Why we're launching SeaChange Crew
The more I explore change communication, the more I realize that there is an inextricable correlation between branding and change. There are two sides to it:
1. Changing your brand – how do you evolve a brand when a) your business strategy keeps evolving and b) outside factors have an ever-increasing influence on brand perception?
2. Branding your change – how much can branding influence the success of a major business transformation or change initiative?
Changing your brand
When a business evolves, the brand can get left behind. Take Mergers & Acquisitions, for example. The implications for brand perception are often underestimated. Whether M&A leads to a bigger product and service portfolio, broader geographic reach, newly entered markets, or better strategic capabilities, it all influences customer perception and customer interaction with the brand. And sometimes a brand doesn’t match with new expectations anymore.
It doesn’t stop with your customers. If you can’t convince your employees and partners to buy into the new path your brand is taking, your customers will notice, and so will your investors or shareholders. This goes beyond rebranding or a brand refresh from a visual perspective. In addition to helping your newly acquired employees live and breathe your brand, do your existing employees understand what has changed? For example, what happens to a brand when a tech company that is product-centric or focused on professional services acquires a managed services company? Or when an SMB-focused company adds strategic capabilities to expand into the enterprise space?
M&A is just one of many scenarios that influence brand evolution and expression. Business strategy and brand strategy go hand in hand. It’s not just a marketing thing: branding needs to be closely tied to sales enablement; HR; PR; IR; Learning and Development; Environmental, Societal and Corporate Governance (ESG); and many other areas. You need to connect the dots and evolve the brand in a holistic way.
Branding a change
Similarly, you also need to connect the dots when change is the focus of a strategic business driver. Branding a major change initiative means more than coming up with a project name and logo. It also means positioning the change internally and externally, coming up with the right messaging, and thinking through any visual needs.
For example, digital transformation is now a major driver of strategic corporate initiatives. We’re seeing financial institutions offering new online customer experiences or AI-powered advisors. Corporations moving from a decentralized to a centralized customer service model with a new software platform. Organizations creating new hybrid workplaces with collaboration technology.
Beyond technology-driven change, there are also organizational and behavioural change initiatives, such as incorporating Environmental, Societal and Corporate Governance (ESG) goals into a corporate culture. Or, for public sector organizations, introducing business models such as a Public-Private-Partnership (P3).
Making brands more resilient
In the past, I didn’t look at branding with a change management lens and vice versa. Usually, the incoming requests started with an ask to develop a new website, refresh a brand, craft a new investor presentation, or create messaging for a software implementation. But the more I talked to clients about the motivation behind the requests, the more it became obvious that the implications of branding go way beyond the creative aspects.
Handling change management and communication around an evolving brand can’t just be a tactical add-on. It needs to be an integral part of brand strategy and communications to make it more resilient and adaptable to the internal and external forces defining it.
I started talking about this perspective to some of the people I have worked with –– and loved working with –– over the years. We are all independent consultants now, we all have our own perspectives on the intersection of branding and change, and we all have our own areas of related expertise. And best of all, the more we talked, the more we wanted to work together again to help clients solve branding challenges from a 360° perspective. So, we’ve decided to do something about it.
Introducing the SeaChange Crew
The SeaChange Crew is a collective of independent consultants providing business consulting and creative services for brand evolution and expression:
- Martin Hofmann, Brand Strategy & Change Management
- Lana McInnis, Visual Strategy, Art Direction & Design
- Monta Johnson, Content Strategy & Editorial Direction
- Anne Lachance, Reputation Management & Executive Counsel
- Zev Korman, Investor Relations, Financial & Corporate Communications
We are not starting an agency; we’re just teaming up for this new, joint offering, managed through my business. And we have a network of partners we can pull in to augment our capabilities.
Whether you need to enhance your brand, enliven your website, empower your salesforce, energize your customer experience, engage employees and stakeholders after M&A activity, or embrace a digital operating model, let us help you get there. More at SeaChangeCrew.com.