In part three of our Change Management blog series, we are looking at your brand and brand perception. One of the biggest changes an organization can make is to change the nature of its “Brand”. I am certain many organizations are not aware of their brand. Furthermore, even if they do have a good idea of their brand, they may not understand how their brand is perceived by the outside world. Branding is so important and yet it is often overlooked. How do you get everyone together to build and promote a brand?
As my good friend Peter Evans points out, before you can establish/develop/reinforce a brand, you need to analyze your strengths. Combining these strengths with your vision allows you to start to build the organisation/brand that reflects this. Research what your customers are saying and find out what they perceive your strengths to be. For example, when Welch went through a rebranding exercise a few years ago, we wanted to have a brand that demonstrated the things that we were good at. We conducted client research on our brand perception and found out what our clients thought separated us from the rest and tried to increase the visibility of those strengths.
Expert visibility is a great first step to get a brand out there and humanize it. Brands in all sectors are trying to be more approachable to open up the conversation with their prospects. It is important to look at the persona that you are presenting and examine how your brand is going to be seen by all kinds of different prospects/clients/connectors. In this regard there is often a disproportionate amount of people in an organization carrying the weight of spreading the brand message. The first big change is often the requirement that all of your key people get involved in this process. Before you make the request of your people, be sure you have provided the training necessary for them to understand the brand and the corresponding pitch to potential clients.
The goal is to change/reinforce the community’s perception of your brand. This may require changing your materials to reflect who/what your brand represents. It may also require more visibility. There are a number of ways to increase your visibility in the marketplace; attend more events in your markets, increase the number of representatives you have at events, ensure your online presence is up to date, promotes your brand and establishes your people as thought leaders.
As with most things, your brand will always be somewhat dynamic. The key is to understand the changes that will be required internally and externally to fully implement/support your brand. Ensure you have provided your people with the necessary tools/education to fulfill their roles in promoting the brand.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our Change Management series to learn more about leadership and how you can maintain your focus and momentum as a leader. And don’t forget to watch our Change Management Webinar to learn more about 5 key approaches for change management and more tips on brand perception.
Micheal Burch, CPA, CA, Managing Partner, Welch LLP
Peter Evans, Founder & CEO , Expertfile