The biggest branding challenge for us as a professional services firm is to engage our external market with our brand promise, by making it unique and distinctive. Professional services brands struggle with differentiating their brand from all the others, as our service offerings are usually very similar. Also, professional services organisations will often work extensively on their external branding and marketing, but neglect to include their internal stakeholders in the process. By “internal stakeholders”, I don’t just mean the partners, as they are usually involved in this process, I mean staff at all levels.
At HLB Mann Judd, we started with the knowledge of what we were known for providing and what we thought of ourselves, through the use of external research and an internal brand auditing process. We recognised that, in order to stand out from the crowd, we needed to not only develop our own brand personality externally, but, more importantly, engage our staff with our brand and branding messages. After all, our staff are going to be the ones telling people where they work and what we are all about.
Staff also need to deliver on the brand promise. We are well known for providing excellent service. We have been finalists in the BRW Client Choice Awards, for Best Accountancy Firm (revenue between $50-$500M), and we won this award this year. We are working hard to win it again next year. This doesn’t happen without a clear understanding from our staff about what is expected of them as they provide our services to clients.
To help deliver our messages internally and engage our staff with our brand we developed an internal brand called Team HLB.
Team HLB as a vehicle for sustainable behavioural change
We wanted to develop an internal identity that would support the key internal messages, such as our Vision and Team Values (which are now consistent across the Association), as well as engage and excite our staff. Team HLB is essentially a marketing vehicle to assist HR in building real, long term employee engagement.
The Marketing & BD Team and the HR Team regularly collaborate on various internal engagement projects and use the Team HLB imagery and key messaging to assist. The Vision and Values are now included in recruitment, onboarding, performance management and throughout all that we do.
We also use the Team HLB branding for internal communications, internal events, team building activities, internal competitions and other fun and engaging activities.
We are surveying staff annually to measure the level of engagement with Team HLB and the Vision and Values.