How to uphold brand DNA as you scale up

Employment & Skills | Growth | How To

Richard Dodgson

Written by Richard Dodgson, Founder & Creative Director, Timebased Events

One of the most important aspects of any business is its brand identity. It acts as a foundation for all communications, both external and internal, as well as a model for expansion. As such, maintaining brand DNA as you scale-up is crucial. However, this is easier said than done.

A range of factors can impact a brand’s identity. Such as the introduction of new team members, moving into new offices, and changing social environments. Whether these have a positive or negative impact stems from the company’s understanding of its own brand, the extent to which the brand DNA empowers employees and the businesses ability to know when and how to evolve.

The importance of brand DNA

The growing demand for corporate transparency, alongside increased social consciousness, has led to a heightened level of scrutiny over business ethics. In light of this, it is imperative that companies regularly discuss their purpose, mission and values, and ensure the actions of the business and its employees align with this.

If a business is not clear on its brand DNA, it should go through a branding process to establish one. When doing so, they should take time to identify an appropriate and experienced branding agency who can provide valuable objective feedback.

Strong brand integrity shows partners, employees and consumers that the business is authentic and trustworthy, even if the model, method and mechanics they work by evolve and adapt to wider industry requirements.

Evolution is key

Maintaining brand DNA is vital, but being unwilling to let go of practices or values that are no longer fit for purpose can be highly damaging. Businesses should always be looking to the future – what its customers and employees will want, and what the available resources are for improving effectiveness & efficiency. By evolving the company’s identity to reflect these, a business will be able to stay ahead of its competitors.

For instance, in response to environmental social movements, many businesses have amended their principles to be greener, because they realise customers and employees want brands to share their values and that they will be more successful by doing so.

While evolution of the brand DNA is crucial to its survival, a business that makes changes without considering their impact risks losing their identity and the associated heritage which illustrates its authenticity. Instead, when considering changes, companies must be asking themselves whether the investment is sensible and what the lifespan of the change is. Quick solutions that completely overwrite existing brand values will always be damaging.

Employees as brand ambassadors

Employees are the heart of every business. If they understand, agree with and feel empowered by their employers’ brand they become powerful representatives for the company’s core values and will work harder, pulling together out of a desire to see the company as a whole succeed, which will ultimately create more business. On the other hand, employees who do not connect with the brand DNA will work towards different goals, comprising the synergy of the company.

It’s only possible to create employee brand ambassadors if a business hires staff who are in-line with its brand DNA, and routinely communicate their values with employees, encouraging constant learning between teams and offering incentives aligned with the brand identity.

As an example, three of Timebased’s core brand values are inclusivity, creativity and cultural relevance. To ingrain these as a living breathing part of the company’s culture, the business organises frequent team trips to installations and exhibitions, to promote inspiration, enhance bonding and encourage inter-team learning.

Brand DNA can be a powerful business tool. However, it can only reach its full potential if it has employee support and is evolved to meet changing needs. If this is done, the business will benefit from a unified, more effective workforce, who affirm the authenticity of the company’s brand. This will ultimately enhance their public image helping them secure business over their competitors.

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