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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 secondsOrganisations have always needed to change. Change has always been part of the organisation world. But it could be argued that organizations need to change more now today than they have in the past. The are really three features that make that environment much more dynamic. And the first one, most familiar, is technological change. So the rate of technological change has speeded up, in particular in relation to information technology. And why that's important is because information technology affects all sectors. It's a general purpose technology. Information technology is central to the increased pace of change. Linked to that, I think, we can see that deregulation and increasing reliance on markets as ways of coordinating activity means that organisations have to respond to changes.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 secondsIt's a much less predictable world in terms of the way in which markets work, because they are less regulated, controlled, and structured. And then linked to both of those features, deregulation and new technologies, is the process we call globalisation. So there's much more interaction between different parts of the world, between different parts of the economy. And that means organisations have to be much more nimble and able to change to take advantage of those kinds of opportunities and to counter some of the threats associated with globalisation. Branding isn't something that's conventionally thought of as being associated with organisational change. We usually think about branding as being about product markets.

Skip to 1 minute and 42 secondsBut I think you have to remember that all organisations operate in more than just product markets. So brand mediates the relationship of the organisation to its environment, to its suppliers, to its customers, to its workers. Brand's also really important inside the organisation, because increasingly what we're trying to do with an organisation is we're trying to coordinate the activity of a lot of individuals. In a sense, the notion of selling the brand inside is about ensuring that everybody in the organisation carries the brand with them and communicates the brand in quite a conventional sort of brand marketing notion. So I think it's important to understand that selling the brand inside is not simply a selling process.

Skip to 2 minutes and 27 secondsIt's also about extending the brand as a kind of community within the organisation. Brands, by holding the organisation together, can provide a really useful role in terms of organisational change. But I think brands can also have quite negative effects in terms of change. A strong brand identity can prevent organisations from embracing opportunities or responding to threats. In a context in which organisations have to change all the time, an important part of the brand has to be something that gives ambiguity or that gives some kind of questioning aspect to the brand, that enables brands to learn, develop, and change, and not become stuck in a particular identity, a particular market, which can then go into decline and become very, very problematic.

Latest thinking on brand-led change

Watch UEA Senior Lecturer James Cornford on the role brand plays inside organisations. And ask yourself these questions:

  • what are the three factors that are making organisational change such a big current topic?
  • in what ways is ‘selling’ a brand to employees the same as selling one to consumers? and in what ways is it different?
  • when is a strong brand a bad thing?

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The Secret Power of Brands

UEA (University of East Anglia)

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