A Simple Guide to Managing a National Rebrand
The decision to begin a corporate rebranding exercise is rarely taken lightly. From evolving fashions to expanding service provision, there are many reasons why a firm might decide to change their brand. These may include a takeover, natural growth, or simply a realisation that existing branding is no longer achieving the desired objectives.

Once the decision has been made to rebrand, it’s important to streamline the process as far as possible. Customers shouldn’t be confused about an evolution in your firm’s identity – indeed, they should be reassured by it. However, that requires a smooth transition from old to new, which is a huge logistical challenge for any company with a prominent profile. The complexities of simultaneously replacing everything from POS materials to projection signs at multiple locations can be daunting to a company unfamiliar with such processes.

Merson-ASG have spent the last 75 years helping our clients with signage manufacture and installation, and during this time, we’ve learned the importance of internal research. Once a decision has been taken to rebrand, you simply can’t have too much information about what will be required. For instance, a bank may have to change everything from the strips above its ATM machines and cash desks to its stationery and pens.

As well as listing the vital statistics for every new sign, it’s crucial to identify any variations beyond specifications head office might regard as ‘standard’. It would be tempting to assume every retail outlet has the exact same size and style of external signage, for example. This is unlikely for reasons ranging from the physical constraints of adapted buildings to the planning regulations in certain areas; these might preclude the use of particular materials, or require certain colours to be adopted for harmony with the surroundings.

Continuing with the external signage example, some signs might be illuminated from above while others are backlit or not lit up at all. Are different methods used to physically affix lettering or signage strips, and can these be standardised across the company? That’s not just a beneficial move for this rebrand – it’ll also reduce the diversity of specifications in any future rebranding exercises…

It’s important is to consider how your new logo, colour palette, font and (optional) slogan can be replicated in shapes and spaces that will vary widely. For instance, projection signs outside retail units are traditionally square, whereas fascia signs will be an order of magnitude wider than they are tall. This is where the effective use of colour can be useful – a company name and logo might look lost at one side of a white strip banner, whereas centring them against a coloured background creates a sense of style and purpose. Again, it will be necessary to liaise with each outlet or store to clarify the exact quantities and dimensions for every replacement part before placing a full order. It’s always preferable to get an order right first time, rather than regularly revising it – which can increase costs, delays and stress levels all at once.

Once the materials have been manufactured, the final challenge involves rolling out new signage in every location. Try to publicise this weeks in advance, advising customers of the changes while reassuring them that customer service will be unaffected. To avoid patchy rollouts, carry out the rebranding simultaneously around the country – ideally at weekends, and through the night if necessary. Merson-ASG can even assist with temporary cover signs, maintaining existing branding until its replacement is ready for a national reveal. The cost of tackling multiple locations at once (or in quick succession) will be outweighed by the benefits of a rapid transition – which is a good news story that can be also used for PR purposes…