A corporate acquisition results in a client with a new name, brand, visual identity, and employees all over the globe to bring onboard. How do you keep such a brand alive?
In recent posts, we've written about the merits of internal branding—that is, tapping your closest and most accessible resource, your employees, and making them better ambassadors of your brand.
That alone can be a job in itself, depending on the size of your organization. So you can imagine how complicated the effort can become in the situation of a merger or acquisition involving two (or more) companies, thousands of employees, and two (or more) brands that formerly had minds of their own.
Keeping the Brand Alive
How do you keep a brand alive in that environment—not just on life support, but flourishing? And if a new brand emerges, how do you foster adoption among employees coming from two different camps?
Cleveland was approached a few years ago with precisely that situation. A corporate acquisition resulted in a client with a new name, a new brand, a new visual identity, and thousands of employees all over the globe to bring onboard. If there ever was a candidate for a crash course in accelerated brand ambassadorship, this was it.
The client, Thomson Reuters, pitched the idea of a global brand engagement initiative—the Best of Brand Awards. The idea was to leverage the company's intranet and connect employees to a new, web-based platform for a worldwide competitive display of creative, powerful and effective executions on the Thomson Reuters brand promise. Individuals, teams and departments within the company, as well as employees managing outside creative resources, were eligible to participate.
The unique aspect of the Best of Brand project is that the program was executed exclusively online—from competitive submissions, to judging, to announcing and showcasing the winning work.
The benefits were many:
- The competition provided an engaging platform for educating employees about the brand, its identity, its voice and personality.
- Employees were motivated to carefully consider strategy and outcomes in developing their work.
- Camaraderie developed across departments and business units, and stronger collaborations came as a result.
- A library of outstanding work has accumulated, and is an inspirational resource for exemplary brand execution.
Building the Best of Brands framework was a not for the faint of heart. Its viability depended on sophisticated site architecture and myriad logistical considerations that neither the client nor Cleveland had previously navigated exactly this way. Through months of collaboration, conversations and critical thinking, however, the idea came to fruition and paid off handsomely for the client.
- The inaugural Best of Brand Awards attracted over 100 submissions in a few short months.
- The competition is now in its fifth year, and the framework was leveraged by Cleveland to deliver three additional spin-off programs?all for Thomson Reuters?within two years.
- Each spin-off website received thousands of hits upon launch, followed by hundreds of competitive entries. And the real indicator of success?employee engagement?is beyond measure.
At Cleveland, we specialize in helping companies strengthen their brands from the inside out. We focus on programs that engage employees and promote better understanding and stewardship of the brand, while building teams, boosting morale, inspiring creativity, and leveraging the value of your brand promise.