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Large Merger and Acquisition Rebranding

Leading a merger and acquisition rebrand for six companies for a $50B publicly-traded company

SUMMARY

Project Background

Bureau Veritas (BV) is a $50B publicly-traded company in inspection and testing. The project aimed to rebrand six major companies that the BV North America (BVNA) division has acquired as part of its efforts to increase its services in inspection, commissioning, and engineering. The project aims to align the brands of its acquired companies to one parent brand.

 

My role was to lead globally distributed teams to deliver a unified parent website for BVNA with all six companies, 400+ rebranded collateral items, and action-driven communication plans to their employees and customers. I collaborated with graphic designers, copywriters, and marketing strategists.

CLIENT: 

Bureau Veritas North America

 

ROLE: 

Senior Project Manager to lead globally distributed teams in an M&A rebranding

DATE: 

May 2019 - October 2019

PLATFORMS:

Drupal Website, InDesign Collaterals, and Communication Plans

 

TOOLS

Drupal, Sitemaps, InDesign, TeamWork, Gantt Charts, Slickplan

 

KEY PERFORMANCE METRICS: 

# of collaterals shipped, rate of completion for website delivery, NPS in communication delivery

TEAM MEMBERS: 

Senior Project Manager (me), Senior Marketing Manager, Senior Copywriter, Graphic Designers, Marketing Strategist, BVNA Management Team, Technical Leads

LINK TO FINAL PROJECT: 

https://www.bvna.com/

BACKGROUND

Goals and Objectives

The goal of this project was to rebrand six companies with various business services and brand guidelines into one brand look with their collaterals and services into the parent company, BVNA. Furthermore, it was critical to communicate a plan to their employees and customers on the companies' recent acquisition and the role of the rebrand. At the start, the project lacked clear direction into the status of the deliverables and the schedule with team responsibilities. The project also missed key performance indicators of what constitutes success, which caused communication issues with key stakeholders. My role aims to resolve these challenges. 

A sample of Bureau Veritas North America's multiple company acquisitions with the different brand looks with websites and collaterals:

BACKGROUND

My Role and Responsibilities

  • Develop and execute the project schedule and work

  • Support key business priorities of acquired companies, including technical training for redirecting their websites to the parent website and their rebranded collateral items on a project management platform

  • Communicate with the project's management on project milestones, work progress, deliverables, and achievements managing schedule variance

  • Collaborate with brand managers on new assets and content syndication opportunities including splash pages, brochures, flyers, blog posts, etc

  • Manage and respond to risks and change requests throughout the project

BACKGROUND

Management Question

“How can we ensure all key stakeholders align with the rebrand and are comfortable with their SEO optimization strategy post launch?”

MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Style Guide and Inspiration

BRAND GUIDELINES:

At the start of the project, I collaborate with BVNA to understand the brand look and feel that all acquired companies will be rebranded. I worked with graphic designers. Together we compared two brand styles from 2008 and 2018 of BVNA and created a strategy to realign all collateral items from BVNA and its acquired companies to the newest brand look. This ensures uniformity across all companies amidst the rebrand.

View Pdf Brand Guidelines

PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGY:

While reviewing the project as a whole, I decided to use a waterfall methodology to drive the project. This is because the project aligned with the knowledge base of another global team working on the technical demands of the rebranded parent website and the cost of failure is too high with a risk averse organization.

Image Source: Smartsheet

MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Initiation

PROJECT CHARTER:

 

I created a project charter to align on the project's scope and key deliverables. This charter was critical because the client had changes to its scope early in the project, which made it difficult to assess key performance indicators within the deliverables of one integrated website, collaterals, and communication count. Furthermore, the charter allowed me to discuss high-level risks that I anticipated in the project and discuss openly with my team on how to respond to them including underperformance and lack of a production pipeline.

STAKEHOLDER MEETING AND HUDDLE:

Because many stakeholders are involved in the project with six acquired companies and the parent company, BVNA, I created a cadence of a weekly status update. This includes bringing all companies together in a virtual meeting where I presented a powerpoint of the project's overview, milestones, deliverables, achievements, risks, and challenges. A weekly huddle was important to address any concerns throughout the project and manage risks accordingly. It was also an opportunity to get feedback from the companies on the deliverables that impact their marketing and digital endeavors.

MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Planning

REQUIREMENTS TRACEABILITY MATRIX:

I knew early on in the project that tracking requirements for every company with every type of deliverable would be important. I leveraged a requirements traceability matrix (RTM) that allowed me to track many-to-many relationships. This meant that I interviewed every company for their business and technical requirement (include design rebrand guidelines) and their priorities for deployment. The spreadsheet I created is a forward traceability, which is a type of RTM that ensures that the project progress according to plan. In it, I made sure to embed a QC/QA process such that each requirements is adequately tested. 

RISK REGISTER:

Working in a risk-averse environment, I created a risk register to identify risks with their severity and the steps I needed to take in order to mitigate these risks.  I noted the probability and impact of the risks. This step proved to be beneficial because I detected early on in the first month of a project a low performing employee that did not meet key deliverable deadlines. After analyzing the causes and the effect on the project, the register helped me make a decision to hire a new resource to replace the previous and to realign with the project's hard dates. 

MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Execution

SITEMAP:

I assisted the marketing strategist by collecting individual sitemaps from every acquired company to understand their overlapping services. This was important because it allowed my team and I create a unified brand and gradually migrate all companies' website to the parent website. I reviewed the BVNA Building and Infrastructure value proposition to ensure that all services fall under four key areas of operations: Construction, Building Operations, Facility Planning, and Commercial Real Estate.

Interact with Slickplan Sitemap

DESIGN PRODUCTION PROCESS:

After identifying bottlenecks with my creative team to ship collaterals on time, I created a process to streamline the redesign and development of 350+ collateral items for 6 companies. I ensured two full-time resources are dedicated to this deliverables, created a flowchart to highlight the new production process, and recorded a video for future documentation. What I found helpful was applying my experience with Scrum process for a two-week sprint to ship one company's rebranded collateral. This proved to be efficient and gave my team structure for delivery.

GANTT CHARTS:

I architected the development of the project schedule to give the client and all companies visibility and transparency on how the project is progressing and show task relationships. It was also a tool to keep everyone on the same page. I developed the schedule in TeamWork, a project management platform, which includes: assigning resources, estimating their schedules among a portfolio of overlapping projects, and added task dependencies to determine the critical path. The end result was three gantt charts to represent the schedule for three distinct deliverables.

WIREFRAMES:

 

The parent website was built on Drupal for the North America division. I collaborated with the client's technical team in France on a weekly basis to determine the steps necessary to launch the parent website. My team and I were responsible for creating a unified voice for all content for the companys' overlapping services, and migrating them into the website. I identified wireframes of content types to highlight how to configure each page in the backend. The wireframes below show the high-level placement of content and images, in addition to the page components that I configured for services and markets for the companies.

PROTOTYPES:

The project is currently in the prototyping phase, with developing the wireframe designs for 130+ webpages in the building and infrastructure market. I am collaborating with another content developer to migrate all content and confiuring any technical components by end of September 2019.

Interact with Prototype

MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Monitoring and Controlling

CHANGE REQUEST:

To manage project changes such as an increase in scope that my client requested, I created change requests. The request lists on the submitter's end the date required to resolve the change, reasons for the change, impacted artifacts, and assumptions. On my end, I make my initial analysis to determine the impact on schedule duration, hours, scope, and cost. I also provide recommendations and approval or disapproval. Doing this process allows me to decide on a course of action going forward to delegate the necessary tasks to my team in charge of implementing these new changes. The most common change requests were often due to feedback with collaterals and adding scope.

MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Closing

The rebranded parent website, collateral, and communication plan launched in October 2019 here: https://www.bvna.com/. Click below to watch a video walkthrough of the launched new website. 

CONCLUSION

Reflections

MANAGING VARIOUS USER NEEDS:

 

This has been a difficult project, yet a rewarding one to lead. There were so many key stakeholders that I needed to take into account their needs to the rebranding project. I found it helpful to document everyone's needs, pain points, and communication log in an Excel sheet so I can refer to it. 

ALIGNING EXPECTATIONS:

Because of the high number of people involved in the project and in providing their feedback on all deliverables, I believed it was critical to have a weekly call to make sure everyone is aware of project progress and give them the opportunity to express their questions and comments. It was also an opportunity to highlight my team's achievements.

RESPONDING TO SCOPE CREEP:

There were at least two scenarios in which I received two requests to increase scope without accounting for additional time or budget in a fixed-price contract. In both cases, I leveraged my change request forms and requirements traceability matrix, prioritized and looked at what can be descoped to accommodate new requests, and analyzed the impacts both positive and negative changes. This opened the door for me to have a transparent and honest conversation with my client on solutions to move forward. Read more about the causes of scope creep.