Building Your Brand Starts Inside Your Building

(from Inside Indiana Business, 19 JUL 2012)
http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/contributors.asp?ID=2314

Building Your Brand Starts Inside Your Building

By: Phil Daniels – President, Tactic Marketing
Category: Marketing and Brand Development
It’s no secret that customers can make or break the launch of your brand. After all, most of the time and money for rebranding are focused on the external buying group. But what about your internal audience? How do you successfully introduce a new brand to employees?

Rebranding is a golden opportunity. A new logo is a tangible output of the creative process, but it alone isn’t enough to drive the desired change (isn’t that why you’re rebranding?). Unleashing a new brand should be exciting. It presents a rare opportunity to reestablish the vision, values, and purpose of your company. This change starts inside your building-how proactively you control it is up to you.

I’m often asked about the process of rebranding; specifically, how to “roll out” a new brand to customers and prospects. While this is hugely important, I encourage you to give equal attention to the internal launch. Here are five recommendations to consider for any branding change:

Create brand champions.

In reality, everyone within the organization is the “brand.” However, it’s useful to designate an energetic group of employees – from different job functions- to voice the progress and outcomes of the branding process. This group of ambassadors can share, in practical terms, the new brand within the culture. This peer involvement also helps combat any skeptics or negativity around a brand’s re-launch.

Share the process.

There’s a certain mystery to the creative process. Employees see the marketing agency come and go, but the pitches and ideas tend to happen behind closed doors. Some diligence is necessary, but the entire process doesn’t need to be esoteric. Sharing general updates and progress will help communicate that things are on track. Once the brand is launched, there’s little harm in sharing the overarching process that helps demonstrate “how we got here.”

Arm the sales team.
Good things happen when there’s harmony between the “sales” and “marketing” departments. A new brand is more meaningful to the sales team when they have the tools to use it. On day one (if not sooner), introduce your sales team to an updated arsenal to support their hard work. More than a business card, this toolkit should at least be comparable to what they’ve used before (sales materials, presentation, proposals, content, etc.); you’ll get extra points for introducing new tools that have been in the purgatory of project requests.

Create welcome kits.

With change comes uncertainty. In absence of internal communication, employees may wonder how the new brand will affect their specific job. One way to address any anxiety is to provide a “welcome kit” that details the brand change, addresses common questions, and includes new brand assets. You can also reinforce the brand through a useful giveaway. Whether it’s a water bottle or nice-fitting golf shirt, an introductory token communicates that there’s a plan, commitment, and purpose in place.

Make it an event.

Before sharing the brand with customers, why not host a company-wide kick-off? Whether it’s a “town hall” meeting or an informal luncheon, the event should be spirited and informative. Message boards, FAQs, and visual elements should be present. It’s also a nice touch to have your creative agency in attendance to openly communicate the brand strategy, vision and implementation. Don’t forget to archive and make any information available to those who are unable to attend.

Despite the underlying need and hard work, “rebranding” isn’t always met with open arms in established companies. However, when launched and positioned properly, it can be culturally rewarding and profitable. Success will likely be measured in how your customers react to the change, but remember, building a great brand begins in your building.

Phil Daniels is President of Tactic, an Indianapolis branding firm. With a background in change management and corporate rebranding, Phil has consulted on a variety of brands that include JP Morgan, ExactTarget and McLaren Automotive. For more information, follow Phil on twitter @phidaniels, visit http://www.TacticMarketing.com, or email info@tacticmarketing.com.

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