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June 30, 2017 Ways to Build Team Brand Awareness
The Frontline Team always poses interesting questions. As I respond to this one, I feel like I’ve solved the riddle of the Sphinx!* The moment a group becomes a team is when they share a singular focus. Then, we can build on and see the emergence of brand awareness. Many people believe awareness is advertising and marketing activities. Yes, these are tactics used to create impressions and entice prospects to engage with your offerings. However, we want to reach the deep awareness and connect a feeling to it. Consider the ASPCA commercials with the sad images of how animals are abused. They are soliciting our help to fund the work they do—most people will have an emotional reaction to the images.
The impact of brand awareness on team members is collective and individual, what emotions they bring to the experience. Brand awareness is not subtle or it can be intangible. So, you can see that brand awareness is visceral—It can exist at a cellular level.
Enter, “Buy In.”
The team members are advocates for the brand. It requires a level of pride in association with the brand. Does it linger once they leave work? Do they relate to family and friends how much they enjoy working with the brand or otherwise?
If not, the members are just working for a paycheck and could care less about what the company stands for. Here is where Millennials have a large impact. They want companies to support causes they can believe in and be associated with.
Obtaining team buy in can be achieved in many ways.
- “Wear-ables” can unify a brand with company colors and symbols. It provides a “belongingness”, too. Consider how people use this approach for family reunions—everyone receives a shirt!
- Reinforced company values—All the outfits and fun mean nothing unless positive behavior is reinforced within the company culture. What gets rewarded is considered important. Make a list about your observations of company values: What is rewarded? How is bullying handled? Where can you identify favoritism? Who gets away with what? Everyone observes like kids in a family
- Project managers and leaders must commit to raise the bar on what surrounds the brand. It is most powerful when it appears from the vision and values of a company—How does the manager’s behavior align with the values? Then, this awareness must be imparted to all who work under the company banner and leadership. What it stands for must be clear for all to celebrate its uniqueness and positioning in the market. Where are company events held—Does Hooter’s align with your attitude toward exploiting women? (Alignment is why social media ads can be tricky, because we can’t choose the other ads on the page so we must be careful of placement!)
- Another useful tool is to sample the marketplace. This can be done in person at a trade show or online with a survey. Review the primary, secondary, and tertiary marketplace. It is revealing!
Create and Use a Style Guide—Consistency and Quality Control
This simple guide will quickly eliminate confusion and mistakes. Contact your marketing department or consultant for information used on collateral, for example.
Elements to include cover the specifications of your brand:
- Logo in color and black and white.
- How much blank space around it
- Proximity to other copy like for ads
- Page placement
- Alignment with alliances’ logos
- Font style names and sizes
- Colors with Pantone matching (PMS) numbers if possible.
- Social media sites with who manages them.
- Add your own line items.
Brand awareness manifests as many things:
- Mental pictures
- Associations, connotations
It may be useful to test these in a staff meeting to gather ideas about perceptions. Produce a report and see how effective images and messages are.
For example, consider Starbucks. The actual image of the maidenhead in the green circle is irrelevant to the customer (just relevant to Mr. Shultz who was a Moby Dick fan.) Yet, the logo is recognizable on a cream cup seen from across a room with the green circle! Powerful.
So, what’s the point?
The stickiness or memorability of the cup (remember the Starbuck’s kerfuffle when the
2016 Christmas cup didn’t have stars?) is the investment the user makes to engage with the brand. They become part of the brand and attach with their feelings, not just as an observer. The danger is that the company must never disappoint the customer or the company will lose all the goodwill the customer has already established. This is an intangible when a company goes on sale—the goodwill factor.
Connecting the team to the brand works the same way. How much are they invested in it? Did they work on any portion of the branding process? How does it impact them daily?
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*By the way, curious about the riddle?
The riddle: What crawls on all fours in the morning, walks on two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening? Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, July 20. Your accurate answers will be rewarded with a complimentary 30-minute Ask-the-Coach-Anything session. Thanks for playing 😉 MC