I recently gave a talk about branding to the Connecticut Association of Non profits. After the presentation, an audience member came forward with a great question. Her organization had a new brand, and made changes in their website, communications and marketing — but she needed to get her colleagues on board, so everyone was using the same key messages and communication standards.
So, once an organization has new branding, how do you implement it successfully within the organization?
The rollout meeting
There are two parts to selling a brand within an organization. One is selling it to the staff, the other is selling it to the board. I would do these two things separately, at separate meetings, and adjust the tone of the following ideas accordingly:
First, I would get the whole staff (if it’s small) or each team (if the organization is big) together for a briefing session. At the session, someone with stature (like the Executive Director) should:
a. share their excitement about the new brand
b. talk about the possibilities for greater success the new brand creates
c. explain the meaning of the logo and the process by which it was created.
It’s important that this message come from the top, not from a mid-level person or a person with “just” operational responsibilities.
I would then distribute written usage guidelines and talk about the importance of everyone getting on board so that our organization can present the same kind of professional and consistent image that the leading brands present. Everyone in the organization should understand that they will all be held accountable for following the guidelines. The attitude should be one of upbeat expectation that of course everyone will want to pitch in and make this brand work for the organization and its clients.
Delivering the message
Finally, I would ask the best trainer in the organization to lead the group in a session where every individual practices delivering the brand message, tagline and/or value proposition. Again, the benefits of universal adherence should be explained in a clear and simple way, as well as the expectation that everyone will learn this language and use it in all written and verbal communications about the organization. This is a place where you can get buy-in by asking people to brainstorm (and/or demonstrate to the group) their ideas about ways the brand message could be used in different situations.
The new attitude
Overall, the attitude is:
1. This new brand is going to help us help more people.
2. It’s easy to use it–and if you have any questions, we’re here to help.
3. We’re all really excited to be entering this new phase of our organization’s growth together, so thank you in advance for helping make the next leg of our journey a success.
FACT OF THE MONTH
More than 100 years ago, the felt hat makers of England used mercury to stabilize wool. Breathing mercury’s fumes over a long period of time will cause erethism, a disorder characterized by nervousness, irritability, and strange personality changes. Thus, “mad as a hatter”.