6 ways to use branding to power organizational change

6 ways to use branding to power organizational change
Posted by Sarah Hindley and Karmen Major on January 27, 2017.

Is there ever a time when an organization isn’t experiencing some type of change? Change leaders and corporate communicators can learn from the ways leading brands adapt to changes in society, technology, and consumer preferences while keeping customers loyal.

You know the saying about change being the only constant in life. Work life is no exception. Change may be the most consistent characteristic of “business as usual” as organizations work to stay competitive and relevant in the face of continuous global and marketplace evolution.

Organizational changes may be sweeping—more than 80 percent of respondents to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends survey reported a current or recently completed organizational restructure, and 50 percent said they were currently attempting to change their culture. Or changes may be pointed—a new technology coming online or a process change to improve workflow. While the scope and scale of the change obviously impact the difficulty of implementing it, even seemingly small changes can be challenging as employees struggle with adding one more thing to their plates. (See The overwhelmed employee—or look at your own inbox….)

Some changes in our lives, though, are more readily accepted, even eagerly anticipated and embraced. There may still be a learning curve involve, a change to our habits or mindsets required, or even an element of giving up what we enjoy, but we are willing to make the change.

What makes the difference?

The tongue-in-cheek answer is “marketing.” But there’s an element of truth in that.

One of the by-products of the digital age is a melding of our work and personal lives. So it makes sense that techniques and principles that are effective in one start to be applied across both.

Change management is one of the organizational areas (including talent acquisition, HR customer experience, learning & development, and HR Shared Services) that can benefit from bringing consumer-oriented marketing techniques common in our personal lives inside the organization to better engage and serve employees.

In our new perspective, Activate your change brand, we take a closer look at how organizations can help drive change more effectively by adopting the principles of marketing and brand activation campaigns. Specifically, we highlight six techniques leading consumer companies use to stay close to their customers and drive their desired consumer behaviors.

  1. Focus and vision creates energy for change.
  2. Holistic branding uses customer research and analytics to understand their needs, behaviors, and motivations.
  3. Customer awareness considers the behavioral and psychological aspects of motivating change.
  4. Relationship building forges emotional connections with customers.
  5. Innovation looks at creative ways to engage with customers to understand ways to motivate change.
  6. 21st century marketing carries on ongoing social conversations to make customers more trusting and accepting of change as well as help them adapt.

Activate your change brand gives examples of how consumer brands use and combine these six techniques and how companies are adopting them for their initiatives. Check it out for some lessons from brand leaders and inspiration to energize your organization’s change efforts.

Sarah Hindley is a principal in the Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP focusing on change management during mergers & acquisitions and other business transformations.
Karmen Major is a senior manager in the Human Capital Organization Transformation and Talent practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP, where she develops and executes change management, learning, workforce transition, and culture transformation programs.

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