How to be crystal clear about the personality and character of your organisation
The terms ‘brand’, ‘branding’, and ‘brand identity’ are sometimes treated as interchangeable. The SERVICEBRAND approach starts with Brand Identity and we refer to this as the collection of all the brand elements that the company creates to describe its personality and character. The brand identity is what makes an organisation instantly recognisable to different stakeholder groups (customers, employees, service partners, local communities etc), creates the connection with these stakeholders and determines how the organisation is perceived. Some leaders in organisations think that their brand is simply the name and logo. Of course, the name and logo are important parts of the visual identity and yet there is so much more to an organisation’s branding and identity. It consists of intangible elements such as the organisation’s purpose and values as well as tangible elements such as visual identity and tone of voice.
If we ask: “Who is responsible for the organisation’s brand identity?” many people answer “The Marketing department, the Marketing Director” or similar. This is hardly surprising when many organisations operate this way. But an organisation’s brand identity is too important to be owned by one function. This is especially so now, where any shortcomings can be communicated to millions in a heartbeat. Have you ever seen an expensive advertising campaign for a hotel brand on television and yet, when you drove past one of the properties, the external signage needed repair? Or a brand-new car showroom with boxes of brochures in the corner because the display racks haven’t arrived? Or a new website extolling the company value of ‘Excellence’ where there are spelling mistakes in the copy? Or a customer services agent who tells you something completely different to what you had been told by the in-store service people?
We usually begin with the organisation’s Purpose and Values because these elements can then guide and inform all other decisions throughout the organisation. The brand identity services we provide sometimes involve a review of what is already in place or a refresh exercise and other times involve creation of the Purpose and Values statements from scratch. There is a close connection between the brand identity and employee engagement initiatives because the behaviour by and decisions of employees will determine how the organisation is perceived by other stakeholders – we think of employees as brand ambassadors. There is also a close connection between the brand identity and customer experience initiatives because the customer’s felt experience needs to reinforce the organisation’s stated purpose and values to be an authentic experience.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room” Jeff Bezos
Alan’s commitment, willingness to engage and sharp insight characterise the tremendous value he has added as a Non Exec on the Board of BQF.
With the simple and practical 31Practices approach he has created, Alan has found a refreshingly different way to make values as inseparable from the modern mission-based business as the double helices of DNA. Both his speaking style and work style have been a pleasure to experience.
31Practices is an excellent method and has played a big part in LifeSearch’s whole company, long term focus on our culture and values. The bespoke nature means the LifeSearch practices we carefully created remind all ‘Searchers every day of what we are about and why, and the behaviours we need to display to protect more families than anyone ever thought possible.
I describe Alan as the most HR savvy operator I have ever met! What’s more he is great fun to work with.
Alan's support has been instrumental in improving levels of engagement and overall performance, personally and with my team. He is a very good listener, gaining a deep understanding before cocreating an improvement plan. He is also very engaging and easy to work with.
Vision, challenge and strategy allowing individuals to stretch their potential. An inspirational leader.
Truly progressive thinking. The pragmatic approach to providing a customer experience achieves measurable return on investment.
An absolute pleasure to work with. Focussed on ambitious results but does what is right and leads in a truly inspiring way.
Rarely do I come across a book which is as complete as this one. Alan and Alison have left me nothing to say. They have put together an encyclopaedia of understanding about what it takes to build the neural pathways of an organisation.
The best thing about the 31Practices approach is how it energises front line employees and gives them confidence to bring the organisational values to life every day. One of the team in New York said "Our 31Practices is like my bible at work. I read it every day and it makes me a better person". Priceless!
The blend of emotional intelligence and commercial acumen is rare! The dedication to customer service is an example to follow.
Alan used the Servicebrand approach and his almost uncanny ability to engage programme stakeholders to provide Dell EMC with accelerated business impact and sustainable performance - at scale.
In the employee engagement survey, we dramatically outperformed the High Performance Norm.
Our Investors in People accreditation review hit our highest score to date and our bottom line profit rose by 25% over two years as well.
Alan spoke about the Values Economy at the 2nd Global Conference on Creating Value . His brilliant talk was convincing and energised the audience.