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We’ve been very fortunate as of late. The last two companies we rebranded were both sold for over a billion dollars a little over a year after we finished our project with them. People have asked us what we attribute this success to. I wish I could say we had a hot hand. But the fact is, like any great outcome, it takes two to tango (for better or worse, just ask Accenture and Hertz). And while Cayan and Quick Base were about the same (mid) size and in totally different verticals, the thing that they really shared was the way in which they worked with us–and I think this is what led to successful outcomes.
The first thing they shared were strong leaders managing the projects internally. They were respected and had a reputation for getting things done and connecting people in the organization. They could manage up, down and across, and get resources aligned to push changes through the organization. They motivated others and they motivated us – and quite frankly, people showed up to their meetings and came prepared.
Next, they had strong teams that worked well together. Rebranding reaches across many disciplines in an organization (from Legal to Product Packaging, to PR to HR to Tradeshow Production). The extended teams in both of these organizations worked well together. There were no fiefdoms or territories – you could tell they genuinely respected each other and liked working together. And this is a big help all around. It is hard enough to get aligned on strategy and design of a rebrand. It is even harder when you have to navigate through the politics at the same time.
Finally, they were focused on execution. And that is not to say that they did not enjoy the more exploratory or open phases of the design process – they did. But they could always see or understand the implications for execution – and if there was a problem or concern, they would either try to figure it out or work with us to do this. So many times in design processes, teams focus on a single aspect and can’t see the forest through the trees. It happens–a lot of time can get spent looking at a font or a color – when what you really need to do is pressure test it in a few executions to see how it is working (or not working). These teams knew this and would pick up our work and try it on for size, rather than simply raise concerns without exploring. It made it extremely quick to go from design to production without handoff.
There were many other great things about these projects. But one of the key things is, it takes about 9 months from start to finish for a comprehensive rebrand process. And while I feel I have made some lifelong friends, the thing we ultimately need to remember is that great branding, like any other initiative, is a product of the people who touch it. It’s not just the designers or project leads, but the complete cast of people who commit to help support what they help create.
You work a lot together, and a lot of it is having teams that share values and respect each other. It can be stressful and daunting for some people. But I always think it is important to remember, it’s fortunate and lucky to go through a rebrand process, and one thing that makes it even better is going through it with great friends.