5 Considerations When Rebranding Documents

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Rebranding fund documents and website redesignHaving an organized approach to rebranding your fund documents can help your firm avoid production bottlenecks and other setbacks. Significantly improve the speed and outcome of a rebranding project with a thorough strategy and experienced content management system partner.

Before beginning a rebranding initiative, decision-makers should carefully consider the following five elements: design, timeline, images, testing, and support.

#1 Design

When your firm decides to redesign and rebrand its materials, start by examining current fund documents. See how the layout can be improved. Identify bothersome issues, and look for ways to improve the processes used to produce these documents. For instance, your firm might look into using an automated platform to streamline the process of production. If your organization already works with an automation vendor, discuss the layout with members of the development team. They can offer very productive feedback.

Once you’ve determined which elements to adjust, consider the aesthetics of the new documents. These fund documents will be the face of your company’s rebranding efforts. So, it’s worth the extra time and effort to ensure they look sleek.

Many firms take industry trends into account when approaching a redesign. Some fund companies seem to be moving toward factsheets that are cleaner, with less commentary and disclosures and more graphics and data.  To ensure you’re differentiating yourself from your competitors, carefully consider the overall direction of your design.

Colors and fonts are essential. New color schemes should compliment each other before moving forward. New fonts may throw-off graph and chart constructions. Play around with all of these variables until you’ve developed a document you’re happy with.

To optimize collaboration efficiencies, your teams should set up an organized communication system to make sure nothing is overlooked. Without proper communication in place, the designer’s vision might be lost in translation when developers start executing the changes. Have your designer put together a set of specifications, or style guide, to serve as a resource throughout the project.

Data source providers, legal and the document automation teams should be part of the design review to ensure it may be achieved.

#2 Timeline

Establishing a timeline and sticking to it will make it easier to finish your project on schedule. Most firms allow their vendor between 60 to 90 days to complete the process, but depending on your company’s situation, it could take more or less time. Make sure you have plenty of lead time before the start date to account for your changes and thoroughly test them before going into production. Another key to staying on target is to send specifications, such as images, fonts and data files, to the developers as soon as they are finalized.

If your firm will be pushing out a final set of documents with your old branding while the production team works on the new materials, make sure the creation of your current documents isn’t hindered by the production side of things. Additionally, make sure the archived documents can still be accessed during this time. Ideally, your vendor will avoid altering legacy documents and create all new components so that everything stays in place.

Finally, give your team time to test out the new documents. While they may look great on screen, colors will often change in printed form. Unexpected challenges may arise, and things may take longer than you anticipated, so build-in extra time in the schedule to account for setbacks. Make sure all involved parties have plenty of room in their schedules to work out any issues that do come up. Maintaining a timeline is a major advantage of working with a document automation platform, which streamlines the workflow between production and marketing teams. If staying on schedule and on budget is a significant concern for your company, you may want to consider a platform that makes collaboration and communication more efficient.

#3 Images

Once your team has adjusted colors and fonts, you may end up changing images as well if the old ones no longer fit. If so, you’ll need to think about how the new images will look alongside the other elements in the documents, and be sure the colors will complement each other. Often times, these changes require a logo redesign as well. Make sure the design team is on top of these elements by creating new images to facilitate an easy transition and incorporating extra time into the plan to allow for any additional changes.

If you’re using an automated content management platform, it will be much easier to test images because you will be able to see anything that needs to be changed and gather input from designers and production more quickly.

#4 Test, Test, Test!

Allow plenty of time to test the new materials’ look and feel as well as check for any compliance issues. This part of the process can take a significant amount of time, so it’s important to plan for it from the very beginning and include it in the initial timeline. An automated content management solution can prove extremely useful at this stage to enable teams to get a better picture of what stage each document has reached and allow greater visibility into what is working and what isn’t.

It may be a good idea to do a parallel run, where older materials and rebranded documents are in production at the same time. This can give your organization more leeway because you won’t need a hard deadline. In addition, producing your new and old materials concurrently can give your teams time to file newly rebranded documents with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority before they actually go live.

Another benefit is that quality assurance will be top of mind throughout the project. Rather than conducting QA after all the different elements have been completed, consider conducting it as-you-go and managing QA on a component-by-component basis as elements are completed. This makes the process less overwhelming once everything is put together on one page. Rather than testing QA at this point, your teams will just need to worry about how each piece looks altogether.

#5 Support

The more people who a vested interest in the rebranding process, the more effective the outcome will be. Make sure you have buy-in and support from your own team. If possible, select a vendor who can provide expert guidance throughout the project. At every stage of the rebrand, a second pair of eyes will help catch details that may have been missed the first time around. When you have been conditioned to look at the finished product, it’s easy to overlook something. It’s a good practice to have a proofreader look over the details to make sure everything is correctly in place.

When it’s time to go live with your beautiful rebranded fund documents, lean on your software vendor for support. Do this both in the first and second cycles. Once your firm has started a rebranding project, unexpected things can and will come up. Ideally, you should be able to address any issues without any major disruptions. A good vendor will be able to provide individualized support throughout your rebrand, as well as expert guidance.

 

For a deeper dive, download our whitepaper: 10 Tips for Rebranding Fund Documents

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Emilie is Chief Marketing Officer at Synthesis. She brings over 15 years of integrated sales and marketing experience working with financial services, SaaS, and health and wellness companies. Her passion is architecting holistic marketing strategies that align with each business function to achieve client experience, employee advocacy, and revenue goals. When she isn't marketing, you can find her rehabbing her home in the Chicago suburbs, practicing yoga, or spending time with her family.

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