Managing a global brand in today’s high-speed world of instantaneous customer feedback on numerous technology platforms requires businesses to respond quickly and keep all of your ducks…well you know.
Here are common ways managers hurt their image:
4. Handling corporate mash-ups
It’s a good thing when companies grow because of new departments, new geographic areas, or through acquisitions. It’s a bad thing when these breakout groups want to retain their own identity. So the job of a good marketing director is to get outstanding groups within your enterprise to align lock step with everyone else. What got them there, the performance to be acquired or to be important enough to become their own department needs to be managed. A migration plan can be useful to bring the rogue groups into the fold and reflect the enterprise’s image, which must be maintained though consistent messaging and branding.
My ad agency was fortunate enough to be involved with a global corporate mash-up. When a corporate M&A brings several other businesses into the fold, we witnessed the expert handling of a merging of identities over the course of several years. Even with such expert handling, there is a tremendous reluctance for former “Company X” employs to feel as if they are part of the new “Company Y” empire. The former Company X group wanted to retain their former identity by expressing itself with it’s own interpretation of the new Company Y branding standards. It took the strong steady hand of the global Marketing Director to gently transition the cultures together. Continual adjusting of outgoing marketing material and social media keeps everyone from being an ugly duckling.
5. Internal communications don’t look like external communications.
The assumption that an internal presentation is ok if it’s off brand, because it’s for internal use only sends an erroneous message to employees and stakeholders and can sometimes end up externally, which denigrates the overall image of the enterprise.
The most obvious example is that senior executive is tasked with pulling together a global presentation about the company training centers. He has a PowerPoint program and the company logo. He knows what fonts to use, but it’s Sunday afternoon and he hasn’t loaded them into his PowerPoint. He has the brand color palette in a branding manual, but has not imported them. In the end, the Monday morning presentation looks like a poor rendition of the company’s brand. The mid-level executives, even transactional employees who are often face to face with the customer, view the presentation and their reaction is less than overwhelmingly positive. The not so subtle message is, that our company mission depicted by the brand is not that important.
Companies need to exercise the same effort towards branding internally as well as externally. A defining global brand requires that the company makes sure that all of its internal communications fit its brand values, just as it does for external communications. If the company’s brand is well though out, then it is creating value for the company as a blueprint for internal brand practices as well. The bottom line is “Communicate your own brand positioning to your own people before you communicate it to your customers”. Keeping internal as much as external communications on brand helps your ducks transform into beautiful swans.