“I saw you changed the entire IFS brand look – that must have been an enormously complex marketing project to pull off.”
The words came from one of my friends in the IT industry just after we had launched the new logo in February and covered the Burj Khalifa, Piccadilly Circus, Times Square, Shibuya crossing in Tokyo and downtown Stockholm in IFS purple.
He’d seen the photos on social media and was really impressed by the global impact we had achieved. I thanked him, even though he was completely wrong. This wasn’t just a ‘marketing project’.
Every single part of the company was involved: from conceptualizing, to executing and rolling it out. From R&D, to HR, IT, Sales, Consulting, our execs and employees… in other words: a giant village! Rebranding a global business meant a lot of work for me of course, but that work was mostly focused on getting alignment and making sure we had thought of the re-brand’s impact on every system and stakeholder.
Our approach was to socialize and anchor the new brand top-down and bottom up. After an extensive workshopping phase that included our senior leaders, key analysts and influencers in our market, we gave a preview to employees and partners at our Sales Kickoff. I could sense the mounting excitement as both groups loved the new look and feel. Customers we tried the design on had a similar reaction.
The rebrand was a joint effort between all departments and stakeholders which ended up being a success. In fact we just won five, yes FIVE, Platinum Hermes Creative awards. We won Platinum for the rebrand project as a whole, as well as the new look, but the one I am most proud of is the award for Best Product Launch. This encapsulates how we managed to connect all the dots with not only the new look but our new positioning narrative around the Moment of Service™ with the launch of IFS Cloud, the flagship of our business.
So what are the lessons learned from this rebrand? They’ll undoubtedly make the list of things I am most proud of when I look back at my years in branding…
Firstly, that a rebrand can easily just be cosmetic if it is not connected to a major business motivation. IFS launched its narrative Moment of Service™ because customer experience is at the heart of what we do and together with the product launch in IFS Cloud, were significant changes that elevate IFS to a whole new level.
Second, a brand is present in the business everywhere at every step in every function! Of course, we updated our website and all marketing collateral and outdoor office signs, but the brand and the logo are also part of many more processes. They are visible on third-party sites, pay slips, parking permits, keycards, our products, Office 360 login pages … you name it. It’s even on the Aston Martin Formula One car!
Third, a challenging deadline accelerates the pace of change. We got the all-clear to rebrand from the board just days before Christmas, with a launch date mid Feb. That meant extra-full steam ahead. We got it done in time and I cannot emphasize enough that our approach to get employees and functions involved early paid off here as well, because everyone was already on board. The urgency of the timeline meant there was no chance this could have slipped into becoming a year-long project.
Sometimes it is better to rip off the band-aid and commit.
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