Part Two: Avoiding Pitfalls in Brand Transformation

Our firm has been helping companies manage brand transformations for more than 25 years for organizations such as International Dairy Queen, Tata Global Beverages and M&M Food Market, among many others. Over the years, we have helped our clients identify and avoid potential pitfalls when navigating major transformational change.

Here is the second instalment in our two-part series on Pitfalls to Avoid in Brand Transformation:

Pitfall #4: Unwillingness to Create Scenario

If decision bias prejudges the outcome and risks failure, a lack of scenario planning is another surefire way the transformation process will fail. When we helped International Dairy Queen transform its ice cream business into a market shaping fast casual chain, the organization and its franchisees already had a preconceived idea that imitating the larger fast food chains with a burger upsizing was all it needed to build credibility in its food offering. It was not until our firm created a range of potential scenarios, including the fast food imitation brand, that we were able to identify and dispel their preconceived beliefs. The result was DQ Grill & Chill, which provides a separate experience for consumers wanting hot food versus treats, and drives a 50% same store sales increase that continues today. Creating a range of scenarios for Dairy Queen allowed the organization to validate which option had the highest level of appeal and why among its core customers.

Pitfall #5: Poor Alignment and Support

Despite all the material that discourages this model, most organizations still run in silos since individuals’ behavior is predicated on the compensation and merits bestowed upon them. To truly transform an organization, and make it sustainable, internal alignment and ownership from the top down to each division and department is key.

Clarity is also key. As these initiatives are typically added to the workload of already overburdened managers and directors, they need clearly defined expectations and outcomes of the brand transformation process. To gain alignment, it’s critical the organization develops a project charter that is signed by all stakeholders and socialized at all levels of the organization.

Pitfall #6: Inability to See the Process as a Learn, Adapt and Modify Journey

The biggest mistake we see in brand transformation is the assumption that the process has an end date, that once the initiative is completed the project is over. The opposite is true. To succeed, transformation initiatives need to learn, adapt and then modify to reflect true emotionally driven market dynamics and the ability of the organization to align its resources to meet these demands.In our design process, we call this rapid prototyping. It may consist of a test market, or in the case of the M&M Meat Shops transformation project, the development of two distinct store experiences The two prototypes allowed the organization to not only gauge consumer attitudes and shopping preferences but also evaluate the sales choreography and training of its staff, all of which led to a superior sales and customer experience

Click here for pitfalls #1-3

For recent examples of major brand transformations, read our case studies for Cable and Wireless Communications, M&M Food Market and The Source.