How many businesses do you know that have fragmented over time, resulting in different business divisions behaving or communicating independently from the rest? I can think of many. This lack of brand unity can either be caused by business mergers and acquisitions; companies are put together in a hurry and when there are frequent are senior management changes the bigger picture can be overlooked. Or it is a function of an organisation growing organically over time, without a focus on the business as a whole. The result is a lack of consistency, a weak brand identity and ultimately a devalued brand.
Once a business has reached this point, pulling it back together can be a daunting task. The process of defining corporate culture and the company identity will frequently meet with resistance from internal departments or individuals who feel like they’re being forced to give up responsibility for their own area of the business.
So, how can you make this happen in your organisation? What’s the best way to change behaviour that’s ingrained, pull your business together as one brand and implement good brand management practices? How do you unify a fragmented brand?
Here are five essential points to remember:
1. Ensure senior management is on board
Probably the single most important point is to make sure you get the blessing and support of senior management on the project. You won’t be able to convince others that you need to achieve brand consistency if the key players are not behind you.
2. Have total belief in what you’re doing
Unifying your brand will take time and even if the majority of your colleagues believe it needs doing, it won’t be a smooth process. You are going to encounter some resistance from people protecting their own interests and those of their department. Be persistent, persuasive and really believe in what you’re doing. And prepare to have a thick skin!
3. Stay diplomatic
It’s far better to bring people along with you rather than to bully them into submission. Include key teams in the process as much as possible; communicate well, give information freely and solicit response. If they feel they have ownership of the change, they’ll be more likely to accept it.
4. Don’t expect it to happen overnight
Give yourself a realistic timing schedule. Even in the smallest businesses, projects like this take time. Reuniting and reinvigorating your brand is not going to take weeks but more like months, or in some cases years. It might seem arduous, but in the end you will see a stronger, more recognised and more consistent brand. That translates into better sales and a more valuable business.
5. Make sure you’ve got everything you need
Organise the resources you’ll need to get the job done and work out how much budget will be needed before you start work. Ask yourself the right questions; will the outcome of your work be a complete rebranding, or simply a redefining of what you already have? Will you need a branding agency to help you do this? Will you need a web team, brand management software or digital asset management technology? Planning well means your project is more likely to be a success.
Cover off the above and you are some way to being part of positive change for your organization. Leading or being involved in a project to re-align and unify an organization can be a hugely rewarding experience and will impact positively both your business and potentially, on your career.