Branding is a more sophisticated form of marketing communication. The purpose of branding a project is to associate an emotion or a feeling with your project. This is exactly what marketing people try to do when they brand a product. For instance, The Coca-Cola Company hopes that you feel good about its products and that you will choose its products from a crowded store shelf because you like the image and emotion associated with it. Maybe it works.
The purpose of branding a project is to associate a positive image and emotion with your work. This is not something most projects need to be concerned about. However, ask yourself some questions regarding the impact your project will have on the organization.
- Does it impact a large number of people or maybe the entire company?
- Will it require a culture change or a change in the way people do their job?
- Will your project make people nervous or afraid? For instance, will it result in efficiencies so that less people are required to do the same function?
These are the types of projects that would be candidates for branding.
All large projects get branded. If you don’t do anything, this branding is generally negative. It is just the nature of people that they seem to think that change is bad. Positive branding communication helps you proactively build the image you want to portray rather than getting stuck with one.
When considering a branding strategy, ask whether it is important for people to have a positive feeling about your project. For example, when people hear of your project, do you want them to think of the benefits your project is bringing or do you want them to think about how bad the project is? Should they think of the company responding to competitive challenges or should they be wondering if the project will cost them their job? Do you want them to have positive thoughts or negative ones?
There are activities that a project can perform to help with the branding campaign. Examples of activities include establishing a positive project name, distributing banded materials, publicizing project successes, etc.
Why the fuss?
You might be wondering why this all matters. Does this sound like just a bunch of fluff and unnecessary work? It is not. It matters because it is much more difficult for your project to be successful if the people that have to change are negative. It is much easier for you if they are positive about the change – or at least neutral. That is where the value-add comes in.