Creating a brand is like deciding to flip the switch on your company.
A brand breathes life into a business; gives it depth, strategy, and opportunity for growth thanks to a more powerful presence, an engaging personality, and consistent marketing efforts. Without a brand, your company is an unrecognisable entity – like a vending machine spitting out unremarkable products.
No matter how powerful your marketing or services might be, without a brand, there’s nothing to tie your efforts together, and nothing to inspire loyalty in the hearts of your customers. A brand implementation strategy is your opportunity to share your identity in a way that’s reliable, consistent, and manageable.
When you’ve already spent months working alongside an expert branding agency to determine your tone of voice, marketing mix, and brand image, the last thing you want is a chaotic implementation that leaves your customers, stakeholders, and employees in a state of confusion and panic. The good news is that creating an implementation plan can help you keep disasters to a minimum, streamline your rollout, and ensure long-term brand sustainability.
Since there’s a lot to consider in rolling out your brand, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on how to create an implementation plan that’s both powerful, and practical.
What is a brand implementation strategy?
The first step in understanding how to create an implementation plan is working out what a “brand rollout” is.
Creating an implementation plan involves looking at all the elements you’ve created for your new, or redesigned brand, and considering how you’re going to introduce them to the world in a calculated and effective manner. This will include addressing visual aspects of your brand identity, such as logo design, how you’re presenting your differentiating factors in your marketing mix, and more.
Just as you should have created a plan to help establish the framework for the birth of your new brand, your brand implementation strategy should make it easier for you to manage all the internal, external, organisational, and financial concerns that go into rolling out a new brand. Creating an implementation plan is your chance to determine how your branding objectives will be delivered according to set deadlines, budget constraints, and expectations.
It all begins with a few simple questions, such as:
Learning how to create an implementation plan means evaluating all the costs, timeframes, responsibilities and tasks that lie ahead when making your new brand work. An implementation plan can also outline the priorities for each branded rollout, along with a risk mitigation strategy, communications plan, and resource plan.
What you need before brand implementation
Before you can begin deciding how to roll out your new brand, you’ll need to make sure that you have all the appropriate elements prepared to shape your corporate identity. This will include things like your brand manifesto, your logo, your marketing campaigns, and even your company colours. Go through your branding materials and ensure that each of the following is consistent with the overall perception you want to achieve for your brand:
1. Your brand identity
Your brand identity is more than just your company name. Before you begin creating an implementation plan, make sure that you and any company shareholders are fully aware of “who” and “what” your brand is. That means that you should have all the following elements:
Remember, each of the above branding features should support and enhance the “image” of your brand that you want to create. Make sure that nothing looks, or sounds out of place before you start your brand implementation strategy.
2. Your brand guides
When it comes to learning how to create an implementation plan, it’s important to remember that consistency is crucial. Any discrepancy in the way that you present your brand could leave you looking unprofessional, and damage your company reputation. With that in mind, brand guides can be the best way to make sure that you maintain your identity effectively. Since a lot of work goes into dictating your corporate image, a brand guide can ensure that your brand implementation strategy stays on track. Your brand guide should include all the elements that are needed to carry out consistent company communications.
3. Your digital presence
Finally, a successful brand implementation strategy requires a strong consideration of how you’re going to manage your digital presence. Before you begin rolling out your brand, make sure that you have a powerful, easy-to-navigate website, and a strategy in place for how you’re going to build brand awareness online. This might include a strategy for email marketing, social media marketing, or content production.
How to create an implementation plan: Steps for success
Once you’ve got all your brand elements in hand, you’ll be ready to start creating an implementation plan with influence. Remember, in today’s digital world, your company name and logo will live on a variety of platforms, from traditional media to social media accounts. It’s tough to simply “flip the switch” and watch everything fall into place.
Showing off your shiny new brand requires careful planning, which is where a brand implementation strategy comes into place. Here are a few of the things you’ll need to consider when creating an implementation plan:
Creating an implementation plan step 1: Your timeline
Before you can introduce your new or re-created brand to the world, you need to figure out where and when you’re going to start sharing your message. If you’re implementing a new brand for a “rebranding” campaign, then you’ll need to update existing sales materials, marketing communications, outreach materials, and signage. If you’re starting an entirely new brand, then you’ll need to make sure that you have all those elements prepared and ready for implementation.
Work with your team to figure out all the touch points you need to create for your company, and then designate a plan of action that will ensure you’re ready for your brand rollout deadline. Remember, be realistic with your schedule, a great brand takes time.
Creating an implementation plan step 2: The need-to-know sequence
Potentially the most important step in making sure nothing falls through the cracks with your brand implementation strategy, make sure that you’ve taken the time to thoroughly identify all of your external and internal audience members, including the media, customers, employees, vendors, partners, and shareholders.
Think about how you’re going to introduce each member in your “need-to-know” sequence about your new brand. Internal audiences always come first, as they will help you to create a more consistent roll out plan when it comes to introducing your brand to your external audience.
When figuring out how to create an implementation plan, your goal is to figure out how you can best connect with each audience group in your sequence. For instance, you might rollout your brand for customers with signage, social media, and a digital campaign, but you can’t take the same approach with your shareholders.
Creating an implementation plan step 3: Your launch plan
Once you’ve identified key touch points for your brand implementation strategy, and which audiences you need to connect with first, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to tell the story of your brand in a way that’s going to demonstrate value and engage your audiences. This will help to give your brand launch more of a lasting impact and ensure that you take the limelight off your competitors – even if that’s only temporarily.
Your launch plan might also help you to figure out how you’re going to continue with your marketing communications for the next few months after you roll out your brand. Your communication plan might include steps for brand recognition and awareness, such as an email announcement list, or social media posts.
Additional points to remember
When you’ve completed the three steps above, you’ll be ready to go into more detail with your final launch calendar, with ideas of when you can launch your deliverables according to a specific timeline. However, it’s important to make sure that you don’t get ahead of yourself. Many businesses find themselves struggling when figuring out how to create an implementation plan because they’re so excited to jump into that final “launch” that they forget to double-check their plan for consistency and strength.
Before you jump the gun, take the following section on additional prep-work into consideration. Trust us, you’ll thank yourself for the fore-thought later.
Creating an implementation plan: Prepping for identity updates
Spending hours, days, or even weeks on learning how to create an implementation plan with value might not seem like the most productive way to spend your time before a big brand launch. However, the right plan can save you from some pretty disastrous results in those valuable days when you’re giving the world their very first impression of your brand.
If you want everyone in your target audience to know your name, then you need to start with the boring stuff, and that means working out a careful, and manageable brand implementation strategy. Remember, when done correctly, rolling out a new brand can be an invigorating experience, that inspires a new community of followers to raise your brand up into the stratosphere. Unfortunately, when you don’t have a brand implementation strategy to guide your efforts, you could end up with an inconsistent, confusing roll out that hampers the impact of your brand for years to come.
Here are a few tips to help you make sure that you’re creating an implementation plan that’s right for your business:
Brand implementation strategy tip 1: Solidify your plan
You might think that you have the perfect plan for a great brand rollout, but take the time to go back over your timeline, and ask yourself if there’s anything you might have missed. Remember, your plan should be backed from all the executives at the top of your company – not just your marketing department. It’s up to the leaders in your business to inspire the teams below them and help them to bring your unique brand experience to life at every customer touchpoint.
Make sure you have:
All your brand materials (logo, website, colours, brand guides, etc).
Brand implementation strategy tip 2: Make internal communication a priority
When figuring out how to create an implementation plan, make sure you decide how you’re going to get everyone inside your company on the same level. The successful rollout of any brand – new or old, requires commitment and understanding from every level of your company. If there’s a lack of clarity in your corporate culture, then you run the risk of launching a brand that’s inconsistent and destined for failure.
Remember, your people can’t be committed and passionate about your brand’s purpose until they fully understand it. If you’re concerned that your internal people don’t understand what you’re trying to create with your new brand, this might be the time to update your brand manifesto and call together some internal meetings where you can discuss any concerns or confusion that might damage your implementation strategy.
Brand implementation strategy Tip 3: Decide how you’ll engage your community
The key to creating an implementation plan that’s poised for success is making sure that you can help your community embrace the identity, and idea you’ve created. Most of the time, writing a plan to engage your community will require a lot more than simply starting a blog and writing a few marketing articles to help get your name out there.
Make sure that everyone in your company understands your brand story before you begin your rollout, and determine how you’re going to share that story with your target audience – either in digital announcements, offline events, or a combination of the two. Once you’ve officially rolled out your brand, remember that it’s important to have an idea of how you’re going to continue communicating your values over the next twelve to eighteen months. This might mean designing a style-guide, creating a calendar of upcoming events and content, or scheduling important changes.
Consistency is key to your brand implementation strategy
One of the most important lessons you’ll need to learn when discovering how to create an implementation plan is that consistency is critical to the success of any brand rollout.
As we’ve noted before here at Fabrik – every company has a brand, regardless of whether they choose to control that brand or not. Your brand is what people perceive your company to be – the characteristics that they associate with your name, and the perception they get when they see your logo. Each brand experience influences the way your customers feel about your company, which is why a good brand always requires a successful strategy.
Since your brand implementation strategy is your way of “introducing” your company to the world, you need to make sure that you’re introducing the same personality and features across every communication touch point. In other words, your customers should feel the same way when they see your brand launch on your social media channels, website, or even in your brick-and-mortar store.
So, why does consistency matter when creating an implementation plan?
Consistency helps to influence customer perceptions: By introducing the same familiar tone, images, and personality to your customers over time, you can shape the way people think about your business. Consistency promotes stability, purpose, and professionalism.
Brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, and even Google have managed to maintain consistency over the years – even with subtle changes to their design and logos. This is because a brand is more than its visual appearance – it’s everything that represents your company, from the content that upholds your mission, to the products you sell. Creating an implementation plan is your chance to make sure that you have the consistency you need for a truly sustainable brand.
Here are three ways you can introduce consistency to your brand implementation strategy:
1. Make sure you understand your mission
Right from the beginning, your brand image and identity should link back to your core values. If you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish with your company (besides making money), then how will you know what success looks like?
Think about your brand values and ask yourself whether every aspect of your identity reflects what you’re trying to accomplish. For instance, if you’re a company devoted to making technology simpler for businesses, does your name highlight your value? Does your logo represent the essence of your company? Can your customers see your identity in the style of your communications and the structure of your website? Once you have your mission in mind, you’ll be able to make sure that everything you do serves the same purpose.
2. Create a style guide
A style guide is more than just a way to make sure that you’re engaging your audience with your content strategies. By constructing a style guide as part of your brand implementation strategy, you’ll make sure your entire business has a resource they can refer back to when determining what’s “right” and “relevant” for your company. Style guides can change from one business to the next, but most should include the following information:
Typography – including any custom fonts, and what type you’ll use in your blog content, website, offline media, and more.
3. Make your brand authentic
A brand extends beyond what your customers see, and that’s something you’ll discover when learning how to create an implementation plan. Consistency comes from everyone on your team, and it’s much easier to access the same tone for your messaging if your brand is authentic.
Try to create your brand built on values that all the executives or leaders in your team share. This will ensure that you’re better equipped to deliver a stronger brand implementation strategy while reducing your chances of inconsistency at the same time. Today’s customers want a brand that they can believe in. An authentic brand begins at the point of creating an implementation plan, so make sure that you leave any “fakeness” behind.
Brand implementation brings your brand to life
A brand implementation strategy is all about introducing your brand to the world in a careful and measurable way. It involves thinking about the best way to communicate with your audience and making sure that you have the resources you need to provide a consistent experience that reflects the brands positioning, attitude, and values.
Though creating an implementation plan can be crucial to building a powerful brand, and ensuring that your company has a strong enough foundation for future growth, this step is often overlooked by over-eager companies.
While it’s tempting to race through the branding process and get to the “more exciting” parts like advertising, and design, it’s important to remember that the right brand implementation strategy can help you to ensure success for the future of your company, by making sure that you present your brand as a unified whole across countless touch points.
Without an implementation plan, you might spend years trying to catch up with your competitors, but with a solid strategy, you could have everything you need to outshine them from the moment you launch your brand.
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