HR and branding

I’ve long thought that marketing and human resources directors should collaborate much more. So I’m interested in Regina Miller’s blog HR’s brand new experience. (Spotted by Jennifer) Regina is focussing on how to create brands that actually engage employees instead of just creating more instructions for them to follow.

I was drawn to the post on Does your agency live your brand?

There are still companies that produce brand guidelines – guidelines that tell people what to do and not do with the brand and usually communicate those

6 thoughts on “HR and branding

  1. Rich...!

    I have quite a big problem with the whole living the brand thing, my biggest issue is that the initiatives are actually called “living the brand” rather than “living [insert company name]”, and that their focus is on brand stuff rather than company stuff, this seems to be something of a contradiction to me.

    Participation in the “brand” could be seen as voluntary, however, that’s only if you see brand as separate from company.

    For me the word brand should be struck from all internal communication and replaced with the company name, too many people see them as separate entities, this is a problem…!

  2. jbr

    i think that “living the brand” doesn’t work because most companies are really pushing an idea rather than communicating an idea.

    meaning, the brand folks push messages/guidelines to the workforce without any consideration of how the workforce actually interacts with the customer base.

    in a very enlightened corp, the brand folks would talk to the employees first before attempting any form of guideline/directions. having an internal blog strategy would provide them with a mechanism to gain a better understanding of the actual worker/customer dynamic. instead of pushing a brand idea, they could create a 360 degree communication environment and have the employees create their own “brand guidelines”. make sense?

    by the way, Regina’s site was pointed out by me to Jennifer, but then, someone else’s blog pointed it out to me…so it’s all good…and, Regina is appreciative that you have taken notice. cheers!

  3. Leo

    Honest question: how is everyone supposed to know what they are supposed to live? For people who aren’t intimately involved with the development of the brand, whose heads are focused on their daily tasks, are they supposed to just know what the “life” is? Or is the point here that HR should be creating an environment that somehow naturally develops a workforce dedicated to living the brand? It is a nice concept, but I’d be skeptical of it, because people are so different, have different abilities to pick up on details, and have different interest levels in living the brand. Though I’d like to think it wasn’t necessary, it seems as though a written bran guideline would still be necessary. I’m new to this stuff, so I could be wrong.

  4. Johnnie Moore

    Seems there’s a lot of scepticism and I’m not surprised. I think that internal “branding” (if we’re going to call it that) can’t be something created in the abstract and automatically believed by the workers.

    No, I think it’s got to be seen as fluid and collaborative process. Which allows for more flexibility and for people to make their own interpretations of what the brand is.

    It’s an improv thing I think.

  5. Tom Guarriello

    “Live the brand” scares me a little, because most corporations are very good at creating code for conformity. People’s behavior starts getting categorized as, “brand right” and “off-brand.” This is what happened to Abercrombie & Fitch here in the States, and it got them in court for discriminating against minority employees who were told they just weren’t “on brand.”

    I do like the notion of improvisationally “living the brand.” What’s required, however, is just what’s required for great jazz improv. First, you have to learn the basics: scales, blues riffs, timing, call and response. Then, get to know your fellow musicians a bit. Then, improvise. In improvising on the brand, companies have to educate associates about the customer, as well as the brand’s heart, message and language. Then, improvise. It’s like FedEx telling it’s folks that the brand stands for “absolutely, positively, overnight” and then watching how they make that promise come alive improvisationally. That’s when brands have momentum beyond just slogans.


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