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A blueprint to branding for strategy – by Al Masaood’s Marwa Kaabour

The key to being seen, heard, and understood is unpacked by Al Masaood’s Marwa Kaabour

Most companies spend enormous investments on strategy. Then they spend meagre time and resources to cascade these strategies to employees. The point they miss is that only when a strategy is embraced soulfully by employees will execution be well on its way. 

In using the power of branding and storytelling, a communications team can bring to life a well-devised strategy to their internal audiences. 

BRANDING: THE ULTIMATE TOOL TO MAKE A STRATEGY SEEN AND UNDERSTOOD

Al Masaood Automobiles introduced its latest mid-term strategy earlier this year. The strategy is set to propel the company on a new business direction that embraces innovation to its core and change the course of how it does business. 

The automotive sector is currently at a crossroad of major disruptive forces, these being earmarked with technology advancements. Automotive dealers of the future will be hosting digital and virtual showrooms, offering intelligent autonomous mobility solutions and incorporating shared mobility. 

One of the biggest hurdles in strategies is that they are launched in the most conventional methods; perhaps through a presentation or a speech, and then shelved away in the folders of computers. 

But what if you can brand your strategy? 

What if you treat it like a precious branding exercise and breathe life into it through logos, memorable taglines and visual assets that tell a story?

OLD IS GOLD, EVEN WHEN PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE 

Applying the golden rules of branding even when communicating a new strategy can be a magic potion to getting your messages across. In launching the new strategy, we sought to use the classic approach to branding any new product or service: 

Coming up with a logo, a tagline, a colour palette and celebrative launch campaign. 

They say that branding to a company or a product is like a mirror to your soul, it reflects the values and essence of your business. But what is branding to a strategy? 

In our strategy, we used particular branding elements to create a spirit and personality that our employees can identify with:

Coming of age colours 

We used vibrant gradient palettes to signify the transition into digital and virtual spaces. The combination of violet into our existing blue palette allowed us to communicate that while we keep the traditional model, we are integrating technology at the core of the business. 

Simplify to amplify your messaging

Strategies are often multi-fold and built over many layers of business plans. Before jumping onto aesthetics, the comms team worked closely with the business team to simplify the strategy into three main pillars and communicating each pillar against a backdrop of a brand purpose and values.

Birthing brand characters 

Humanising a brand by a character will breathe life into it. As our original brand icon was a falcon, we decided to upgrade it into something that our team can connect with. We chose a character that is part-human part-animal, a combo resembling superheroes and Transformers. We went further by choosing a modern Transformer like Optimus Prime.

We all know that customers generally don’t care about your story, they care about their own. So through the branding and comms journey, we established a relatable fairytale narrative. 

The celebration 

What better way to kickstart your strategy than a grand launch? 

Bringing together employees from all departments, we held a grand debut of our new strategy using a blend of visual and music activations to stimulate their senses. This all climaxed with a grand reveal of our new ‘superhero falcon’.

The ambassadors 

To fuel our strategy, we made our employees our ambassadors – our falcons. Having their buy-in was essential in encouraging advocacy, building trust, driving engagement and championing the company’s new values and purpose. 

Afterall, what can be more effective than ‘leading by the people, for the people?’ 

By Marwa Kaabour, Group Head of Marketing and Corporate Communication at Al Masaood