Team Branding – A Leader’s Responsibility!
A team’s brand needs to be built step by step by its leader!
“The best projects go to other teams! I don’t know how but my team never draws the winning ticket!.. Yet again, we’ve not received the budget necessary for all your brilliant ideas, or for raises…We’re not on the list of priorities for this company… People keep leaving and, not only does nobody apply internally for our opened positions, but the CVs coming from external candidates are not good enough…”
This litany of complaints from leaders can go on indefinitely… I have heard it, and I am sure you have heard it more offer than we would like!
As leaders in organizations, we wish to have teams able to attract projects of great impact, teams whose abilities are used to their maximum potential for the benefit of the organization and its clients, teams capable of attracting, on the basis of their performance, more substantial budgets for increasingly complex projects. As leaders we wish for our team to acquire new talents, to be a magnet for professionals inside and outside of the organization. And yes, we want teams which have visibility, whose achievements are recognized and appreciated; teams capable of reinventing themselves, with flexibility and the goal to succeed.
Regardless of how much you invest in your personal brand, as a leader in an organization you have a vision to follow ahead of you and a team to lead behind you. We cannot talk about leadership without encompassing both the vision and the team! Let’s stop playing the victim and start learning how to better communicate our teams’ brands in order to again the capacity of influencing the system to our advantage.
In my professional experience as a leader in corporations, as an entrepreneur, or as a personal branding strategist, I have often worked with teams willing to be visible for all the above mentioned reasons. I have noticed that in the process of building a strong brand for the team, leaders make the same mistakes as when it comes to their personal brand. They are either not interested in the subject matter, or they do not realize its potential; other times they look around waiting for the change to come from top management or from other factors outside the team. What they do not understand is that most often leaders have the strength to reposition the teams’ role in the organization, that they have the role to propel and develop their team through constant, targeted communication and through a process of subtly selling what makes their team different. So yes, when it comes to building a team brand true leaders can be miracle workers!
Here are 7 suggestions for a strong team brand:
- What is your team’s current reputation? Survey this aspect discreetly or directly in regards to partners, internal or external clients and top management. Compare this result to the expectations you have for this team and to the way in which the team perceives itself. Identify the aspects where there currently is a gap between external perception and the internal image you aspire to and make an action plan.
- Team Branding Lab – organize a special workshop facilitated by either a professional, or by yourself as team leader and identify the following:
- Index the rare abilities of the team and design ways of marketing these abilities horizontally, or vertically.
- Which are your common values as a team? How are you able to include them in your internal communications and presentations?
- Assess the way in which information leaves the team. Who communicates? How does one communicate? What are the channels used for communication? Is the relevant information communicated? Is what makes you special “selling”?
- Who keeps track of your success stories? Keep an account of your successes!
- Assess your level of empowerment and how you can grow it:
- Where is your team in the organization?
- Where does business come from for the team?
- Which are the decision making factors, within the organization, or from clients, that the team has access to? How is this relationship evaluated?
- How can we communicate directly with those who can transfer us more business?
- If we do not have access to them, how can we reach the decision makers?
- Identify your “advocates” – the factor which can communicate positive feedback about the team and its results, namely the professionals who can act as informal support for your team!
- The leader must take on the role of spokesperson for his team’s successes! Stop saying “no” to invitations to publicly speak or present your teams accomplishments. Every time you refuse you are making a disservice to your team!
- Take responsibility! Nobody else is responsible for the reputation and building of your team’s brand! It is only up to YOU, the team’s leader. This is a responsibility which you cannot delegate! There is no such thing and leadership without a vision and a team.
Do not act as soon as possible! Act NOW!
leadership, team branding, team branding lab, team reputation