Things to bear in mind on corporate branding projects
We have worked on a number of corporate branding projects over the years, although generally we have assisted rather than managing them overall.
Here are some things we have learned and we hope give you a window into the unique world of big business!
What we learned
1. Dealing with complexity
When we start one of these projects, our contact will invariably send through a lengthy document.
This incorporates the branding guidelines, including examples, specimens and infographic and things to avoid. Sometimes they are over 100 pages!
The guidelines include everything required for implementing the branding, right down to the minutest details, such as how the company logo interacts with text and images, spacing and spacing ratios based on dimension of the logo itself.
This level of detail is both a blessing and a curse.
It gives you very clear parameters in which to operate, so you know when you are right or wrong.
Equally, it can be infuriating, as real life projects inevitably throw up non-linear problems. For example, when official images provided don't work with the guidelines.
What do you do?
If there is no wriggle room and what's provided doesn't work, solutions have to be found, and quick!
2. Protecting the brand
Some of the lengths multinationals go to to define and implement their branding verge on obsessive.
But we get that.
It is also very easy to let things slide or compromise your brand by being sloppy.
It starts with small concessions, and before you know it, your brand has become diluted, or worse still, no one can really remember what it stands for.
Not what you want!
Not everyone operates a business the size of a multinational company, so the lesson here is to fit your branding guidelines and stipulations to the size of your business or organisation.
Too much detail and you will cripple your ability to produce and publish content.
Not enough and your brand will lack definition and not stand out.
3. Being all things to all men
If you think that because you are not part of the multinational you can be aloof, think again!
On these big projects you effectively get drawn into the team, so the rules of engagement change.
Suddenly, you are required to step up and be more than the lowly graphic designer:
- You need to be able to assimilate, digest and manage multiple round of comments from different voices
- Adjust to moving deadlines, as demands and the brief changes
- Be prepared to work around the clock, including weekends - that's the norm in corporations!
- Dealing with the supply chain of a large corporation that may be sophisticated, but is not as streamlined as you might imagine
In other words, you push through and take it all on the chin!
4. Going backstage
Sometimes you get messages like this:
This certainly gets the blood pumping, as you realise that you are playing with the big boys.
Sometimes, e-mails have been forwarded on, so you can see for yourself that senior managers have been part of the conversation.
It also a privilege, as there's the opportunity to be part of something that a company will soon launch globally.
In short, it's a thrill to be backstage and get a peek at what was going on and then to be able to see it all unfold when it comes to the launch.
Thankfully, you get some praise too along the way, which helps you swallow the pressure and deadlines!
We hope you've enjoyed this week's blog. If you've got a website or a branding need, do get in touch - we'd love to chat and see how we can help you!