5 Steps To Successful Bottom-up Branding

"Branding" often suggests a top-down effort undertaken by a corporate marketing group to create a singular and consistent consumer/client experience across a global enterprise. Yet many organizations require a much more decentralized approach, and the only path to success is an effort that can engage a disparate group of stakeholders to drive cultural buy-in and adoption throughout the organization.

There are any number of powerful organizing concepts to choose from but without strong internal support and validation, they'll be little more than 'lipstick on a pig,' offering as little real value as a fresh coat of paint on the corporate walls. Not to discount the role of superior strategy and design, but the most important component of a branding initiative is often the initiative itself -- the process, the growth of understanding, the participation, the appreciation -- as much as it is the result.

What can your organization do to make sure that any rebranding initiative succeeds in capturing the heart and minds of your stakeholders? Here are the five Steps to Successful Bottom-up Branding.



1. Make a timeline to set the tone.

Tell everyone concerned that change is coming, the train is leaving the station. We want you to participate. Now is the time to do so.


2. Create options for engagement.

Webinars can be a great solution for reaching geographically diverse groups - but these are only one vehicle for early engagement. Put brand on the agenda of other internal meetings and seminars. Create online or intranet vehicles that can engage the constituents and invite input.


3. It's not one and done. Create opportunities for progress reports and additional feedback.

Don't let branding be a black box; that will only create opportunities to seed discontent. Engage a team of core influencers to work through initial recommendations and directions.


4. Validate across functions and levels.

Put the ideas to the test with cross-functional internal teams. On-site workshops, including real-life scenarios and brand stretch exercises, will strengthen the good ideas while weeding out the weaker ones.


5. Reward participation.

At least some of the benefits of the new brand should be immediately apparent to your staunchest supporters. Make their role as influencer relevant, important and recognized.

Specific anecdotes and examples available upon request.

1 comment about "5 Steps To Successful Bottom-up Branding ".
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  1. Michael Difrisco from EAA, June 23, 2011 at 6:53 p.m.

    Thanks for the article, Jon. More on this subject here:

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