Change is a good thing. That’s the old saying. It’s also a permanent reality for modern enterprises. And whether it’s due to re-organization, technology, shifts in company culture or a rebrand, change is still a good thing, but adjusting to it as an organization can be a whole different story.
That adjustment to organizational change is why change management exists—and why marketing is key to its success.
What is Change Management?
Change management is exactly what it sounds like: It’s managing change. You’ll need it when a new CEO comes onboard and creates new core values for your company. You’ll need it when your organization decides to implement a new intranet that every employee has to learn. And you’ll need it when consumer markets shift and you go through a rebranding process, applying new language and visuals when speaking as and about your business.
Quite simply, change management is everything done to prepare and support employees and consumers in adopting change to drive organizational growth. There is no one-size-fits-all change management practice because there is no one-size-fits-all type of organizational change. However, no matter the changes to your corporate culture and brand, rolling out your change management initiative with internal and external marketing can ensure retention, application and even enthusiasm for the road ahead.
Where Does Marketing Come In?
At the heart of almost every change management initiative lies corporate culture. Corporate culture goes hand-in-hand with a brand’s story, personality and values—elements of brand identity that are the cornerstone of what comprehensive branding and marketing provides.
We saw this in the 2012 rebranding of Domino’s Pizza. The brand knew it needed a change when consumer behavior made a significant shift: less delivery and more pick-up orders. Less transactional exchanges and more consumer-brand relationships. To roll out a more welcoming, appealing Domino’s brand, they turned to a logo redesign, revamped store fronts and launched an integrated campaign to get employees and consumers alike excited.
Could Domino’s have attempted to change its brand perception without the help of rebranding and integrated marketing? Sure. But by adding that extra layer of design and personality consistently across all their channels, it was that much easier for employees to embrace the change and consumers to get behind it.
How Far Can Marketing Take Your Initiative?
A rebranding may be the most obvious example of where marketing plays a role in change management, but it’s not the only change management initiative that benefits from strong marketing. No matter your change initiative, two critical pieces must be considered and addressed through marketing: employee involvement and visual aids.
To start, effective change requires systematic employee involvement. New brands don’t succeed without the embrace of the team. The same is true of change initiatives. Like consumers who are attracted to brands that share their values, the modern employee is attracted to changes in culture when they feel like they are part of making that change—and from user manuals and pocket guides to informative videos and eblasts, achieving that employee ownership is best accomplished through strategic internal marketing tactics.
Secondly, we’re all visual learners. That means providing a visual component to your change initiative provides a useful aid for understanding and retention, for bringing it to life in the eyes of employees and consumers. Take the increasingly popular strategic corporate narrative, for example. To make their culture attractive, more and more organizations want consultants to develop narratives that get employees (and customers) on board for their new corporate vision.
Our Experience with Change Management
This was exactly the situation for one of our pharmaceutical clients during the development of their strategic narrative in 2018. Faced with a new vision for their company, the client turned to us to develop a highly visual theme under which to roll out the narrative and visually capture the sentiment behind it through an interactive training presentation, printed pocket guide, office wall graphics and more. The results were so successful, we’ve been brought back to repeat the process for a new narrative based around the brand’s recent merger.
It was also the case for Lundbeck, another of pharmaceutical client that developed a series of core beliefs to add a heartfelt, mission-driven cultural component to their brand. Lundbeck’s main goal was employee retention and support of the new initiative. To leave a lasting impression on their staff, we designed illustrated flashcards of each belief, collected them into a flip-style pocket guide to always keep on hand and titled them the Lundbeck 7 for increased memorability. With employees testing in the high 90s out of 100 for retention and understanding after our roll out, we chalked our efforts up to a change management win.
The Not-So-Secret Ingredient to Successful Change
Every change management initiative is different, but the need for marketing to make it a success remains across the board. Not sure where to start? We understand the ins and outs of the process first-hand from our work as a branding and marketing agency.
Working together, we have the background and expertise to guide your organization into its future with strategic thinking, visual support, employee engagement and retention. No matter how big or small, our tactics can get your company over the hurdles that change creates—so you can focus on the good it brings.
Want to know more about working with BatesMeron on your change management initiative? Reach out to Becka.