Creating a new brand identity in the Digital Era poses a unique set of challenges – especially for a technology-oriented organization. This post suggests 13 key factors that should be considered to maximize the likelihood of success. And in true 2.0 fashion, we invite folks to participate in a survey to help us decide which of four new brand options we’ve identified is the best one for us to use going forward.
Over the past 12-18 months it has become increasingly obvious that the Social Media in Organizations Community (SMinOrgs) needs a new name/brand (we explain why at the end of the post). The first order of business for 2013, therefore, has been to create a new identity. Working with our Global Leadership Team and staff, I have embarked on an intensive exploration and investigation that has not only produced four viable options, but has taught us a lot about the most important factors to consider when establishing a new brand in the Digital Era. These factors are primarily relevant for organizations, but they can also be used by individuals who want to create valuable brand identities for themselves on multiple digital platforms.
This post provides a checklist of the 13 factors we used to identify four options for our new brand. In addition to sharing those factors, we’d love input from a wide range of folks as to which of the four options is best. After all, this is the 2.0 Era, and we know better than to try to finalize our new brand without soliciting input from “the crowd.” To that end, we greatly appreciate your participating in and sharing this brief survey.
The survey will be open until February 15, 2013, and we’ll publish the results in a future blog post. In the meantime, if you have other recommendations for factors to consider when (re)creating a Digital Era brand, we’d love to hear them. Thanks!
Next on the agenda, creating a logo and a tagline…
- Courtney Shelton Hunt
A Digital Era Brand Should…
Based on our experience with the SMinOrgs brand over the past 3+ years, lessons learned from the (re)branding efforts of others (e.g., Netflix and the Qwikster debacle), our internal discussions and fairly exhaustive research, we developed a list of important criteria for creating and selecting our new brand name. Specifically, a Digital Era brand should…
- Reflect the essence(s) of what an organization and its product/services are all about rather than being a literal description
- Maintain relevance over time, even as the entity and its focus change
- Be unique but not confusing
- Have an easily explainable meaning (but that meaning doesn't need to be immediately obvious)
- Invoke positive emotions (or at least not invoke negative ones)
- Not be used in another context with a meaning that's contrary to the organization’s objectives
- Not appear too Anglicized or American (especially true if the target market is global)
- Be short - fewer than 10 characters
- Not have to rely on CamelCase to make the meaning/name clear; look equally acceptable in any capitalization combination
- Be relatively easy to pronounce (or at least the mispronunciations should be bearable!)
- Not end in an S (creates too many problems when trying to write in the possessive)
- Be available as a url (.com, .net, and .org), Twitter handle, etc.
- Be trademark-able
Why We Need a New Brand Identity
SMinOrgs was started as a LinkedIn group called Social Media in HR in May 2009. By the end of that year, the name had changed to Social Media in Organizations to reflect the growing community’s broader focus on all functional areas.
With the rise of mobile technology and cloud computing, as well as the increasing importance of analytics, our focus has continued to evolve and expand. Although the applications and implications of social software are still critically important, its impact cannot be considered in isolation from other major technological changes. We therefore need a new brand identity that better reflects our focus on social software and mobile devices and cloud-based computing and analytics, both individually and with respect to their interplay.
The human capital/people implications of technological change have been and will remain paramount, but in addition to classic HR considerations, our perspective encompasses interest areas such as communication and collaboration, knowledge management and innovation, training and development, organizational change, and individual career management. Woven throughout these emphases is a focus on leadership, both formal and informal, at all organizational levels – and even from organizations themselves. The notion of what it means to be a leader in the Digital Era is ever-present…
Here’s a working description that reflects our current focus:
We are a global, multi-disciplinary professional community whose members represent organizations of all types and sizes in all economic sectors. Our mission is to help these individuals and their organizations function more efficiently and effectively in the Digital Era. Going beyond marketing/branding, sales, public relations and customer service, we primarily focus on the internal applications and implications of social and digital technologies, particularly in terms of the opportunities and challenges they create for employees, leaders, and organizational functioning. Focal topics include risk management, strategy, governance, organizational structure and design, employee engagement, and all aspects of human capital management including job design, talent management, compensation, training and development, internal communication and collaboration, etc. In addition to addressing changes that have immediate and direct impacts on organizations, we also explore general social and economic trends that have longer-term or indirect impacts.
One of the key benefits we offer is access to foresight (about the present, future present and future trends, etc.), which allows members to gain insight into how their professional lives and organizations are likely to be changed, maybe even radically transformed, as the Digital Era progresses.
We have idenfitied four possible new brand names that generally reflect this focus and - perhaps more importantly - meet the 13 criteria listed above. We’d love to know what other people think of them and will use that input to make a final decision. To that end, we hope you'll participate in and share this brief survey, which will be open until February 15, 2013. Thanks!