extremely important to ensure that employees and partners have a sense that the processes are being conducted stably and responsibly. It is worth communicating these things appropriately so that members of the brand community still feel secure.
The role of a branding agency
It is good to invest in a professional, trusted partner who will take care of the visual side and the brand communication. Someone who will be a support in the process of brand implementation the change throughout the organization. Such a partner is often a branding agency.
To facilitate brand-related changes for its customers, Admind has developed its own method of working with transformation processes – Smart Brand Migration. It includes the four key elements that form the basis of the process: definition, design and iteration, standardization, and communication. These have been developed to support both employees and company objectives during the change. These principles have, for example, facilitated one of our client’s Hitachi smooth acquisition of Power Grids, formerly owned by ABB.
In Admind we:
- have developed workshop tools to work with customers to map their needs and priorities as accurately as possible or a Brand Health Check,
- place a great emphasis on working closely with the organization to get as deep as possible into the subject and understand the specifics of the brand,
- create multidisciplinary teams that work only for a specific customer, engage fully, and provide a wide range of brand services. From animation and printed materials, to 3D and digital projects.