The term “branding” refers to the marketing strategy of identifying and creating a name, mantra or symbol that identifies and differentiates one product from another.
Is creating team branding part of your management toolkit?
Team branding focuses you and your team on how your team’s collective personality and expertise are perceived by your customers. Team branding allows your team to better understand why they are – or are not – successful in making their numbers.
A team branding strategy focuses all of you on creating a consistent and supportive face-to-the-marketplace in order to help your company grow, expand and sustain itself.
What does your current team “look like?”
I’ve been on teams that resemble the bar scene from the first Star Wars® movie. I’ve asked myself what in the world I ever did to get on this team in the first place. Where did these people come from? What do any of us have in common? Why do I feel so uncomfortable working with them? Can I really trust these folks to have my back?
Your marketplace is asking themselves the same questions about your current team and your competitors’ teams. Decision makers form perceptions about your team branding. Ask them. They will tell you if your current team is branded as inconsistent, uninterested and incompetent. Ouch!
As a manager of worth, you can do something about that situation. Consider the following factors. How does each one impact your team’s collective performance? How does each attribute impact how your team is perceived by your customers?
- Mindset matters. When your team branding strategy focuses on creating consistency, everyone works together to understand and address mixed marketplace messages. Your team strategy goes beyond focusing on basic skill set training. Mindset includes the attitudes which characterize your team. Is your team mindset homogeneous and collaborative? Is your team dominated by personalities that work at-odds with each other? Is your team full of lone wolf personalities? How do each of these considerations impact how your customers see your team as a whole?
- Empathy for customers matters. What is your team’s current level of interest in making your customers’ companies more profitable over the long haul? If you have a team of hunters who are hired to win new business and run off to pursue the next sale, post-sale follow-up and customer service can be completely off their radar screens. How can the composition of your team be re-imagined so that you offer your customers greater depth post-sale, when empathy is highly valued?
- Hire with your brand in mind. A team branding strategy not only is focused on whom you hire for your team today. You also become focused on hiring for tomorrow. A successful team branding strategy can bring new hires to you, based on the reputation your team has in the marketplace. When was the last time you thought about your management style and your team as the go-to brand in your industry vertical? Team branding is a differentiator in many ways.
- Focus on consistent delivery of expertise. When your management focus is team branding for consistency, your customers begin to anticipate a higher level of expertise from every team member they work with. Your clients look forward to the insights your collective team expertise offers to them.
Team branding for consistency has a huge upside for your customers. Team branding for consistency has a huge upside from a hiring perspective as well: you consistently bring high caliber individuals into your team.
What will be your first steps to establish a team branding strategy?
Babette N. Ten Haken builds innovative, productive and profitable teams focused on excellence in the execution of strategy. Her Playbook on collaboration hacks, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.