Building a single brand
A Rexam case study

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Page 4: Identity

Rexam has worked to transform its organisation from within. Strong brands are built on strong graphic identities, so the starting point for a single brand strategy was to create and implement a common Rexam identity in what was a disparate group of companies across the world. The common corporate identity is a visual backbone for the single brand strategy. The common identity would not only make the Rexam organisation look like one company but would also provide the impetus for it to start to act like one.

The single brand identity affected all parts of the Rexam business. It wasn’t just a question of changing signs on buildings. It involved internal communications, advertising, administrative forms such as invoices, stationery, business cards etc, domain names, external communications and more. The change was carried through in a carefully conceived and managed process where the emphasis was on close involvement of groups of people within each manufacturing sector, and speed of action. The process was facilitated by Rexam’s Rexam 7 Image 5head office in London but implemented at local level. Graphic guidelines were produced and a new web-site was constructed to answer questions from employees.

One global company

Representatives of the various Rexam sectors were given the task of ensuring that the process ran smoothly on the ground. Rexam provided these ‘communication champions’ with the means to ensure that everyone understood the single brand strategy and the benefits it would bring to the company. These means included presentations, videos, internal newsletters, special communication days and a clear explanation of the application of the graphic identity.

The emphasis was on getting people to want to be part of one global company, and a brand, called Rexam. The single brand strategy was given added impetus by the acquisition of European beverage packaging manufacturer PLM in 1999. The process of changing the PLM name to Rexam served as a catalyst and as a template for all Rexam businesses.

Rexam’s name change programme has served as a model approach for future acquisitions and was deployed again in 2000 when Rexam acquired American National Can and became the world’s Number 1 beverage can maker. Managing the name change to Rexam involves creating a clear timetable for introducing the change. The physical name change at each operating plant takes place over a weekend, covering everything from products, business cards and company logos to notice boards and letterheads. The name change programme operates so that every employee understands exactly what, when and how the name change to Rexam will take place. Thus, whenever a name change is implemented in a plant, be it in the USA, Denmark, China or the Czech Republic, everyone is able to understand the process and can feel part of it. Rexam’s experience is that, by ensuring that everyone knows why and when the name change is happening, a feeling of inclusion is created and the response is overwhelmingly positive.

Rexam | Building a single brand