News & Views

Building excitement for your brand initiative

Your branding is the creative engine that powers how your organization is perceived in the external marketplace. But building an effective brand takes more than simply involving everyone who has to live the brand daily — you have to get them excited about it. Here are five tips for how to get the employees at your company stoked for a brand initiative.

1. Involve stakeholders early

Many people don’t like change or surprises. They’re less likely to embrace a branding change if it’s handed to them seemingly out of nowhere. Plus, giving them a small voice in the process — or even just letting them know about the initiative and why it’s happening — can turn naysayers into advocates.

To set your branding initiative up for success, take a thoughtful, proactive approach to stakeholder participation by asking for their input during the discovery period. Include them in focus groups and individual interviews. (We’ve found that doing an organization-wide qualitative survey as part of discovery is a particularly efficient way to begin to build widespread consensus and gather information.) This will give them a stake in the outcome and make them feel like they’ve been heard — because they will have been.

2. Make the business case for branding

A strong brand initiative is done in response to meaningful external activity: changes in audience needs, the socio-cultural landscape, and the economy. As a result, your brand needs to periodically evolve and adapt. While many employees will understand this, it’s still important to explicitly provide them with the rationale behind the brand initiative. After all, branding is a 24/7 sales tool that’s working even when personnel are asleep. Embracing a brand initiative will ultimately make their jobs easier, which is great news they’ll be excited to hear all about.

3. Stimulate conversation

In addition to delivering weekly email communications at a set time so all employees expect it, you can share that same information on your company intranet in a designated space — with the opportunity for staff to leave comments and ask questions. But, you can also share updates about the brand initiative using varied media, such as internal videos, podcasts, town halls, and lunch-and-learns, to appeal to different learning styles. These methods can promote transparency, deepen organizational education, and generate a steady buzz for your brand initiative.

4. Identify ambassadors

At your organization, getting every employee on board all at once might feel like a boil-the-ocean task. If this is the case, find those who are or have become passionately supportive about the initiative to convince and build enthusiasm with others. These ambassadors can write internal blog postings, speak at weekly meetings, or act as liaisons between you and other employees to relay questions and answers — and even handle the water-cooler chatter that might arise. Their alacrity, which could be contagious, can both enable you to focus on other aspects of this initiative and foster overall employee engagement with it. (Note that it’s important that these ambassadors are compensated and recognized for this additional work.)

5. Share successes

The direct impact of a brand initiative can be difficult (and expensive) to measure. But revenue growth, increases in social followers, positive anecdotal feedback, and industry awards can all be tied back to the initiative — and should be shared. Don’t be afraid to celebrate small wins and larger milestones; it’s exciting when changes to your brand move the organization forward!

An internal brand launch day, for example, that celebrates when your new website goes live, encourages the kind of energy that can strengthen an external brand campaign or initiative. Consider distributing meaningful and unexpected swag. (We recommend thinking twice about selecting golf shirts and tote bags, and also going with brand-name items that convey quality and don’t end up in a landfill.) The planning of quarterly updates can also indicate to all staff that the time, talent, and money invested in the initiative are worthwhile, and these updates can maintain the excitement around the initiative as the company works on other efforts.

Making internal excitement fundamental to your strategy is not only valuable to the brand initiative’s success, but it can also help you and other brand strategists attain the sincere trust of the same people who live into and represent your brand every day.