When Lotterywest, Western Australia’s state lottery, embarked on a large rebranding exercise, project manager and head of the shopfit team Keith O’Shea, an Australian project manager with 20 years experience in various industries including construction, manufacturing and computing,knew that the stakeholders would be key to the success of the project. His main group of stakeholders were the retailers who would be adopting the new aqua and yellow brand. To keep them engaged for the duration, O’Shea and his project team looked at what would interest those involved and realized that they wanted a few straightforward things: help to cover the costs of the rebranding, help with marketing and to be regularly informed of what was going on.
‘We had to be especially thoughtful in how we motivated retailers to move to the new brand,’ O’Shea explains. ‘It was the outlets themselves who had to find the money to pay for the change.’
Lotterywest responded to these needs by putting several strategies in place. The company organized interest-free loans which were made available to all the 484 lottery outlets. Lotterywest and their advertising agency also ensured that all television and newspaper adverts featured the new brand, even before the first shopfit had been completed. This was done to enforce the new image in the public domain, and help convince retailers to move towards it. To help the retailers along, the project team produced a makeover ‘kit’ that was made available to the rural and remote shops. O’Shea travelled the country running workshops to engage the store managers and staff with the new image. The project team also organized a celebration for the 100th store to take up the new brand, and the ensuing party was covered in the internal magazine, which dedicated a page of each bi-monthly edition to news about the project. None of these things were a huge overhead for O’Shea’s team, but all were essential in keeping the project moving along.
‘We held a public briefing for industry, people like designers and shopfitters, to engage them in the “selling process”,’ O’Shea adds. ‘This proved to be amazingly successful as they became the main drivers in the initial uptake. It also made the retailers aware that the changes were happening for real and happening now.’
He took it upon himself to ensure he was in regular contact with all stakeholders. ‘I phoned them all regularly,’ says O’Shea. ‘The team and I visited the outlets in person explaining how easy it would be to comply with the new branding and doing some communication management – dispelling any myths that were in circulation,’ he explains. ‘We had a really good response to this approach as the shopfits were being completed at the rate of four per week and the newly branded shops were reporting extra sales.’
‘I have likened the possible stalling of our project to the stalling of a jumbo jet, very difficult to kickstart,’ concludes O’Shea. ‘We knew we had to keep up the pace firstly to get it all done, but secondly to carry the staff along with us.’
Would your stakeholders be motivated by money? Would an interest-free loan work for them, or help with the cost of adopting your project deliverables or staff overtime? If so, think about how you will build this into your project budget – and how you are going to convince your sponsor that it will be money worth spent. It could be worth getting some input from stakeholders in the form of ‘testimonials’ so that you have a bank of responses and data (maybe even through doing a questionnaire) to make your case.
If you can’t offer money, what is the closest that you can get? This could be support through using project team members as additional resources or something else that you could deliver within your budget which would add value and improve your chances of project success.
This case study first appeared in Project Management in the Real World (1st edition) by Elizabeth Harrin, BCS Books (2006). It was replaced with another one in the 2nd edition but I thought it was still worth sharing with you here.