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Leadership

Who's Driving Your Rebrand?

by Bill Kenney

Branders driver

hen people think about leadership in regard to a rebranding effort, they may assume that’s referring to the CEO or CMO in the organization. In some instances, that may be true, but stopping short and resting on that assumption is a recipe for failure. You never want to ask who’s driving halfway down the highway only to find out they can’t actually drive.

Leadership leads to clarity.

Traversing hundreds of clients over 12 years in the branding space, we’ve experienced the mission-critical importance of defining a key leadership role within each rebrand project. At Focus Lab, we call this mission-critical role the “Driver.” Adopted from the DACI framework, this is a specific role and team structure we set out to define with our clients before each project begins. It’s important for us, as well as the client, to understand which client-side team member is responsible for driving this project and what that truly means.

Without a clearly communicated understanding of a single Driver, projects become significantly more complex. Common pitfalls of this lack of leadership include inconsistencies in direction, timeline shifts due to starts and stops, and overall deterioration of the experience within both parties. Defining a leader, a.k.a. Driver, solves this 99% of the time.

Drivers can be found at any level of the organization.

In this specific role, an existing leadership title doesn’t mean you are the right person to drive. We’ve seen countless examples of successful Drivers throughout the entire organization. Sometimes it’s simply the most organized and best at wrangling the group. Other times it’s the person with the largest perspective and decision-making power. This ranges from a lead designer, project admin, CMO, technology lead, or head of demand generation. Yes, sometimes it is the founder or CEO, but in our experience, their time is better spent focusing on the project's details rather than managing the entire process.

Each team dynamic is unique, but the role of every Driver is to:

  • Facilitate meaningful conversations.

  • Manage stakeholders’ visibility and expectations.

  • Remain tactful and highly organized.

  • Keep the project moving forward.

  • Expedite decision-making.

Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It's about impact, influence, and inspiration.

Robin Sharma

Driving is more than navigating logistics.

The Driver role may sound like a project manager since the strengths and duties are similar. While that’s true, there are additional layers of leadership that come into play. First, they are empowered by their team to helm this effort. When that happens, they gain trust and an elevated voice, essential for their responsibilities. Going further, this role also leverages strong soft skills and serves as the bridge between the rebranding agency and the organization, sharing additional insight and perspectives not always seen on the surface. I assure you, it takes more than logistics to reach success in these large projects. The Driver's perspectives, influence in the organization, and leadership capability are invaluable.

Rebrand leadership is rebrand success.

When the Driver does their job well, you almost forget how vital they are to the project. The rebrand process is surprisingly smooth, the direction is steady and clear, and questions or concerns are addressed before they get unruly.

This is the powerful leadership effect of a good rebrand Driver.

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

Lao Tzu

This article was originally published on BrandersMagazine.com on February 23, 2022. Written by Bill Kenney.

Photos by Sander Jeurissen and Cody Hiscox on Unsplash

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