Thursday, May 21, 2015

Talent Leaders: 3 Ways to Enhance Your Team’s Internal Brand

Talent and learning teams add tremendous value to organizations. Yet, being internal, many Talent Teams do not focus on building and promoting their internal brand. As a Talent Development Leader currently in graduate school at Northwestern's Medill Integrated Marketing Communications [IMC] program, I have found two articles on brand development you will find interesting and actionable.  As the pace and scope of business continues to rapidly accelerate, Talent Leaders need to focus on enhancing their teams internal brand to better meet their clients needs and protect their value.

In a Bersin by Deloitte article, The Real Challenge with Learner Engagement: L&D Has a Marketing Problem published in January 2015, by  Todd Tauber and Dani Johnson outline the importance of Talent Teams to “intentionally define and reinforce” their brand. Why? Because it's increasingly difficult to capture practitioners' attention. Thus, Talent Teams should use branding tactics to ensure practitioners know the value of development and see it as quick, easy and valuable to engage in. In addition, Tauber and Johnson recommend Talent should look to beyond traditional courseware and focus on the Talent brand touch points (website, communications, etc.) throughout the entire learner journey - from awareness through post session.


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Additionally, in his 2013 Forbes article, How Starbucks, Walmart And IBM Launch Brands Internally And What You Can Learn From Them, John F. Marshall, discusses leading practice tactics marketers use to launch brands internally – which Talent Leaders can take advantage of. Marshall recommends talent leaders should leverage “counter-intuitive approaches” to drive brand and talent messages.  Marshall recommends three approaches. First, start inside by creating actionable mantras and playbooks so practitioners can easily and meaningfully act. Next, employ a top down strategy ensuring brand and vision messaging is voiced and advocated by top leadership. Lastly, get creative. Marshall feels companies benefit from investing in more creative tactics to attract and retain practitioner engagement.

Based on my review of these two articles and my work as a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, there are three action items Talent Leaders should consider to improve their team’s brand:
  • Think Commercially: Define who you are, brand and reinforce yourself accordingly – just like an external; commercial business.
  • Go Outside the Classroom: Your client is typically not in the classroom and does not have time to be there – get your message to them a different way.
  • Up Your Game: In an increasingly cynical and savvy technical consumer world, internal stakeholders have been there, seen it and bought the t-shirt - up the ante in creative tactics to engage audiences.

Branding is not just for external clients. Leveraging tactics mentioned above, Talent Leaders can engage their internal stakeholders and best communicate the value of their organization.

Francesca Ranieri is a Talent Development Leader with 13+ years of experience in changing behaviors within professional service and retail firms. She is thrilled to be adding “changing perceptions” to her tool box through her work at the Medill IMC graduate program at Northwestern University. Say "howdy!". Twitter at @frannyranieri or LinkedIn

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