The brand lives through your people
Branding is so much more than a logo and a set of colors (although those are an important representation). Branding is about the experience of the organization, its products and services, its people and its communications. A bad brand experience can happen anywhere. But the one people will remember and share is when it’s personal — a rude phone call, poor customer service, a contact person who can’t help because she’s untrained.
An essential element of a new, refreshed or restaged brand is introducing it to everyone in the organization and providing them with the tools to communicate its essence.
Why? Because where your brand lives is with your people. When they embrace it, understand what it stands for, know the organization’s purpose and heart and have the tools to implement it, they will take ownership and create that positive brand experience.
So many times leadership will look at rebranding as creating a new logo and a new set of graphic standards for communications — from print to online. Yes, that’s important because it creates visual consistency and can reinforce essential messages and ideas, but it’s external.
How does that carry into the day-to-day world of communications, customer service and one-on-one interactions?
Build in basic tools for day to day branding
Sure, the brand should be consistent on the website, on brochures and catalogs, even on business cards. (We do that.) But how can you create the internal brand and make it easy for everyone to adopt? Build in basic tools, template, displays and training.
What if … a staff person could click File/New in Microsoft Word and end up with a template for a letter that is already pre-configured with the logo, colors, address, brand promise and a style sheet pre-defined for fonts, margins, paragraphs and bullets? And do the same for PowerPoint, with a choice of two or three different design systems? And have Memo and Fax forms accessible at the click of a mouse, already designed and formatted? No more copy and paste of the logo, no more “this is my version of the brand.”
Most offices now have color laser printers … it’s possible to eliminate printed stationery and create all of your letters and forms in your word processing software, color or black and white.
And what if your internal communications team had a reference guide to the brand color palette, with all colors defined in RGB, CMYK, PMS colors and HTML, so each time someone applied the corporate blue, it’s the same blue?
And wouldn’t it be great if there was a collection of clean, consistent logos in nearly any digital file format you might need, in color, black and white and grayscale? No more rebuilding, re-using, cutting, stretching and fixing or trying to find a logo for that new document.
And what if the essential brand messages were integrated into the business cards your staff hands out, or on beautiful posters hanging on the walls of the office, or as banners in the warehouse?
That’s internal branding
Coupled with a training program, your staff can engage and embrace the brand’s visual system, and learn and live the brand messages that guide the brand experience. You’ll create brand champions and you’ll ensure the visual elements of the brand are cohesive, consistent and professional.
Internal brand alignment, one part of brand optimization
Internal brand alignment is one component of Creative Company’s five-point brand optimization methodology. After more than 30 years of building new brands, restaging brands and refreshing existing brand programs, we’ve seen the impact from providing tools and training to enroll the whole organization in both the idea of the brand and the design.
To see examples of the tools and templates we’ve described, click through to the additional links below.
- Award-winning healthcare brand system
- Expanding government association brands and providing needed tools
- Download our brand optimization overview
Now … in your organization … Are you frustrated because everyone is doing their own version of the brand? Or do you see personalized versions of day-to-day communications from letters to fax forms? Or is it tough to find a clean logo file when you need one?
We can help
We’ll clean up and organize your existing identity and communications, or work with you to reinvent or refresh the whole system. Give us a call toll-free at 866.363.4433. Or drop me an email to email@example.com.
Jennifer Larsen Morrow
Jennifer founded Creative Company with two partners in 1978 in Salem, Oregon. Her training as a graphic designer has guided the company's focus on brand persona founded in design and message, generating the brand optimization methodology. Award winning design, on point messaging and strategic positioning have generated response for clients since 1978.