Posted in: Opinion

The things that money can’t buy, but brand can

The power of brand can spark immeasurable internal and cultural benefits, often stretching far beyond the cosmetics or spreadsheets of your business.

13th April 2022

James Bolton

James Bolton

James Bolton

Written by James Bolton,
Brand Strategist & Creative Copywriter

For many people, 'brand' is just logos, colour palettes and type choices. And that's understandable – they're the most immediate and tangible things we see. But beneath the facade, there's an impetus that means brand can have just as much impact internally, as it does externally.

From recruitment and retention through to culture and pride, your brand can do the things that money can’t buy. It can attract ambassadors already aligned with your values, unlock your people’s potential, help power up your purpose, and build an army who are empowered to inspire new ideas.

Man on the moon

Whether it’s a finance executive, HR lead, sales director or cleaner, a clear vision and identity can align everyone within an organisation. It unites people behind a mission that everyone can strive for in their own collective way.

There’s never been a better example than when JFK visited NASA way back in 1961. After spotting a janitor cleaning a hallway, the President walked up and asked what he did at NASA. The janitor replied: “I’m helping put a man on the moon!”

The lesson here is that businesses with a strong, shared common purpose and a clear sense of their own identity are like targeted missiles (or rockets, in this case) – all employees know precisely where their organisation is heading and why. It doesn’t matter what their role involves; they’re all pulling in the same direction. The story encapsulates exactly why branding matters to employees and proves that brand can inform decision-making while shaping and fueling employee satisfaction.

JFK visiting NASA in 1961

JFK visiting NASA in 1961

This must be the place

Continuing along a similar path, brands with a strong proposition are also the best placed to attract, recruit and retain the right type of people; both in an attitudinal and skills sense. If your brand perception and reputation are right, it’ll go a long way to making an organisation where people want to work.

It all feeds into a shift in cultures and attitudes which has gathered pace over the past decade. Organisations that do good and pay good; organisations that have a colourful company culture and a clean, corporate reputation. As the lines between business and society continue to blur, now more than ever, people want to work somewhere that shares their values and views of their world.

And thanks to social media and the digital world, brands need to be more transparent than ever. It could be customer interactions, work perks or environmental commitments – the bottom line is your attitude and culture can be unpicked in just a few clicks. Even career review sites make it that bit easier for prospective employees to find out what working at your company is really all about.

Karl Pemberton - Active Chartered Financial Planners

Karl Pemberton - Active Chartered Financial Planners

Karl Pemberton, MD at long-term brand partners, Active, said: “Defining a much stronger brand has helped us reinforce our relationships, as well as attract the right type of client. Ultimately, it’s playing a critical role in attracting higher value customers that appreciate our services and understand what we add.

“But brand isn’t always just the generic business things like sales, profit, turnover and efficiency.

“It’s our culture, our people, how much they enjoy coming to work, how much they feel valued and how we reward people.”

As today’s highly competitive job market ebbs and flows to the waves of remote working, employee benefits and making a difference to the world, having a strong and positive brand is crucial for any effective recruitment process. So much so that it’s vital for business survival too.

All together now

A change in brand can often be met with resistance; people can become attached to an identity or logo. You might not believe it, but colours and fonts can hold a place in the heart of even the coldest accountant. Yet over the course of a business’ lifetime, changes in brand are inevitable. They’re necessary and should be 100% embraced at every turn. As well as bringing your brand into line with your business, you should see this as an opportunity to align and unite your people behind one powerful vision and mission. From new starters to seasoned veterans, your brand can build loyalty and bring employees along for your journey into the future. It’s precisely the same message as JFK’s NASA story.

Visualsoft brand workshop.

While it’s impossible for everyone to be involved in the actual brand process from the outset and throughout, including heads of departments or at least the senior leadership team will go a long way to ensuring everyone is on the same page. This also poses the opportunity to openly discuss viewpoints and perspectives, which we often find can be the key that unlocks vital elements of the brand story. At a company-wide level, we encourage and facilitate anonymous questionnaires which take on board everyone’s thoughts and feelings. Again, these answers feed into our branding workshops and can influence some of the later strategic thinking around points of difference and propositions.

Karl added: “It’s crucial for any business to know what makes it tick, what makes it special and to remain authentic. Unless the team really knows our vision for the business and understands our values and character, how can you expect them to represent our brand properly?”

These avenues also offer employees the chance to have their voices heard and directly shape the company’s direction. This can reignite a sense of belonging and engagement and kick-start their own creative processes in their day-to-day roles.

Let’s push things forward

Don’t approach your brand process as purely a cosmetic or external-facing exercise. Don’t see it as an issue to be siloed to your marketing team. Brand belongs to everyone. Innovative businesses recognise this and realise that the power of a refined brand can empower people and make them intrinsically part of something greater than the individual.

Those comments ring true with our experience as an agency. Companies that consider both the internal and external implications of their brand decisions are best placed for growth. These forward-thinking organisations don’t just end up with a solid customer-facing proposition that succinctly communicates why they exist; they also unify their people and their business around a key common purpose and target. That’s something everyone can get behind.

If your organisation needs helping realising the benefits of brand – whether that’s internally or externally – drop us a message.

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