Posts Tagged ‘LCEG’

The ballad of Barrett’s privateers

posted by Scott McKenzie

I recently spent a couple of weeks visiting my parents in Canada. The mix of two kids under three, a long haul flight and jet-lag was, to say the least, not particularly relaxing. My mum and dad worked hard to give my wife and I a little bit of down time. The best example of this was a glorious day ski-ing, followed by a Friday night out.

Frankly, there is nothing more gratifying than sipping a cold glass of beer with the gentle ache of a day’s ski-ing in your legs. What made it even better was the live band that night.

Sarah (my wife) and I are both Celts and lovers of Folk music. The band gave us our first introduction to the music of Newfoundland. We were enthralled as we heard beautifully sung ballads about leaving your country, family and home behind. The songs were often bawdy, colonial tales of amorous adventures or drinking disasters. One in particular stood out - the infectious Ballad of Barrett’s privateers.

It’s been a couple of weeks since we got back and I still find myself humming it, or singing parts of the (very catchy) refrain in the shower…

It has made me reflect once again on the importance of storytelling. Humanity has had an oral/aural tradition of telling and re-telling stories for millenia. It is where many of our common myths and legends were born. As corporate storytellers we often focus on the rational. The facts and figures. These are important indicators. People want to know whether we are we up, or down.

But do we invest enough time getting behind the emotional elements of the story? The bits that really resonate. The bits that are sticky, memorable, easy-to-repeat. The bits that have you singing in the shower?

P.S. – we are really looking forward to hosting the next LCEG event here at H+K on the 20th March…

An internal brand? 5 things to watchout for…

posted by Scott McKenzie

We have been doing a lot of work helping organisations package up their change programmes recently. Often clients will ask us to create an identity or brand for their programme. I think there are some inherent risks attached to this. After all isn’t the overall brand the customer sees the only brand that matters?  This is  a brand which is recognisable, has associated values, is ultimately part of helping create a sense of belonging or connectedness for employees and customers.

So it’s entirely possible that creating an internal brand actually adds another layer of complexity to your programme, rather than simplifying it?

In any case I have ended up with five key watchouts if you are considering building an internal brand for your change programme:

 1) Ask yourself whether you are really building a “brand”? Or is this simply a way of packaging the programme – perhaps via a campaign, or visual identity which helps to express the vision, mission and values of the programme.

2) Be clear on how this fits with the overarching brand. Is it an extension of what customers see? Are the values, etc consistent? Is the architecture you create supplementary, or distinct? Do you want people to most feel like they are first and foremost part of the organisation, or this new programme brand?

3) Make sure this is about making things simpler for your audience – in my view the job of the comms practitioner is to reduce the complexity, not add to it. Introducing a brand or identity should be to aid understanding, not to add a layer of confusion.

4) Have an end goal in sight – is this a six month programme or campaign? Or is it something which is long term/permanent? If it’s the former then have an exit strategy in mind in terms of killing the brand (or identity) when it has passed its use-by date… Or perhaps it supercedes what was there before and becomes the new Business As Usual

5) Keep an eye on cost – many of the programmes we are involved are (at least indirectly) about making the organisation more efficient and/or managing costs down. Having a high-profile showy brand identity may look expensive and thus insensitive when you’re asking employees to do more with less at the same time…

Hope that’s a useful guide – I’d be happy to hear other views, or share some of our learnings working with large complex, multi-national organisations…

P.S. – great to see so many friends at the London Communicators and Engagement (LCEG) event at Deutsche Bank last night. Thanks to my old muckers Terri for hosting and Euan Semple for his usual mix of wry humour and simple wisdom. I’m pleased to say that the next event will be at H+K on 20th March… we will be testing out the awesome concept that is the “unconference”… Please let Matt O’Neill who runs the LCEG group (or myself) know if you’d like to attend.