Your organisation comprises different groups of people, or teams, working towards a shared aim or holding a particular functional role in the institution. The perceptions about how and why a particular team exists can have a significant impact on the rest of the organisation, which is why I tell my clients that it’s so important for individual teams to have a strong identity or brand.
Many teams don’t see themselves as brands and don’t actively take control of their collective identity. The result is that other people and stakeholders develop an identity for them.
So what is a team brand? It’s the consistent image that pops up in people’s minds when they think of your team – a team becomes known for something. Consciously or unconsciously, employees, managers and clients interact with a team every day and their experience of that engagement develops into a sense of who your team is.
I’m a firm believer that the defining and managing your team’s brand can have a powerful impact on its effectiveness. Here are some important questions I use to help my clients construct a brand identity for their team:
- Who does it serve?
- What does it do better than any other similar team?
- What makes it valuable?
- What is distinctive about the way your team does things?
- Where do we stand today in terms of our brand and reputation in the wider organisation, and where do we want to be?
- What are the short-term and long-term impacts our team wants to make?
- What team brand would be required to get us there?
- How will we relate to each other?
- What principles, values and commitments do we want to stand for in our team and in the organisation that will express our desired brand?
Members of a well-branded team can clearly communicate what they do and why they are vital to the company. They can convince others of their value. I’ve seen time and time again that if nobody knows what value your team adds to the business, you risk being viewed as superfluous. But, when great teams operate well, other people begin to do their marketing for you and advocate for your importance to the organisation.
When team members have a clear sense of their purpose, they also have a source of identity and an assurance of quality, which ultimately leads to them becoming more productive and better at their jobs.