In our latest article in Communicate Magazine, we demonstrate how workplace branding can inexpensively help to build the ’employer’ brand through global organisations.
Drawing on our experiences with clients such as HSBC, Kaplan and Amazon, in the February issue of Communicate magazine, Diccon Ward, Director of Client Services, shares our expertise in delivering global workplace branding.
Think brand. What image comes into your head? Doubtless, well-known logos, maybe Apple or Coca Cola, spring immediately to mind. This is understandable. Worth millions, companies invest heavily in their corporate identities.
But what does the corporate brand mean to employees? In November’s article on Employee Engagement, Inside Job, the focus was on the internal communications tools used to connect workforces across the world.
But what role can branding and design play in connecting employees? There was a surge of interest in the ‘employer brand’ a few years ago. This waned due to the economic downturn and budget pressures, but there’s growing interest once again.
Switched-on employers know that the workplace environment has a huge impact on employees, improving motivation and loyalty, creating a strong sense of belonging and even guiding employment choice. And surprisingly, it doesn’t have to cost the earth.
GLIMMA specialists in global brand implementation, has worked with companies such as HSBC, Kaplan, and more recently, Amazon, to rollout out branding programmes which are successfully uniting their disparate workforces across continents and many different types of work environment.
What’s the secret of success?
“A strong central brand identity is undoubtedly the key to success, backed by comprehensive design guidelines that not only set out the creative concepts, but also the practical application.”
“This is not rocket science”, I hear you cry? But wait, here’s the critical factor – local adaptation and flexibility.
Our experience has shown, time and again, that this can make or break a branding programme. In 2013, we were fortunate enough to be awarded a Transform Award for HSBC’s workplace guidelines in the ‘Best Design Guidelines’ category.
A Central Framework
In an increasingly globalised world, homogeneity can be both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it can mean cost savings, uniformity and streamlined processes but often at the expense of individuality and self-expression.
HSBC’s design guidelines provide a central framework with a practical toolkit that offers local markets many choices – images, materials, colours, patterns etc. – from a central library. This ensures that the branding is consistently ‘on message’, but at the same time, meets the needs of individual cultures and workplace types.
Multi-discipline teams work together – HR, Design, Real Estate and Facilities Management – at both a corporate and local level, to choose exactly what works best for them. What works well in a call centre in China will not necessarily work in a premium head office environment. But walk into either, you’ll immediately know that you’re in HSBC. What’s most surprising is that the logo does not feature in any part of the workplace branding.
HSBC workplace branding
Global consistency with local flavour
This subtle sophisticated approach to the branded work environment means that HSBC relates to all its employees in a more meaningful way, respecting and celebrating the differences of each culture and workplace, whilst successfully expressing the values at the very heart of the brand. There is a genuine sense of ownership that serves to make the employer brand even more powerful.
Add to this, the significant cost savings achieved by using central design and project management, and everyone’s a winner.
A win-win approach
Our approach to brand implementation mirrors the central and local needs of our clients. With a central project management team to deliver global consistency and cost efficiencies, we use our international network of suppliers to install and manage production locally.
Similarly, Kaplan, specialist college provider to more than 1 million students in over 30 countries, has adopted this dual approach for its international colleges where locality is important. Their central design guidelines can be flexed, using local imagery, to help create a strong sense of place.
Both HSBC and Kaplan have developed sophisticated ways to deliver their employer brand, using the workplace as a key communication tool for employees. Both have proven that the brand is about much more than just a logo.
Global versus local – it’s not a matter of choice, but of making one complement the other. Long live the global brand. Long live local flavours!
Kaplan workplace branding