In my work with organisations on their ‘Brand Culture’, or how their people express the brand, I typically look at three levels of brand messaging: what the company brand stands for, what each team says about who they are, and what the individual’s personal brand communicates. These three levels of brand should work together – by which I mean they do not all have to say the same thing, but should connect with each other in meaningful ways.
In my work I am always trying to answer these two questions:
- How confident and clear are people about who they are in business and what they bring to stakeholders?
- How are people seen (or are they seen?) by important others, such as prospects, clients and wider teams?
Understanding that a brand is not just a logo, a company website and some advertising, but that it is really about people – both internally (staff) and externally (clients, investors, prospective employees and other audiences) – is key to taking an authentic and powerful approach to brand strategy and by extension, culture.
What is a team brand?
In a previous article describing the Team Brand experience with Westpac, I used the example of one BDM team I worked with to explain how focusing on your particular team’s brand can make you stronger. We explored what made this BDM team so great – their capabilities, passions and strengths. We also looked at their sense of purpose, team objectives and values and connected them to the overarching company values. But we didn’t just look internally – we took it a step further and described in clear language how this mix of qualities the team brings creates value for outside stakeholders (such as clients, referral sources and other teams within the bank).
There are rich rewards that come from developing clarity and confidence in your particular team’s identity, and this works not only for teams of business development managers or advisors (such as accountants, lawyers or financial planners) who are responsible for growing the client base. I’ve worked with team brands in a variety of industries and involving all kinds of roles within the business – because everyone in the business needs to connect with the three levels of brand.
3 reasons to build your ‘Team Brand’
1. UNITY: When you develop a team identity, you feel like you belong to something meaningful and your motivation to move towards a common purpose and collective goals increases. Building unity through team identity is particularly powerful for new teams.
2. VISIBILITY: As you communicate your team brand you are seen by target audiences for your differentiated value; you are given more recognition, referrals and opportunities through the wider organisation and through clients and other audiences; you begin to be ‘top of mind’ as a go-to for your targets. Visibility of your team brand also attracts and retains top staff.
3. TRUST: When you get clear on language around ‘why our team’ and ‘what we offer’, you bring confidence and clarity to your communications and this builds trust with others. You establish credibility with consistent messaging that demonstrates what you stand for as a team, and others see that. Your assured approach opens doors for you to help you do your job more easily now, and develop your leadership abilities in the long term.
Team branding is something that is not typically addressed in robust ways within organisations, and this means lost value. Over the last couple of years, I have developed and refined a specific approach to assessing and developing team brands that is proving useful to organisations across industries, from banking to veterinary clinics! A good starting point is a half-day workshop with one team, who can lead the way for your other teams to develop their sense of identity in connection to the overarching company brand.