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Successful Project Management Strategies for Branded Environments

Consider these complicated, high-priority branded environment projects:

The nation’s largest retailer wanted to execute rebranding for its interior and displays while also leaning into its digital footprint for hundreds of stores across the country.

The nation’s largest drugstore chain wanted to develop a variety of modular stores within stores and then quickly scale the projects nationwide.


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Despite many diverse moving parts and innumerable opportunities for inefficiencies and unexpected costs, both projects were completed on-time and on-budget. Not coincidentally, each was led by a team who understood the dynamic and effective relationship between outstanding project management and end-to-end services.

How can you guarantee you’re getting great project management to shepherd your projects from design to production, to logistics, to digital and installation?  Here are some things to look for.

A single point of accountability

Quality project management is a simple promise: a single point of contact and accountability for each client. Project-specific expertise then allows him or her to become an extension of your team, understanding your internal processes while focusing on providing solutions, efficiency and cost savings.

Because campaign rollouts are rarely one-size-fits-all, project managers should offer a wide range of skills and knowledge, including print production, fixture production, creative project management, technological skills and administrative duties, such as order generation, invoicing and inventory management.

Thorough communication

Project managers need to speak the client’s language-specific to its industry as well as communicate effectively with different departments and participants within the campaign, such as a marketing team, general contractors or store managers.

Not only does great project management handle your project from beginning to end — from design to installation — it also can enter the process at any point to help clients cross the finish line.

Along the way, they are actively engaged, suggesting cost-saving ideas while being proactive with creating efficiencies during project rollouts.

They are responsive to quick-turn requests while still executing at the highest level. This is where a single point of accountability becomes critical, as it facilitates response time.

For example, say there’s a last-minute change to a design. This could cause anxiety on both sides of the partnership. Or a good project manager simply understands how the dominoes need to fall across all verticals and can implement new plans as painlessly as possible.

Diverse knowledge & expertise

A bank has different goals and needs compared to a quick-serve restaurant. The same goes for a big box retailer focused on scale and a university or athletic department with diverse needs on a single campus.

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Expertise in project management for branded environments requires an understanding of all facets of consumer goods, retail, QSR, banking & financial services and athletics & collegiate design. A client’s needs, specific to its industry, must be anticipated so projects are executed with precision, on budget, to client schedules and at scale. Sometimes this requires a specialist in a specific area. Other times, a client’s needs are best served by a project manager with a diversity of expertise.

Anticipating needs means knowing how to coordinate with logistics, manufacturing, procurement and installation teams to ensure that each rollout is successful. Great project management means managing and executing multiple functions daily, depending on the needs of each individual project and/or client. 

Intuitive software & database platforms

An efficiently executed project requires industry-leading software to manage, schedule and monitor a program’s progress. Further, whether used on a desktop, tablet or phone, it should be easy to use while acting as a transparent database, where clients can store all specifications across multi-unit operations, so they never second-guess their needs.

Miller Zell takes particular pride in our intuitive software, REACH™. From survey management and installation to print campaigns and quarterly rollouts, REACH™ is a transparent and comprehensive logistics system that transforms a process from winding and complex to straightforward and simple.

It’s fundamental to the value our project management provides clients.

Finally, there is no finish line with great project management for branded environments. It’s a partnership that includes ongoing support. After installation, it’s about tracking and even upgrading the effectiveness of marketing initiatives, product launches and graphics rollouts that nurture effective customer experiences.

The goal is not only about completing a project on-time and on-budget. It’s also focused on building a long-term partnership that provides ROI through cost-saving ideas and proactive solutions.

At least, that’s how we define great project management at Miller Zell.