Branding and existing material
The way in which the branding is exploited often varies more than may be commonly imagined. This variation may driven by cost or by complexity; as the implementation process of making sure that the business identity seen by others involves many disparate elements, which may be subject to other constraints.
For instance a process will be undertaken of making sure that the various physical assets assume their "new identity", which may involve painting and application of images and logos onto existing assets as well as the procurement of additional signage to adorn the outsides of offices etc. This process is likely to be influenced by the natural turnover and replacement of assets ( e.g. what is the minimum remaining life of a vehicle that makes it worth repainting it ? ). There may also be regulatory or political pressures that affect the way in which this can happen. In the UK for instance the appearance of signs on buildings may require planning permission, and there are suggestions that anti globalisation activities may turn their attention to branding activity and that the latter may need to be adjusted.
For stationery there will be similar issues as existing stocks and a switchover period may be necessary. There will also be produce life cycle issues that would make reprinting to reflect a new branding identity uneconomic.
Existing Microsoft Word documents
For electronically stored assets, although the process ought to be easier, it can become much more difficult. Most organisations now have a huge legacy of documents in Microsoft Word format. The format of these documents may be of variable quality and include branding from one or more past iterations ( particularly if corporate mergers or acquisitions have taken place ). Use of this material can therefore be more difficult than it should be as the challenge of adjusting the format can require specialist expertise in the use software packages themselves, and may be deemed uneconomic.
In many organisations, therefore, the consistency with which formats of material from past documents is altered to suit branding mandates is largely a matter of chance depending on :
u The quality of existing documents.
u The level of Word expertise available at that point.
u The extent to which altering the format is deemed worthwhile.
u How any appropriate Microsoft Word template(s) were used.
u The number of recent rebranding exercises ( mergers / acquisitions etc. )
Branding and new material
For many physical assets the barrier in applying branding to new items is not so much the difficulty of doing so as the cost.
It is only fair to point out that much new electronic material may actually owe much to existing material. With the electronic sources and cheap storage now available it is comparatively rare that an important organisational document will represent the original creative work of one author who started with a clean sheet of paper and worked until completion was achieved. It is much more common to find that an existing document is taken as the basis, altered and merged with a range of other material ( web, email, original work ) found by one or more authors. Whilst it may really be a new document it would need considerable work to eliminate the formatting history of the various contributions.
Even if the electronic material is really "new" the abilities of the user can make a considerable difference to the uniformity of the result. Microsoft Word can assume that variations induced by a user are intentional and this can allow less experienced users to dilute the brand image without wishing to.
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