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A Brand is More Than Green M & M's: A Live Brand Review

BrandingHave you ever asked your boss what your brand was? What about your fellow employees? Two A/E/C firms did just that with the help of Christine Hollinden, Founding Principal of Hollinden Marketing and Strategic Consulting. The firms that bravely participated were TLC Engineering for Architecture and Kleinschmidt Associates.

Months before Build Business, Holliden surveyed the employees of both firms asking what is their firms brand and to list three things that make their firm unique. She also had everyone rank what they thought the most important aspect of a brand was: people, actions, collateral, website, logo, proposals, or colors. Overall, the results were generic and disappointing. If your employees perception of your brand including products, services, and experience are generic that will be the outside view of your firm.

Holliden provided a series of steps to help your firm take action and create a strong brand.

  1. Executive Input: What do the principals want
  2. Employee Survey: What do your employees think of your current brand
  3. Competitive Research: What are your competitors doing
  4. Market Audit: What is out their
  5. Findings Review: What does this all mean
  6. Report: What are you going to do about it

How do you get all of your employees on the same page with your company brand?

  1. Encourage
  2. Educate
  3. Inform
  4. Train

Sounds simple enough but it takes a consistent effort. Showing excitement for your brand and providing employees with the right tools will give the employee the confidence needed to live the brand.

Beginning the process with a positioning statement (elevator speech) is key. This is your business strategy that must be articulated sincerely, compellingly and consistently.

A very simple example template she provided was:

[Firm] is the [descriptor] [expertise] in [market]. We help [clients] to [benefit] and [benefit].

Additional recommended steps to take are creating a brand standards guide that all employees are given and having brand ambassadors that live the brand and train others.

A strong, developed brand not only helps your firm win jobs but it helps tie your company together.

Most important: Live your brand.

Has your company rebranded or do you have a branding training program initiated? 

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