In the past, unless a team member was in the top tier of management, the issue of corporate branding was only expressed in a name badge or uniform. However, a growing number of progressive organizations are asking for general input when re-evaluating elements of their daily operation, branding, and development--regardless of an employee's title or pay-grade. Such an environment encourages everyone to feel they are truly part of a team. It can actually produce a unified perspective on corporate branding ideal for presenting a harmonized voice and image to the world.
With all of today's focus on logos, slogans, and mission statements, the issue of individual expressions of corporate branding may also seem irrelevant to team members--and to executives who like to control every aspect of daily operations. Such a view is reinforced when the staff of an organization wears uniforms, corporate colors and/or insignia... and delivers scripted phrases when conversing with the public. [For an in-depth discussion of professional fashion, visit Wearing Your Brand].
With or without uniforms, it is necessary to establish some form of corporate dress code that is appropriate to an organization's branding program. For it is true that choices in attire and accessories can reflect either positively or negatively on your team's public identity. For example, choices in clothing and accessories that deviate in tone and shade, texture, and even layering, can be inharmonious with official branding efforts.
Consider also that the tone of a staff member's voice can convert a greeting intended to be welcoming into a clear wish to terminate the conversation as soon as possible.
How do you balance the voice and image your organization projects? I believe that achieving corporate unity across the spectrum of branding elements can be assisted by clear statements of your organization's values. This can begin with periodic review and strengthening of your vision, mission, and values statements. By exploring the core of your identity, you can establish a firm foundation from which all official images and language can flow harmoniously.
Next, you can explore the specifics of how you apply the elements of your branding within your daily operations. Do your brick and mortar and Internet spaces, as well as your personnel project your corporate colors, shapes, and textures? Are the words used in text for operational materials, signage and your staff reflective of the inner core of your organization?
Once there is harmony in the descriptions of your corporate culture, you will need to evaluate how you and your team are bringing them to life in your daily operations. To do this effectively, I suggest that you invite input from everyone involved in your organization. Why? Because hearing their thoughts, and even complaints, will provide you with perspectives that might be held by your clientele. Even when such input cannot be applied without modification, the knowledge gained will allow the organization to make informed decisions that will carry everyone forward positively.
What choices in appearance and language can your organization's team members make to reflect their personal style while harmonizing with your corporate culture?
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