How to Manage Design Assets During a Rebrand

Rebranding your company’s visual identity is a huge undertaking. Our expert explains how to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed by the process.

Written by Brian Bekins
Published on Jul. 27, 2023
How to Manage Design Assets During a Rebrand
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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Your company’s brand is more important than ever, especially for organizations seeking recognition over an expanding number of marketing platforms and sales channels. No wonder, then, that 75 percent of companies have rebranded since 2020.

A company may choose to rebrand for various reasons. Maybe it needs to evolve and shift to drive growth. Maybe the organization’s leaders want to reposition their brand within their current market or expand into a new space. A recent merger or acquisition might force a company to rebrand, which can be more challenging if the process takes place when employees are still getting up to speed with their new organization’s brand and culture. Regardless of the reasons, leadership needs to develop the rebranding strategy upfront so all stakeholders have a clear plan for success.

Formulating this strategy is only the first step in a long process, however. Once you complete the financial analysis, planning, and logistics of the rebrand, you’ll invariably need help implementing your new brand. Fortunately, a dedicated team can ensure quality control across multiple media in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Which Assets Need Updating in a Rebrand?

  • Pitch decks
  • Training guides
  • Sell sheets
  • Marketing brochures
  • Email templates
  • Newsletters/Executive communications
  • Deal announcement templates
  • product or technique guides
  • Any assets typically owned in large quantities

This entire process involves tracking and updating hundreds — if not thousands — of assets. Think pitch decks, training guides, sell sheets, marketing brochures, email templates for newsletters or executive communications, deal announcement templates, and product or technique guides. Any assets typically owned in large quantities will need updating. You’ll need a meticulous, thorough approach to ensure these assets conform to the new brand style.

Along the way, effective project management and clear communication are critical to keeping your rebrand on schedule. No organization wants to outsource this work only to be left with a ton of time-consuming homework it has to finish itself. So, a thorough implementation process that keeps everything on track should include organization, prep, production, review and approval.

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What to Know Before You Rebrand

When rebranding, it’s not unusual to be up against some kind of deadline for mergers and acquisitions and any associated regulations. So, developing and signing off on a realistic timetable is a critical first step. Few people are qualified to plot the course for such a massive undertaking because few people will experience one in their careers. Where to begin?

Start by taking inventory. Inventoried assets can be grouped together by audience, use case, and/or sub-brand. Once you have established these groups, you can further subgroup these assets by type and relative similarity. Conduct a thorough review of each marketing asset to ensure they aren’t duplicated or rendered unnecessary by updates to systems or processes.

At this critical first step, try to maximize efficiencies in scale. There are often ways to group materials that allow one set of decisions to apply to a body of work. If you dive in right away without doing the legwork first, you will lose that efficiency. For example, once you have categorized assets by the similarity of their content (PowerPoint decks, tri-fold brochures, white papers, etc.), you can apply one set of design or content decisions across all assets within that category. Without grouping similar assets and changing them in phases, you squander some efficiency.

At this point, you can assign each group an implementation roadmap, including timing for checkpoints and reviews. Stakeholders involved with each group should meet to review and approve your production plans, timing, and estimates.

Prep your assets by creating a project brief for each. Before you begin the design and layout step of the rebranding process, you should create a project brief for each set of assets. Be sure to include details like these:

How to Categorize Design Assets for Rebranding

• End-use of the asset. For example, does it need to be printed or output as a pdf?
• Imagery directives/guidelines (i.e., should the assets match existing pieces?)
• Update any content that may be outdated (old images, copy, contact info or urls)
• Additional branding information beyond what’s in the brand guidelines

Stakeholders may need to approve individual project briefs before production can begin. By this point, you’ll have an appreciation for the power of effective communication during the rebranding process. Working on such a large project means the client and agency will need to get on the same page quickly, be open and honest, and communicate freely. Consider the cadence of live check-ins and which communication channels work best. If these are regular, predictable, and reliable, establishing trust and a rhythm to support efficiency is easy. 

 

Managing Asset Production During Rebranding

Once relevant parties have approved the assets and project briefs, you can begin production. You must schedule and track each asset and brand update internally. What’s the status of every piece of inventory? Where are they in the stage of updating or reviewing, and what’s coming next? What dependencies or contingencies do you need to keep your eyes on? These questions should guide the production stage of the rebranding process.

For each asset group, consider a weekly status call with client stakeholders and other agency partners. Share a status tracker document for visibility to all active and upcoming assets. Provide a written weekly progress update, identifying any risks or needs. Schedule ad hoc meetings to address issues outside of the status calls. Keep the brand management team on call to ensure proper interpretation and application of the brand.

Having a lot of balls in the air at the same time is typical ― and they’re not all at the same height. One batch of assets might be with the legal team while the design team is tackling another set. Still others might get sent back to the product team based on feedback. Good organization is key to keeping each of these balls in the air. A shared status tracker document, for example, can keep all parties up to date on the different stages of your rebranded assets in real-time.

 

Managing Asset Approval During Rebranding

After all the assets have been approved by the appropriate stakeholders, the rebranding agency should collect and deliver the final files exactly how and when you agreed. A few keys to keep in mind at this stage:

Rebranding Asset Approval Best Practices

• Digital file and folder naming conventions should follow the approved structure
• Files should be provided based on end-use needs (e.g., print-ready pdfs or digital pdfs)
• Store a second copy of all files on a secure server as a backup

Once you complete a phase of assets, you can use the same process for any future phases. By now, you should be able to answer “yes” to the following questions: Is our brand ready to activate? Have we finished more than just a logo, font, and basic color palette? Have we ensured quality and consistency? 

The last thing anyone wants is to get through all phases of a major rebrand only to learn critical elements were missed, or the new brand was implemented incorrectly. Running the first phase of the rebrand work through your brand management office and/or legal team will prevent the need for massive wholesale changes or additional rounds of edits. No one wants to complete a big chunk of work only to have to re-do the same steps over again. Thoroughly reviewing your status tracker document and asking critical questions about what you might have missed can prevent later rounds of edits or having to start over altogether. 

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Rebranding Is Daunting — Don’t Get Overwhelmed

Refreshing a brand is not an easy undertaking, and it requires significant effort and resources. In fact, so much energy goes into it that many companies lose steam when it comes to building the asset update plan. Creating a solid launch plan will ensure that the work that went into creating the new brand won’t fall flat once it hits the market.

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