The HLB Mann Judd branding engagement journey begins…

I have been involved in a number of re-branding projects in my career. It’s an interesting process to go through, particularly for professional services firms, and often a challenging process to go through for any organisation. In professional services, brands are very closely aligned with the owners of the business and of course the people who work for them. The people delivering the service. When you have multiple owners who feel very strongly about how their brand is depicted, as they feel it reflects on them personally, it can be a challenging decision making process.

My most recent re-branding project has been for the organisation I work for now. We are HLB Mann Judd, an Australasian Association of independent accounting firms. The most interesting part of this re-branding is that we have decided to go well beyond our physical brand (our “look & feel”) and embark on a journey of brand and reputation management, including how our staff members feel about our organisation. I have a very forward thinking Executive Committee, who are able to make the connection between employee engagement and client/prospect/market engagement in the brand.

In 2008, we decided to purchase an external brand health report, which is produced by a company called Beaton Consulting. They survey buyers of accounting services. We found that our brand awareness score was not where we would like it to be. This didn’t surprise us, as we were going through a growth phase in the business, new member firms joining the Association and increasing our numbers, as well as organic growth, and we hadn’t spent a lot on marketing up to that point.

We decided to develop a brand management plan and actively work to increase our brand awareness. We were able to do that and, after measuring it again in 2012, found that we had increased our brand awareness and our consideration by the percentage goals we had set for ourselves.

Who delivers on the Brand Promise?

After implementing our targeted plan for increasing brand awareness externally, and our targeted recruitment campaign, we then launched and implemented an internal branding campaign, designed to engage employees with the HLB brand and assist in overall employee engagement strategy.

Research in this area often highlights potential problems with low levels of employee engagement. Across our organisation, most staff were proud to say they work for HLB Mann Judd, but were, at that point, unsure of the Vision, the Values and the Purpose of the organisation (all key drivers of long term employee engagement).

In order to assist each member firm with employee engagement initiatives, the key messages of the ‘Team HLB’ campaign were based on research, were extensions of the key messages used in our recruitment campaign and in the external brand awareness campaign, and centered around teamwork and our Brand Promise, which is ‘Great people delivering great results’.

In future posts I’ll go into more detail around what we did internally and what we have been able to achieve.

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