Brand is invaluable to your organization’s longevity. It’s because of the purpose and culture you’ve created that people want to come back as loyal customers and even become advocates of your products. As individuals, CMO Club members cited BMW, Nike, Amazon, and Jet Blue as some of the brands they love most. They said that these companies make their lives easier, have a clear purpose that emanates from within, give back to the community and have great quality products and customer service.

No surprises there – these are many of the reasons anyone might like a brand.

During their recent Virtual Roundtable, moderated by Jennifer Francis, Executive Director of Marketing & Communications at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, CMOs were asked to share some of the ways they create and cultivate brand at their own organizations. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: How do you approach the idea of “brand” when it comes to your customers, your employees and the organization as a whole?

Steven Handmaker: We are constantly thinking about the experience. It’s a tug-of-war between maintaining the brand and falling back on the serious tone of our industry.

Virginie Glaenzer: For me, it comes down to culture, and that can be a challenge for a number of reasons. Unless the CEO has a strong stance, culture can end up being a reflection of what each employee thinks it is.

Judy Arnold: One way to overcome disconnect is to check in and make sure your brand attitude matches the way your team actually behaves. At my company, jeans and a t-shirt are the norm, yet their online bios started formally with professional portraits and “Mr./Mrs.” vocabulary. When we shifted our branding to reflect our internal culture, customers felt a more authentic connection.

Q: How do you maintain a branding strategy that is articulated throughout the organization?

Michael Parness: We had multiple products and brands coming out of our company that were going into the market. So, we needed to create the right voice and then socialize that element to really see how we as brand evangelists and how our consumers were going to bring that idea to life. That’s what has helped us most while working with retailers to get on shelves.

Virginie: Our sales team is the touch point with customers. For us, in terms of having a brand strategy, we are doing OK. Working with sales to stay on brand is our biggest focus when it comes to maintaining a cohesive voice.

Q: How does someone know when it’s the right time to do a re-brand, and how did you approach the process?

Matthew Boyle: We were seeing better ways to name and talk about the brand. We looked at every detail (logos, websites, legal, etc). “Do it once and do it right” was the thought process. In the end, people got excited about the new colors and the new language, which was a really great thing.

Patrick Bernardi: If you feel like your brand is not communicating your value or promise effectively, then it might be worth looking at a re-brand. At Hu-Friedy, we re-branded because our portfolio had grown in depth and breadth, and certainly way beyond some specific product categories we were traditionally known for. Additionally, brand architecture is an important element to look at. Are you a house of brands like P&G or a branded house like FedEx? If you don’t know, or the market is confused, then a re-brand might make sense. In 2011, we were very inconsistent in terms of brand architecture, creative expression and value prop communication. Five years later, we have a globally consistent image, message and branded house approach to our architecture.

Judy: I came to a company after they had already rebranded, but that effort only included an updated website, stationary and one client email. So, I did research and learned there was a lack of recognition of the new company name and launched a campaign to continue building the brand. Now I’m planning a final follow-up survey to see if we moved the needle.

Q: On that note, how do you measure the success of a rebranding program?

Jennifer: When I came in, very few people knew what the museum stood for and what our values were. I wish there was a way to measure internal and external energy that comes from a rebrand. It’s important to note, but hard to measure.

Michael: We deal with private investors and agreed as a group to look at new customer acquisition, email opt-ins, lifetime value and order values. It’s been a year since we launched, and we’ve already seen all those numbers increase. The other aspect was our team and part of building those employee advocates was getting people interested in working here. Without the new communications, we wouldn’t have attracted all of these super talented people to our company. I’m certain that, without the rebrand, none of it would have happened.


Thank you to all those who participated in this Digital Roundtable: Steven Handmaker, CMO, Assurance; Virginie Glaenzer, EVP of Marketing & Customer Experience, Eastern Banking Corporation; Judy Arnold, VP of Marketing, Vitalyst; Michael Parness, CMO, Outward Hound; Matthew Boyle, Partner & CMO, AAFCPAs; Patrick Bernardi, CMO, Hu-Friedy; Kathleen Delaney, CMO, Vistage; Mark Hanna, CMO, Richline Group, Inc., Madelyn Gengelbach, VP of Strategic Marketing, inContact; Lisa Bratkovich, SVP of Marketing, Guthy-Renker.