6 Easy Steps To Branding Your Internal Talent Management Projects

Posted  | 0 Comment(s)  |  by Karen Begg, Career Partners International - Dubai

Project Leaders who embrace a brand mindset will be in a stronger position to achieve their goals and deliver on the organization’s business strategy.
– Karen A. Brown, Leadership and Organizational Studies

I know, I know, you are an HR professional! Why are we talking about branding and why is it useful to you? We are seeing an increase in the number of projects, from assessments to outplacement, that are being professionally branded by our clients. So, what is it? In a nutshell, branding is creating an entity with a specific promise of your chosen values. If you need buy-in from your participants in order to make your project a success, then you need to treat your participants like customers.

Why should you bother? Ask yourself the following questions about the potential impact your project will have on your company:  

  • Will the project impact a small number/large number/entire company? 
  • Will your project require a cultural change or a behavioural change in the way that people do their jobs?
  • Does your project have the potential to upset or make people nervous? (i.e Is it going to make the workplace more efficient and require less people? Is it a huge cultural shift you are trying to achieve? Will it make some people’s job harder?)

By now we should have established if you need to read on or not! And if you are still reading and if you’re going to do this, you may as well do it properly.

Branding is no longer picking your product/service, picking your price, deciding your brand and putting it in the right place. The goalposts have changed and today it is about enabling your people to engage with your product/service/company – building a community, the way that Volkswagon Beetle drivers still flash their lights at each other, as this community will ultimately define your brand.
– Peter Fisk, business and innovation, brand and marketing expert

How can you do this? Let’s start with an easy one!

1. Work with your Marketing Department

If your marketing department is responsible for internal communication as well as external, then they will be delighted to help you brand your project! Marketing should start from the inside and your marketing department are the best people to help you convince your employees to believe in your project and to embody and live your brand.

2. Objectives

Decide your long-term objectives before you start and choose the most important action your participants have to take initially. Do they have to sign up or be nominated for the program? Do you want to create project champions? What do you want your branding to say about your project? Consider also what you want your employees to say about the project. You must identify these objectives, identify your key group and market to them specifically.

3. Consistency

You can market your project through your company brand, character, personality or image – make sure you communicate your progress and your message regularly. Create a marketing plan before you start. You can create excitement for your project through publicising your own timeline. How? Communicate that change is coming, communicate that “we want YOU to participate”, create a sense of urgency because NOW is the time to do so.

4. Encourage Engagement

Perhaps your project is to be rolled out over several locations. If so, take advantage of the technology today and hold webinars or use social media to communicate, educate and engage participants.

An internal blog could be a great forum for posting updates about your project and encouraging comments, to publicly congratulate employees who have gone beyond the call of duty, or to even to simply post meeting minutes, etc.

You could promote your project with downloadable MP3’s. To create these is so simple, all you need is 3 minutes and a couple of thoughts on what you might say. For example, if you were rolling out a new payroll or commission system, your employees will want to hear how it’s going to benefit them rather than the opposite!

If your company is very creative, you could create a character to communicate your brand and message. Microsoft has a character called Mickey Soft and only employees get to meet him! He talks and works like the Microsoft ideal employee which serves as a constant reminder of the company values, work ethic and the ideal company personality, essentially training staff to constantly understand and embody Microsoft’s brand.

5. Actually DO what you preach. GET feedback.

Make sure to proactively seek out feedback from your participants and employees in general. Put your ego aside and ask them what they want. Ask them what you can do to make it better and be flexible to make amendments along the way. Let your brand evolve as your feedback does and watch as your participants embody your brand.

6. Reward Participation

Find ways to reward those who partake in your projects. Make sure the rewards are worthwhile and a privilege to receive, yet do not underestimate the power of publicly acknowledging someone’s efforts. Reward those who have supported you through this to encourage them to do it again in the future!

So, is branding important? Absolutely! A lack of branding can mean that your project’s level of success can suffer. Realise that your brand is an intangible asset and when it is used correctly, can be priceless.

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