Your brand ID is your shop window to the world, right? But as Sarah Patten discovers, it should also inform your company culture.
Think of the words “brand” and “identity” and your mind will naturally be full of sharp-suited and even sharper-minded marketers and PR agents who spend their lives finding creative ways to neatly package businesses.
That’s well and good, and many companies benefit from good-quality communication with the outside world.
After all, a decent brand identity is an effective way of presenting your organisation. It tells people who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. A strong brand grabs attention, engages customers and prospects, and distinguishes you from your competitors. It builds faith in your business, and lends it credibility.
But the benefits of a compelling brand extend way beyond your interactions with the outside world. With the right approach, it can pay dividends internally, too, by engaging and motivating employees, building their loyalty, and increasing productivity.
What’s more, it can instil a sense of pride in your company, ensuring that the workforce is happy to represent you, even when they’re not in the office.
All of which begs an obvious question: how do you build a brand so that your corporate culture is enshrined internally, as well as giving you a positive public profile? We asked Just Recruitment Group Ltd’s team of consultants for their advice. Here are five of their top tips.
1. Consistency is key
"One of your brand’s most important jobs is to reflect your vision and values, and communicate these to customers and employees,” says Senior Consultant, Jody Collings. “This can be achieved through all manner of channels: colour schemes, logo, and the design of your website and marketing materials, to name but a few. All of these elements need to be applied consistently, both internally and externally, to reinforce the messages you want to send about your organisation.”
This means that you should ensure your internal communications are informed by your brand ID, and that every aspect of personnel management and development reflects it.
2. Make your workplace tell your story
“One area that is easy to overlook is the design of your workplace itself,” states Ms. Collings. “But it’s crucial to take stock of your physical office environment, and consider the message it’s sending to your staff about what you stand for as a business."
“Areas to consider include colour schemes, furnishings, and the layout of your workspace. If they don’t reflect your brand identity, and the values you aspire to, your workforce will never fully own it. They won’t be formed in the distinctive identity of your company.”
3. Create a physical space that reinforces your culture
Layout is a strong example of Jody's point. As her colleague Ellen Dalena reports, “If teamwork is important to your culture, then a cluster of desks will be much more appropriate than desks laid out in rows. What’s more, breakout areas will allow staff to collaborate in comfort."
“Meanwhile, if you value sustainability, simple steps such as improving natural lighting, installing recycling bins and choosing ethically-sourced furniture will all encourage your staff to buy into this aspect of your corporate identity."
“By the same token, if creativity is your thing, make sure it’s reflected in the working environment. Drab, corporate décor is a definite no-no. But the odd strategically-placed armchair or decent coffee machine could make all the difference to your team’s performance.”
4. Involve staff to secure their buy-in
If you’re wondering how to secure engagement with your brand identity among the workforce, Jody has a handy suggestion.
“One way to maximise the benefits of office branding is to involve your staff in the design process. By taking their views on board, you are more likely to get things right. Not only that, but you’ll be giving your employees a sense of ownership over your brand, and pride in it. This, in turn, will inform their interactions with colleagues and clients alike.”
5. Be flexible
It’s easy to think that your brand identity is set in stone. But Manager Abigail Webb regards this as a big mistake – especially when it comes to your company culture.
“Businesses should resist the urge to stick slavishly to a set of brand guidelines when it comes to every aspect of the design, layout and management of their workplace,” she says. “If it’s right to bend the rules for the sake of staff motivation or health and safety, then of course you should do it."
“For example, if your employees want to drink tea out of their favourite mugs, rather than ones bearing the company logo, I’d say you should let them."
“It’s all about getting things in proper perspective. If a brand ID becomes constraining, like a straitjacket, then it probably won’t be conducive to a happy or productive workforce. Learn where to flex it and where to protect it, and you’ll be well on the road to success.”
© 2018 Just Recruitment Group Ltd.
Posted on Tuesday Jan 10