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Perspectives on Branding and Identity from Franke+Fiorella
Issue No.33

Engaging Leadership

Revitalizing a brand and developing a visual identity system that supports it, whether for a product, brand or an organization, touches everyone by the time it’s implemented. And, it’s no secret that it requires a substantial investment—both in dollars and personnel.

Because of this, successful identity redesigns typically don’t move forward without senior leadership support. If it’s a brand you’re revitalizing—be sure the head of the business is on board and supports you with both people and money. If it’s a corporate identity you’re embarking upon, the brand champion must be your CEO.

Some organizations are fortunate to have senior leadership drive change at the brand level and understand the price tag associated with making these changes. They are passionate about their brands and they engage the organization.

In other organizations we’ve seen our clients wrestle with one of the following scenarios on more than one occasion:

  1. They know that in order to remain competitive, they need to revitalize their brand. But senior leadership isn’t aware of the need, or the costs associated with it.
  2. Senior leadership has given the “go ahead” to revitalize a brand, but funding and the personnel support never materializes.

What can you do if you fall into one of the latter categories? Below are our recommendations:

Gather the facts. Collect as much information as possible that will support your initiative. Interview companies that have embarked upon a similar endeavor. If they aren’t your competitors, they may be willing to share more information than you think, including budget, timing, personnel needs and potential difficulties to avoid. Don’t be shy. Ask.

Sell your idea. Determine your senior leadership’s level of brand and marketing savvy. Develop a plan, and sell. Find every opportunity to get information pertaining to brand and visual identity in front of them. Use all means necessary, and be creative. This is not for the timid. Be bold.

Speak in their language, not yours. Ultimately, the bottom line is what matters. Senior leadership needs to know how this investment in brand will improve the balance sheet and the stock price. Look at both the short—and long—term. Find any research that's available and cite facts. Remember to keep it simple. Present information succinctly. And, be confident.

Involve senior leadership early and often. Once you’ve successfully engaged them, include senior leadership in the identity development process at the very beginning and thereafter. They are the ultimate owners of the brand and absolutely must be in support of any and all initiatives. Getting their perspective early will go a long way in ensuring adequate support and a smooth identity development process.

So, if your senior leadership isn’t engaged and you see the need to revitalize a brand, gather your facts, sell your idea in their language and above all, be bold and confident. If you’re not passionate, no one else will be.

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