Lessons Learned in Rolling Out a Shared Services Branding Initiative
Ensuring that your Shared Services operation is appropriately branded can help to properly position this critical organization within your company. Due in part to the transactional nature of many processes typically found within Shared Services, employees, business partners, and even key stakeholders may not understand the role of Shared Services and the value it delivers to the company. Hence, the need for an effective branding strategy.
During a recent Peeriosity PeercastTM, the Global Lead for Change and Communications at a major global manufacturing company with over USD $50 billion in annual revenue and more than 200,000 employees shared their recent experiences related to Shared Services branding and what has proven most effective to this point in time.
The presentation began with a discussion regarding what makes a great brand. Five branding attributes were cited as being the most important:
- Recognition – Your consumer needs to recognize your brand right away without even knowing it.
- Confidence – Your brand needs to exude confidence so your buyer feels confident using it.
- Clarity – Don’t confuse people. Less is more. Clarity is paramount.
- Subliminal – You’re not hitting people over the head with your message, but it’s speaking to them in a way they don’t even realize.
- X-Factor – You can’t put your finger on why but you feel like you must have it/be a part of it.
The feature company then shared how their recent transition from being known as Shared Business Services to Global Financial Services was an important part of their overall branding strategy. While this might be considered a step backward by some, by emphasizing “Financial Services” instead of a broader scope of “Business Services”, the new name helped enable the organization to be aligned as one global team, providing consistent services offerings throughout Asia, EMEA, and the Americas, better defining who they are and what they do, and providing a voice for sharing their story with the rest of the company. With the tagline of “Global Financial Services – We are One World”, they are well positioned to define who they are.
Some other tools the Global Financial Services organization utilizes to promote its brand include a Newsletter and a Yammer site, both of which help the organization to build a sense of pride in what they are doing, as well as adding engagement, cohesiveness, trust, and transparency to the operation.
Additional details regarding the feature company’s efforts in this area can be found on the Peeriosity member website in the Peercast Results section.
iPollingTM Results Review
A recent Peeriosity poll created using the iPollingTM technology provided some interesting background for this PeercastTM. The first question looked at the current effectiveness of the branding of Shared Services, with the results being almost equal for each of the response options, which varied from strong to adequate to somewhat lacking. The good news is that 74% of the surveyed companies consider their branding as either strong (39%) or adequate (35%).
The second poll question then addressed what factor has been most effective in creating a strong brand image for Shared Services. Strong leadership and their ability to communicate the value of Shared Services was the top response at 45% of the companies, followed by strong results delivered over time with 36% of the responses.
Some of the comments made by Peeriosity members related to this poll include the following:
Manufacturing Member – It’s really a combination of strong leadership and proven results, but I prioritize the first slightly higher.
Consumer Products & Services Member – Initially it was strong leadership and endorsement/tone from the top (CFO) and over time it has to be replaced by strong performance. We did create new branding at the onset to succeed any local historical and geographic centers with our global program and branding.
Retail Member – All about understanding your stakeholders and speaking in terms of their priorities.
Manufacturing Member – Shared Services branding becomes strong when the business partner’s interests are respected, prioritized, and delivered upon.
Consumer Products & Services Member – Leadership should have a big role in communicating the purpose of the Shared Services area; especially when the transition of several areas under this organization. Clear and constant communication and emphasis on branding should be done in order to clearly state the benefits of the changes.
Real Estate & Construction – This is an area we need to embrace so I look forward to comments/recommendations.
Consumer Products & Services – Strong leadership that evolves to meet business needs and articulates the value delivered to those businesses creates a strong brand/equity.
Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member – Finance Shared Service is known and well-regarded among most areas of the global organization, but somewhat less understood among the US/HQ finance functional groups who so far have had less exposure.
As demonstrated by our feature company, if the proper resources and effort are focused on developing and enhancing a brand image for Shared Services, strong results will follow. The relationship with key customers and suppliers is so critical to the success of Shared Services and developing a strong brand image will only enhance those important relationships.
What is the status at your company regarding the development or enhancement of a brand image for Shared Services? Is it time to address this important aspect of your operation?
Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?
“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion. Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content. Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees.
“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPollingTM.
Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers. Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted. To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.