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My company recently acquired a new building. The architect proposed a design for the facade that goes against the branding guidelines on use of our company logo.

As the Corpcomms manager, I did my part by letting my bosses know that this is not a good way to proceed. By approving this design, we set a precedence for other departments to do similarly.

Unfortunately today I received an announcement via email from my bosses that they have decided to go ahead with it.

I should probably let it go, but I still disagree. And I definitely don't know how to go on to brief other departments about the branding guidelines in future. What should I do?

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Actually this question and the answers apply more generally: what do we do when the decision makers decide against the experts' recommendations. Either in branding, or in processes, or in software development best practices, ... –  Stephan Kolassa Mar 20 at 15:24
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possible duplicate of Dealing with a designer who won't accept feedback –  Lego Stormtroopr Mar 20 at 22:55
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It seem to me that an architectural facade would be so seldomly seen, relative to a web page or print publication, that deviating from the brand guidelines would be unlikely to dilute any brand awareness. Will this actually be an issue? –  Lego Stormtroopr Mar 20 at 22:56
    
If this decision is within the scope of your boss's authority, then it is inappropriate for you to take the matter any further. Period. –  RBarryYoung Mar 20 at 23:45

5 Answers 5

up vote 36 down vote accepted

Your boss has made a decision, you have done your duty by pointing out the consequences and stating that you think it is a bad idea. After that, you should let it go, it is not your responsibility.

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Thank you that really helps! –  Myojojo Mar 20 at 15:00
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The only addition to this I'd make is make sure you have an email/letter which shows that you did in fact raise it. That way your manager cannot simply shift blame onto you for not making him aware. –  Liath Mar 21 at 8:31
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Why not, What if he can convince him to change his mind? What if there is money to be saved or lost? Why is this answer correct? –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Mar 21 at 16:34
    
I agree that there is an option to keep perusing the matter, but at some stage you just need to let go and accept the decision. When to push on and when to let go heavily depends on the specific situation, but it seemed prudent here to advice to let go. –  Paul Hiemstra Mar 21 at 19:14

You should remember that your bosses are in charge of the branding guidelines to begin with. Just because the new design doesn't follow the guidelines that they themselves wrote, possibly years ago, doesn't mean that they can't go against those guidelines if they wanted to. It might not look great or even good, but if it was approved by the right manager, you really shouldn't continue to object, at least not publicly.

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Thank you. Hard words but I needed that truth! –  Myojojo Mar 20 at 15:07
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Why not? Why is it ok? Is it ok to fight about it privately then? –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Mar 21 at 16:36
    
It is ok to discuss with workers and friends privately and socially. I mean, these kinds of water cooler discussions happen quite a lot where I work. It's not "fighting," just opinionating. –  panoptical Mar 21 at 16:58
    
I took the question as the boss is the OPs boss, but not the hed of the entire company. As in the boss is a department head, but its not ultimately his choice. –  Andy Mar 22 at 1:35

You've met the "due diligence" requirements by advising site management of your concern. You are not obligated to take it further.

In some companies, it may be considered appropriate to take such questions up the chain, either directly or via whatever indirect mechanism the company provides. But it shouldn't be done lightly. Remember that branding guidelines are just that, guidelines, and it's possible site management already has approval from Corporate for the deviation from standard practice... and that if you've been an outspoken critic, you're likely to be suspect as the source of the complaint even if there's an "anonymous suggestion" system in place. And it shouldn't be done contentiously; phrase it as a question rather than an accusation. ("I don't quite understand how this squares with policy, and I'd like to so I can do my job better in the future. Who should I talk to for additional education in this area?") That raises the issue without coming across as a backstab.

If you really think the decision is going to actively damage the trademark protection or otherwise cost the company a huge amount, and are willing to risk betting your job on either being right or being respected for the effort, that's one thing. (I might risk it in my company, for example, if this was an issue in my area of expertise and I thought megabucks were at risk; IBM has a pretty decent history in that regard.)

If not, then pick your battles. Remember that if it is a problem, someone from Corporate and/or the legal department will eventually notice it and decide whether something has to be done about it... and the blame, if any, isn't going to land on you.

(If this was a serious corporate ethics issue, I'd say take it up the chain and damn the torpedoes. But even then I'd phrase no more strongly than "this worries me, but I may be misinterpreting what I'm seeing.")

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I would let it go because in the end it is not your decision. However, I find it important to keep a small diary which briefly describes events like these, how you felt about it and what you did.

If someone higher up starts questioning this decision made in the past, you have something which shows that you let this go because it wasn't your final call, but that you did acknowledge it and took the appropriate action of notifying your superiors.

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Like an enemies list so you can remember all the bad things people did to you? Is that productive and helpful? –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Mar 21 at 16:37
    
Well, no not at all. I just meant that it might be helpful to make a small note of an event as a reminder if it comes up again, as a record of how you handled things to show you had the best interest of the company in mind. Absolutely not to nurse a grievance about other people. After all the boss in this story is just doing what he thinks is best according to him. You think that isn't helpful? –  Maneating Koala Mar 21 at 19:57

No matter the topic, if it's not illegal or immoral, do whatever your bosses ask you to do. It is their job to make decisions and your job to carry them out. Keep records of any written communication where you reminded them of the conflict and their responses. Store them as long as you can. (Make sure this does not violate any company policy.) This might help you if their superiors question the situation and it comes back to you. After you've done this, let it go and don't let yourself be stressed out by it.

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Hi TecBrat, welcome to The Workplace. While your advice may be good, great How to Answers don't only explain what, but why. Would you mind expanding on why your approach is a good one and what caveats there might be? –  CMW Mar 20 at 23:27
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@CMW Done, as requested. –  TecBrat Mar 21 at 0:23
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I like @maneatingkoala 's suggestion about a diary. It is much less likely to be a policy violation, but it might hold less weight than company emails. –  TecBrat Mar 21 at 12:44

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