We’ve all witnessed some of Australia’s biggest companies undergo a brand change recently; Woolworths and ANZ are two giants that instantly come to mind. As someone whose daily task is often advising how to implement change, I tend to pay pretty close attention to how these massive overhauls are implemented. Believe it or not, the change process is not that dissimilar, regardless of whether you employ 10 people or 10,000. The only real difference is money, and the degree of national media coverage (which means we can all learn from the big guys’ very public mistakes!)

In my usual blog style, I’d like to offer you a bit of advice for a brand

Before discussing a brand change-implementation program, it’s important to remind yourself of the reasons for the change. Are you changing business direction? Are you looking into new product ranges/service areas? Are you wanting to tap into a new target market or growing trend? The reasons why should dictate your change program, where you start, and where you finish.

Let’s also talk for a minute about budgeting. One of the most common mistakes so many companies make is forgetting to budget for change. Most will allow a certain amount for the brand re-design process, but forget about what happens with it from there. If you’re thinking about a brand change, get with your accountant and assign a sum for the re-design, and then a sum for the roll-out process. If you have no idea how much to allocate, talk to us before doing it. But, it all comes back to the reason for the change. If you need to emerge as a new, refreshed company to take advantage of a new opportunity – then you need to act fast, and do it properly! In addition, a gradual, one-business-card-at-a-time approach will send a confused message to your customers and also your staff, and cost you more in the long run (there are always economies of scale in producing a whole suite of items in one hit). This is not me trying to get you to spend more money – it’s just common sense! Change always creates potential for failure, which is why a lot of organisations spend their days avoiding it. Everything I’m suggesting is about minimising that potential for failure.

Another really important point, that again is often overlooked, is managing what exists first – and that means your staff and your current customers. It is very important that these two groups of people know what is going on – otherwise you risk losing their trust. You don’t necessarily need to show them the new logo before anyone else – but just let them know that change is occurring, and if you can, tell them why. As an ANZ customer, I received an email about 2 weeks prior to the official public launch of their new logo, letting me know that change was a-foot. Often, a change process is an opportunity to re-energise your people and your current customers – so get them excited!

A final recommendation is to consider timing and to set yourself a date where 100% of your organisation has changed over. After this date no-one should ever be exposed to your previous look. Managing this is extremely important. You need to be aware of where your previous logo has been circulated – as an example – you might sponsor a local footy club and have your logo on a sign around the edge of the oval. Consumer confusion is the biggest reason for a complete change, but also there is a simple issue of looking like you do things properly! Taking an ad-hoc approach will create this sort of attitude: ‘if you can’t do things properly, then you can’t service me properly’.

Of course, change is much more than these few things I have spoken about. But this is where all change processes should start.

I’ll share something with you that I try to remember every day:
change is an opportunity.