If I were CEO, I would discourage departmental brands

Internal branding can be derisiveMy long-time blogging cohort and sheriff of the posse of pundits at BrandingWire, Steve Woodruff, just did a post at StickyFigure about branding departments of organizations.

He suggested six reasons why you’d want to brand a particular department.

There are:

* Create a more consistent visual presentation
* Seek to crystallize and communicate the purpose and goals of the department
* Build esprit de corps among those within the department
* Create the sense that the department is a valuable “destination” for potential recruits
* Elevate the identity and value of the department within the corporation
* Put forth a distinct message separate from (but not in opposition to) any overall corporate branding

Well, I don’t agree that departments should have their own brands. As I commented at his blog…

There are two reasons why I believe departmental branding is a bad idea:

1. It dilutes and causes confusion around the overall corporate brand. It’s difficult enough to get everyone rallying around the corporate brand, its messages and signals. But when you add the parochial brand, people get two messages, and perhaps, contradictory ones.

2. Thinking a department needs a brand is the thinking of empire-builders. At least that’s my belief based upon observation. Departmental branding leads to “us against them” attitudes which are simmering within already.

You can read Steve’s entire blog by clicking Branding Departments

So sorry, Steve, hope you won’t kick me off the posse.


One thought on “If I were CEO, I would discourage departmental brands

  1. Martin,

    I actually don’t disagree with your reasoning. It takes companies of a certain size and culture to be in a position where a “sub-brand” is created (at a dept. level), and for many companies, it’s not feasible. I tend to work with very large, siloed companies where it can occur. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it universally – only where it is appropriate.

    And the sub-brand certainly must reinforce the main company values/brand!

    – SW

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