In the face of recession, the GFSmith management team responded positively by grasping the nettle of employee morale and instigating a brand audit that laid the foundations for a far-reaching internal communications programme.
From factory floor to upper management, this was an opportunity to reinvigorate the brand internally, by motivating the disengaged, uniting the company under focused values and giving it a clear, single voice.
—A Unique Insight
To begin with, in partnership with strategic writers, Regard, I devised and ran a company-wide research project that involved one-to-one interviews with directors, non-executives and the leadership team, and small group workshops with management and all 150 members of staff. The sessions were carefully designed to promote frank discussion about the GFSmith brand, company culture and personal aspirations. This research work produced an invaluable overview of the business at a grass-roots level.
The results of the research sessions opened eyes and highlighted the need for a clearly defined brand strategy. From here, we defined GFSmith’s four brand pillars: Brand Vision, Brand Values, Brand Proposition and Brand Spirit. With the ambition to create a brand platform that resonated with people on an everyday basis, we worked hard to craft these into simple working tools that would become the guiding principles of the business.
—Theory In Action
The first company-wide airing of the new brand tools came at the annual conference and, as its co-ordinator, my task was to ensure that the event was accessible and engaging. To this end, I invited three guest speakers to interpret the brand values through their own experience: Charlie Thomas from Alexander McQueen, Florian Kohler form Gmund and Lee Lapthorne from Doll. To maintain the pace of the day, films and animated screen presentations followed, and a series of interactive team workshops and activities ended the proceedings on a high note.
This successful brand event kick-started a wide range of engagement strategies including training, messaging, team workshops, events and conferences.
By defining and celebrating of GFSmith special qualities, and by underlining the importance of everyone’s role in the company’s future success, the brand work has established a tangible sense of togetherness and focus within the company, at every level.
A further outcome has been the development of tone of voice guidelines to encourage consistency in brand communications.