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Brand Building: Strong On the Inside

by Randall Craig on February 5, 2016

Filed in: Blog, Branding, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Marketing, Web

Tagged as: , , , , ,

How much does your organization spend on your brand? Usually, this question yields answers in the following categories: logo design, collateral production messaging, and ads. And for more sophisticated organizations, it also includes elements of Social Media.

While all of these items are important, this list is missing the two fundamental delivery mechanisms of the brand itself: people, and the online user experience.

People: Over the last several decades, the HR function within many organizations has been reduced to the transactional: payroll, posting job ads, and processing staff changes. Yet the HR function is critically important to ensuring that the brand is firmly embedded into the culture:

  • Hiring the right people
  • Orientation and onboarding
  • Performance appraisal process
  • Training
  • Career planning and succession
  • Alumni programs

Each of these areas (and more) directly impact the brand: If the brand “spend” excludes people, then a huge opportunity has been missed. Without brand strength on the inside, there can’t be brand strength on the outside.

In other words, the brand spend must also be made with the HR department.

Online User Experience: The number and frequency of online touchpoints (web/social media/automated email) has increased dramatically over the last number of years for two main reasons: internal pressure to reduce costs, and external pressure for always-available self-service.  At the same time, users’ expectations of a simple, hassle-free online experience have also increased dramatically.  If your users become frustrated interacting with you online, they will “abandon” you. Or worse, share their poor experience with the world via Social Media.

Improving the online user experience means several things:

  • Using the most up-to-date thinking for design, information architecture, and site logic.
  • Ensuring that a community management strategy is in place and that the function is staffed and trained.
  • Ensuring that any existing call center (or front-line service staff) are empowered – and technically able to respond to chat/SMS/Twitter, and any other online outreach.

In other words, the brand spend must also be made with the IT department.

This week’s action plan: Brand actually needs to infuse every group within your organization, not just marketing, HR, and IT. This week, make sure that it is, starting first with HR then with IT.

Not sure where to start? Happy to spend 30 minutes over the phone doing a short diagnostic on your digital user experience and how to improve engagement and drive conversion. Reach out at 416-256-7773 x101, or via

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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