The importance of team branding
Over the last few years, I've focused my efforts mainly on personal branding and marketing, but as I've worked with organisations I've come to understand the importance of effective team branding too.
Your HR, IT or marketing team might add huge value to the business, but unless it can communicate that value, the decision-makers may never know about it. And team branding is not just for internal functions - it also applies to business teams, sales teams and even sports teams. In fact, I believe team branding is likely to become a key business issue in the future.
Cementing your brand position
Every company and every person has a brand. Your brand is the consistent image that pops up in people's heads when they think of you. Teams have brands too. Team brands are born when there are customers to serve, skills to be practiced and value to be created, and your team becomes known for something. Consciously or unconsciously, employees and managers interact with your team every day and further cement your brand position. Your team is branded whether you like it or not, so you need to be proactive in influencing how it's branded.
There's no room for complacency - it's critical to ensure your team's value is communicated well and consistently if you want your team to be viewed as an irreplaceable service rather than a non-essential function.
Great brands provide a source of identification and an assurance of quality. They simplify decision-making and crisply communicate the value they create for their customers. And great brands make and keep their promises. These characteristics differentiate great brands and cement their leadership credentials.
In terms of team branding, members of a well branded team are able to clearly communicate what they do and why they are vital to the company. They are able to convince others of their value and turn them into brand ambassadors for the team.
Creating a team brand
To create a team brand, the team needs to have a clear understanding of its target market (who does it serve?), its core competencies (what does it do better than any other similar team?), the benefits it offers (what makes it valuable?) and its brand personality (what is distinctive about the way the team does things?).
Effective team branding results in recognition from customers and peers. With recognition comes feedback and insight, which assists in making your team even more streamlined and efficient. Recognition turns the spotlight onto the team and the individuals in it. People develop pride in what they are doing, which in turn increases productivity, quality of work and morale.
Your team becomes a trusted source of information and will be sought after. You become more relevant. When you're relevant, you are able to command an increased share of budget and management attention.
A strong team brand supports the broader strategic corporate objectives, and thus assists the company in being more competitive in the market. Your team moves from a service role to a strategic one.
By building a team brand, you create an air of distinction for your team, which can go a long way when you are competing for attention, budget and relevance within your organisation.