By Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk
by Sarah Warlick, copy editor
Your firm is thrilled with your new hire, but have you communicated the important points of your branding message? Follow these six tips to be sure, and avoid embarrassment for everyone.
Image source: https://www.sxc.hu/profile/ToivoL
While misspelling the firm name is a drastic example of new-employee ignorance, it’s surprisingly common. With this in mind, think of all the subtle or not-so-subtle company policies and protocols that you want your new hires to follow. Do you have a formal training program in place? Most smaller firms and even many larger ones do not. Marketing Profs’ eye-opening slideshow shares strategies to help you get the important points across to your employees both new and old, so you can be confident that the whole team is singing from the same songbook. Instead of relying on psychic divination or osmosis to transfer firm culture and branding to the next generation, try these tips:
Introduce yourself. The firm name is fundamental, so make absolutely positive that employees understand the capitalization, hyphens, abbreviations, spelling, acceptable nicknames and any other elements. It may be obvious to you but can be tricky for those less familiar with the firm.
Be specific. Communicate the firm’s tagline as well as the short version of your brand positioning statement (commonly known as the elevator pitch). You have one for a reason – it helps employees and clients alike to know this brief but distinct messaging summary. (And if you don’t have one, we can help!) The time new hires spend becoming familiar with your marketing materials is time well spent, and it helps the new guy assimilate the more nuanced aspects of your positioning. Make this information visibly present within the firm for all employees.
Be artistic. Guarantee consistent use of the visual components of your branding with a style guide for fonts and colors. Produce and share templates for letterhead and presentations, and all that represents your firm. No one, not even your partners, should feel that they can “adjust” your logo, colors or established documents for their own purposes. Consistency reinforces firm branding identity in the market, and it applies to everyone.
Make your mark. Logos are the big guns of visual firm branding. As such, they deserve respect and a clear set of instructions for their use. When? In what forms and colors? With which taglines? What sizes? For whom? Is there a trademark? Cover the subject in enough detail that mistakes don’t happen. Establish a go-to person for questions that may arise.
Sign off. Develop a standard email signature protocol for everyone in the firm. Having a standard format boosts your brand identity through visual impact and also guarantees a professional appearance. You may want to set it up with firm colors or include your tagline, social media links or links to the firm website but whatever you opt for, be consistent.
Be social. Your employees are highly likely to participate in social media regardless of the firm’s choices in this area. Communicate specific and detailed social media policies for employees as part of this introduction to the firm to avoid missteps that can hurt your firm image.
Now your new hires as well as your long-time employees are well versed on the ins and outs of maintaining the firm’s carefully crafted image. Hopefully everyone got to know each other a bit better and had a little fun during the education process. Have you got any other strategies for helping new employees climb safely on board? We’d love to hear them.