Leaders at Xerox felt its brand was not being managed to its full potential and sought help in identifying areas in which to improve. While Xerox has a committed and knowledgeable Brand Office, the leadership believed an outside evaluation of the company’s brand governance practices could lend needed insight.
At Interbrand, we believe achieving effective and appropriate brand governance structures comes from the right combination of efficient processes, smart platforms, and effective communication. To assess whether or not Xerox’s existing brand governance structure was as smart, efficient, and effective as it could be, Interbrand undertook a thorough audit of the Xerox brand management framework. The audit examined where the company appeared to be missing opportunities and helped us make recommendations that would keep Xerox moving in the right direction.
To be successful, brands must find and keep a constant balance between being responsive and open to evolution_ while always retaining a strong, integral core. Only with internal alignment can an organization find that balance. In an effort to help Xerox find that ideal balance, we needed to know more about how the Xerox brand functioned internally.
Process mapping and a dialogue with employees across several business groups gave us a window into the organization’s brand operations. Once we gained a clearer understanding of the organization’s internal understanding and use of the brand, our next task was to find solutions to brand users’ concerns and new ways to elevate the Xerox brand.
Interbrand Brand Governance Audits assess brand management practices through a framework that is comprised of people, platforms, and processes.
“People” identifies the individuals and teams responsible for establishing initiatives and managing and executing the brand—both internally and externally. “Platforms” are the tools and systems that enable implementation of process. “Processes” are workflows established to support the execution of brand management efforts and facilitate the distribution of assets and information between teams. Looking at these three operational dimensions gives us an accurate view into an organization’s brand operations—ultimately allowing for specific and actionable recommendations on how to strengthen these operations as a whole.
Our interviews with more than 20 stakeholders across Xerox revealed impressions—both positive and negative—of what it’s like to work with, learn about, and ultimately bear responsibility for deploying the brand. Giving a voice to those in a position to shed light on what’s working and what’s not is a key component of understanding a company’s culture and where/how their brand governance practices may need to evolve. Brand users spoke and we listened. Specifically, departments said they needed greater resources and support to carry the Xerox brand forward effectively. Workers believed that a better brand portal (the intranet site housing logos, templates and other assets) could be tweaked to better address typical needs. They also felt that the review process (how materials gain official “on-brand” approval from the Brand Office) would be strengthened by facilitating more one-on-one dialogue.
Interbrand summarized and reported these and other findings to Xerox’s brand leaders and shared recommendations on how to strengthen the organization’s operations as a whole.
The audit and report prompted specific changes to Xerox’s brand governance practices, including: a revamped brand portal with greatly improved accessibility and collaboration (enabled, in part, by social media capabilities); a greater commitment among brand leaders to increasing internal brand awareness, and a willingness to allocate more departmental resources to its current brand team. Across Xerox, an expanded group of key brand leaders joins regularly with Interbrand experts to discuss relevant brand issues and formulate ways to increase internal brand awareness that draw on their individual specializations.
Since Interbrand identified a need for Xerox to steep more of its employees in the basics of brand, the company has gone on to conduct training sessions with nearly 1,000 employees across 45 business groups worldwide. Establishing a systematic framework for brand management rich in brand training, tools, and resources, will help to keep teams engaged and informed. For Xerox, making the effort to look within and consider operational improvement was an important first step toward a more successfully managed brand.