We live in a region where it is safe to say that the majority of well-established companies and family businesses tend to be resistant to change. Yet, as businesses wake up to the need to realign strategy with evolving markets and market trends, and as branding becomes recognized for its power to increase revenue, change is increasingly on the agenda.
Change from within
There is a simple truth universally acknowledged among branding experts that any change made to a brand will almost always end up bringing about internal organizational changes as well. This is particularly true when a change in brand strategy or a repositioning of a brand takes place. If we take some examples from the global marketplace, we can refer to Nike, which two years ago announced plans to implement a full range of management and organizational adjustments. These plans went hand in hand with the brand’s strategy to move its global strategy away from a product-driven company toward being a consumer-focused group. Or, in the United Kingdom, when Barclays Bank decided to reshape its services around the customer — the end result entailed changes not only to the products offered but also to the delivery of service, training of staff and so on.
The point is that today a brand is no longer purely a symbol that acts as a reassurance or sign of good quality for the customer; today a brand is a holistic entity that ties its external customer offerings with how it organizes itself internally. Therefore any change made on the ‘outside’ (in how the brand interacts with customers) will almost always necessitate change on the inside.
Resistance is futile
Even if this restructuring is not apparent at the time change is initiated, it will soon become so. As a company conducts business in line with the new strategy, little by little it will realize which aspects of the organization no longer work and which need some adjustment. This is not something that can be resisted. Even if a company chooses not to restructure internally to reflect its new positioning, the reverberations will make themselves felt, building momentum until the business is struck by a metaphorical tsunami.
I would like to note here that almost all of Brandcell’s clients with whom we have worked on their brand strategy are today facing the need to rethink their organization.
That is not to say that repositioning or changing strategy poses a risk; quite the contrary. When a brand effects change of its own accord, it is a positive thing to be embraced. For it to succeed, however, this new direction needs to engage all elements of the company. Employees need to be involved in and engaged with the change, so that it can be reflected in their future behavior. It is essential for businesses to be aware of this need, to take things gradually and account for them at a certain point. They need to consider their internal managerial changes in terms of restructuring and re-engineering, knowing that just as in chess, when you move one piece on the board it has an impact on the greater picture.
Ultimately, a change in brand strategy signals a desire to adapt to the customers’ needs. With this in mind, the goal can’t be reached simply through superficial means, such as redesigning a logo or creating a new tag line. In the end it is about realizing that brands are becoming agents of change for the companies themselves.
Joe Ayoub is chief executive of Brandcell