In my work with clients who are rolling out social business software internally, the traditional Marketing approach to website branding doesn’t cut it in most cases (I have a bit of proof from one of my customers, who is a global branding machine). That’s because an internal SBS site’s branding needs to reflect the overall culture of your company, and not the branding you create for people on the outside. Sure, Marketing folks are definitely in charge of internal branding in most cases, but coming up with something that reflects what it is you’re trying to do with SBS needs to be a team effort.
So, who understands a company’s culture? I know you think I’m going to say HR. They are the traditional Keepers of Culture, but the folks who understand it the best are… the folks. Employees. From all over.
One thing I do in my workshops is conduct a quick brainstorming exercise: “What should we name our SBS environment?” It’s important, because it informs the tone and personality of your communications strategy at the very least. Usually, I have a few representatives from different business units in my workshop. It is amazing to hear how their interpretation of their culture sometimes differs from that of the communications, marketing, and HR folks. It’s a real eye-opener for the whole planning team, in many cases.
Now, here’s the twist.
In many cases, companies use an SBS implementation to effect change in corporate culture. Here’s my favorite example of this so far:
We wanted to fundamentally differentiate it from traditional ‘tools’ that emerged from their (rather large & MS dominated) IT department. After a lot of internal debating about names that tried to state what it did, how it worked etc etc, we just called it Oomph for testing. It’s a kind of power/speed term here in the UK (and also a rather bizarre german band).
And that’s what everyone is calling it now…..
In terms of explaining it, these are the words that employees recieve in the invite email:
This is an invitation to join a very special group of people helping to launch Oomph, x company’s new approach to sharing knowledge across the business.
If you’ve used Facebook, you’ll love Oomph. If you haven’t used Facebook, you’ll love it even more. You can blog, create discussions, share documents with colleagues, ask questions (and get them answered fast), create groups around areas of shared interest and a whole lot more.
We could bang on about how brilliant it is all day, so why not give it a whirl yourself? You’re going to be one of the key testers of Oomph before we release it to the entire company in September, so we’d love to see how useful you find it.
The Oomph team”
Bottom line: Make certain your internal SBS branding communicates the kind of cultural change you want to see happen.