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MA Design and Branding Strategy Carolina Montenegro | 1125287

Design as a Strategic Tool to Enhance Brand Culture The Brazilian Challenge: how to build Employee Experience based in Brand Values


1. Introduction


2. Key Question, Aim and Objectives


2.1. Key Question


2.2. Aim


2.3. Objectives


3. Methodology 3.1. Methodology Overview


3.2. Research methods


3.2.1 Literature Review


3.2.2 Case Studies


3.2.3 Experts Interview


4. Findings 4.1. Literature Review !



10 10

4.1.1 A need for change


4.1.2. Brand Culture


4.1.3. Internal Branding


4.1.4. Culture Change


4.1.5. The role of design


4.1.6. The brazilian challenge


4.2. Experts Interview


4.3. Case Studies


4.3.1. HSBC


4.3.2. Barclays


4.3.3. Asda


5. Discussion


5.1. Brazilian challenge


5.2. Brand Management


5.3. Design


6. Recommendations


7. Conclusion


8. References


8.1. Books, Journals and Papers


8.2. Webography


8.3. Interviews



1. Introduction

As services became the core the Brazilian economy, as with other major industrialised countries and organisations are now more transpare3nt because of the grow of internet and social network, internal branding is increasing it’s importance.

To build radical

differentiation and great customer experience companies need to move quickly, in a unison. That is why it is essential to increase the attention to one of the most valuable intangible assets: employees. They have opinions and emotions and more than never are willing to express and behave accordingly to them. Companies now need to, based in purpose and values, design a culture that support the brand strategy and emotionally connect their employees - the Brand Culture. The powerful and accessible information and communication technology has transformed our world in an irreversible way. The internet and mobile developed a global network where each connected individual has the power to access, produce and publish anything, anytime, anywhere, this is the Knowledge Era. In this scenario companies that build their image based in bad products or services are revealing their incompetence. The consumers of this new Era are now demanding transparency, authenticity and consistency. Brands have to conquer their trust. At the same time, Brazil is sailing on the good waves of increasing economic figures and trends. Besides new market challenges - such as fusions and acquisitions - arising from this economic moment, companies also need to learn how to survive and differentiate. To answer those challenges, a management philosophy is being consolidated in the past few years - the branding. The Design Council (2011) defines brand as a set of associations that a person - or group of people - makes with a company, product, service, individual or organisation. These associations may be intentional – that is, they may be actively promoted via marketing and corporate identity, for example – or they may be outside the company’s control. In addition, it defines the branding as an attempt to harness, generate, influence and control the [brand’s] associations to help the business perform better. Based in this philosophy, design and branding consultancies started offering new design solutions to redefine brands strategies and strengthen company’s image with the objective of delivering real value to customers and help them shape their brand’s associations.


In the last ten years, Brazil has improved a lot in the vision about design and brand management at corporations. Some international and national consultancies - such as Landor, Interbrand, Ana Couto and Tátil - were precursors at developing a structured thinking. Brazil has created a methodology that is developing tangible outputs. However, as Lorena Castellan, a brand consultant at Tátil Design, states,

there is still a lot to

develop in order to transform “branding” in a corporate culture that assumes intangibles brands and the people behind them - as the most important thing for the organisation. Culture is an essential concept for branding. No matter how good is the brand strategy, if the organisational culture do not support it, the strategy will not be successfully implemented. Thymus Branding, a brazilian consultancy, stresses that the brand identify a culture: the company’s way of think and do that, by processes, procedures, products, services, rituals and so on, delivers experiences with shared meanings between it’s stakeholders and creates expectations of future relationships. (Guimarāes et al., 2010) Hence, understanding and managing the corporate culture in order to align or even transform it is becoming a highly regarded skill where strategic design should play an important role. Strategic Design is the application of design thinking and future-oriented design disciplines at the corporate strategy level, as a source of competitive advantage, influencing the organisation’s direction. Aligned with the current social-cultural transformations and the sustainable development, it can be the survival formula for the today’s global and fastpaced marketplace. Based in an holistic and multi-disciplinary approach it redefines how problems are approached, identifies opportunities for action and guide organisations to not only anticipate change, but to drive it. “The thinking of the last millennium has been concerned with ‘what is’. This is the thinking of analysis, criticism and argument. What we have not sufficiently developed is the thinking concerned with ‘what can be’ - creating value.” (Press & Cooper, 2003)


2. Key Question, Aim and Objectives After exploring the overview of strategic design and brand culture a hypothesis was developed: “Strategic design is essential to develop a strong internal brand culture�. From that assumption, the key research question was brought up. 2.1. Key Question How to design employee experience based in brand values in order to enhance brand culture?

The key question of this report aims to understand how design can be used to emotionally connect the employees with the brand values and strategically align them with the brand strategy. By holistically approaching the employee experience and their relationship with the brand, a connection

can be drawn to clear the way that design can be applied to

enhance the Brand Culture. 2.2. Aim

To develop a set of recommendations for Brazilian Companies to build a strong internal brand culture by holistically approaching the employee experience by design

2.3. Objectives

To achieve the aim, 4 objectives were developed: 0 To investigate the challenges facing brazilian brands and the relationship of " " " " " "

design and branding consultancies to brand management 0 To identify the value and relevance of a strong internal brand culture to business success 0 To find out the role of design within brand culture building, including reference to Brazilian Companies 0 To develop a set of design-led recommendations to enhance brand culture 5

3. Methodology 3.1. Methodology Overview A qualitative and deductive research methodology was designed for this study. The first phase of the project was define the research problem, the research hypothesis, aim and objectives. Then, at the discover phase, secondary and primary research were conducted to gather reliable data that would support or reject the hypothesis. At the develop phase all the data were carefully analysed. Although creative thinking is embedded in all the stages of this project, was during this phase that ideas came to collision to research findings and the result was the design of a Corporate Brand Management Framework to explain the composition of corporate branding and guide companies to better distribute their investments to build strong brands. The last stage of this project, a set of design-led recommendations to enhance brand culture were delivered and propositions for further research is suggested.

Figure 1: Methodological Framework


3.2. Research methods The structure of the research approach used for each objectives is explained below:

Objectives / Tools

Literature Review

Case Studies

Experts Interview

1- Brazilian brands challenges

2- The relevance of a strong internal brand culture

3- The role of design within brand culture building

Figure 2: Matrix of Objectives and Main Research Tools used

3.2.1 Literature Review As the area of research focused on understanding the role of design and internal brand culture to business success, secondary research was predominantly used in the initial phases to form the context and knowledge of the research. A wide selection of books, reports, electronic databases and specific key articles have been analysed in the fields of strategic design, organisational culture, corporate brand management and internal branding. 3.2.2 Case Studies Based on the literature review, a few case studies samples from companies that were successful in developing a strong internal brand culture were studied. They were HSBC, Barclays and ASDA. All the case studies were based in the research “The Brand Inside� (Brooke, 2002).


Figure 3: Some books and articles that composed the literature review

3.2.3 Experts Interview In this research, qualitative approach was used to conduct interviews with some brazilian design and branding experts whose background varied from different fields. Each gave different perspectives on the challenges facing brazilian brands, the relevance of internal brand culture and the role of strategic design. It is not possible to convert the purpose into numbers, so therefore the qualitative approach fits this study better. The primary data was collected by email and Skype interviews. Lorena Castellan is brand consultant at Tatil Design with 11 years of experience in branding, brand strategy and planning for clients such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Natura, Vale, Tim, Nokia, Philips, among others.


Raquel Goulart is a branding consultant and anthropology researcher. She holds a Master's degree in Image and Communication by PUC-Rio and Communication by Università degli Studi di Genova. Her work included strategic project management at Brazil and abroad with focus on branding and design, trends and consumption research, planning, market analysis. International Correspondent of Future Concept Lab, she worked between 2005 and 2011 as Branding Director at Ana Couto Branding & Design. Henrique Gomes is a brand thinking specialist. He holds a MBA in Branding by Faculdades Integradas Rio Branco. He was branding strategy consultant at Ana Couto Branding & Design between 2009 and 2010 and at Gad’branding between 2008 and 2009. Eduardo Tomiya is General Manager at BrandAnalytics and responsible for the ranking of most valuable brands in Brazil. He holds a MS in Industrial Engineering and PhD (ABD Polytechnic School of USP). Between 2000 and 2006, he was Director of Brand Valuation at Interbrand for Latin America, Portugal and Spain. He was also responsible for the ranking of most valuable brands in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Spain and Portugal. Antonio Roberto de Oliveira is coordinator of the MBA - Branding of Faculdades Integradas Rio Branco. Master's degree in Visual Design by FAU - USP, PhD in Compulsive Consumer Behaviour at USP Faculty of Medicine, coordinator of Branding International Week that happen every year at Brunel University - London, Professor of Branding and Strategic Design at many brazilian universities, Founder of LidBrand + Experience, Partner at Managic Institute and Member of DMI - Design Management Institute.


4. Findings 4.1. Literature Review

4.1.1 A need for change Today there’s no safe ground in business. The old barriers to competition - ownership of factories, access to capital, technology patents, regulatory protection, distribution chokeholds, customer ignorance - are rapidly collapsing. (Neumeier, 2009)

Neumeier (2009) claims that the last obsession of the 20th century, Six Sigma, the totalquality movement, has been so successful that quality has virtually become a commodity. [...] In addition, the assembly line was intentionally blind to morality, emotions, and human aspiration - all the better to make your competitors and customer lose so you can win. This model also affected the relationship with employees. Elton Mayo (1945) asserts that the workplace has evolved to favour rationality, machinery and processes at the cost of employee concerns and emotionality. Increased industrialisation combined with evolving management theory that focused on the greatest extraction of energy and productivity from employees, stripped emotion from the workplace. According to Lisa Cox (2008) a serious consequence of this legacy is seen in today’s organisations. They are full of employees who don’t feel connected to or valued by these organisations. Cox (2008) supports that the employee experience impacts the delivery of services for an organisation. If an organisation’s employees are emotionally disconnected, the likelihood that they will be able to engage and connect with customers is greatly diminished. On the other hand, Neumeier (2009) claims that when people are engaged with the organisation’s purpose then they generate new ways of working, share knowledge, stimulate innovation and help build brands. It enables organisations to adapt to changing circumstances, develop plans that are founded in organisational reality and deliver bottom-line value. Edgar Schein (2009) suggests that the leader and manager of the future will notice that the managerial occupational culture is itself evolving toward taking seriously the management of less controllable forces. [...] If we want leadership to be more effective, we have to make leaders aware of their unique role as culture creators, evolvers and managers.


4.1.2. Brand Culture Culture, like brand, is misunderstood and often discounted as a touchy-feely component of business that belongs to HR. It's not intangible or fluffy, it's not a vibe or the office décor. It's one of the most important drivers that has to be set or adjusted to push long-term, sustainable success. (Parr, 2012)

Acording to Shawn Parr (2012) culture is the environment in which your strategy and your brand thrives or dies a slow death. A vibrant culture provides a cooperative and collaborative environment for a brand to thrive in. Your brand is the single most important asset to differentiate you consistently over time, and it needs to be nurtured, evolved, and invigorated by the people entrusted to keep it true and alive. For Edgar Schein (2009) the reason why culture matters is because it is a powerful, tacit, and often unconscious set of forces that determine both our individual and collective Behaviour, ways of perceiving, thought patterns, and values. Organisational culture in particular matters because cultural elements determine strategy, goals, and modes of operating. Ricardo Guimarāes et al. (2010) explains that the concept of ‘organisational culture’ came from the humanisation and evolution of the ‘bureaucracy’ concept. He proposes that when the market recognises the value of an organisational culture and adopt them as good for their management and lifestyle, we can not call it as an organisational culture, but a Brand Culture. This recognised value, that is not in the balance sheet, is called market value. The Brand Culture - when dealing with the meaning of things, process, and the attitudes within the process of market value building - is the higher level of the organisational culture that allows a better understanding and management of corporate problems such as traditional power and interest conflicts which features the organisational culture. (Guimarāes et al., 2010) Figure 4: Corporate culture pyramid (Ricardo Guimarāes et al., 2010)


4.1.3. Internal Branding The central problem of brand-building is getting a complex organisation to execute a bold idea. First, you have to identify and articulate the right idea. Next, you have to get hundreds or even thousands of people to act on it - in unison. (Neumeier, 2009)

Marcia Ballariny (2011) remarks that the companies’ homework is to align people for the brand’s speech, make them exercise in a daily basis the assets they would like to build and engage them enough in order to make them bring to their everyday decisions the brand’s promise. This homework is called internal branding. Internal branding is the set of strategic processes that align and empower employees to deliver the appropriate customer experience in a consistent fashion. These processes include, but are not limited to, internal communications, training support, leadership practices, reward & recognition programs, recruitment practices and sustainability factors. (MacLaverty, McQuillan and Oddie, 2007) As the Service Industry players increase, the internal branding is increasing it’s importance. Wally Olins (2003) asserts that service brands rely on people, therefore each individual transaction is different. According to him from the mid-1980 onwards the combination of deregulation, globalisation and new technologies changed everything and service brands burst onto the marketing scene. Now most services are heavily branded, heavily promoted and in some ways becoming more important than products in our lives. However, as Olins (2003) supports, the attempt to manage service brands as though they were product brands has created catastrophe. [...] People who represent the organisation lose their tempers, get tired and anxious, and sometimes have just had enough that day. [...] For the customer, the person who represents the brand is the brand. If he or she doesn’t perform properly, the relationship between the brand and the customer may collapse.


4.1.4. Culture Change Brands can come to life if organisations engage with people’s deeper needs and if they help to fill the vacuum that has emerged within the lives of many. However, to achieve this, business leaders need to understand what motivates employees to join a business, what makes them stay and what encourages them to identify with the organisational goals. (Ind, 2004)

As the world change companies need to adapt and change too. A new management model that see employees as assets rather than costs and holistically approach the employee experience is required. To design this new management model some culture change might be essential. According to Marcia Ballariny (2011) this is a long-term investment, because culture change requires patient and persistence. According to Schein (2009) the assessment of culture’s strengths and weaknesses becomes important when the organisation is trying to change strategy or business processes. [...] The biggest danger in trying to understand culture is to oversimplify it because, as he proposes, culture is made up of three layers — artefact, espoused values, and shared tacit assumptions — and we must understand and manage even the deeper ones. "

Artefacts are the more visible elements of culture: dress code, environment, and


Behaviour, for example.


Espoused values are the values the company claims to hold. These can be


changed to support changing objectives, and they are not always true to the


company’s core values.


Shared tacit assumptions are the deeply held but


invisible beliefs that inform the other two layers of culture. These assumptions have


been reinforced and institutionalised over the course of a company’s collective



mostly unconscious and

We tend to think that we can separate strategy from culture, but we fail to notice that in most organisations, strategic thinking is deeply coloured by tacit assumptions about who they are and what their mission is. [...] If we want to make organisations more efficient and effective, then we must understand the role that culture plays in the organisational life. (Schein, 2009)


4.1.5. The role of design Consumers want experiences that are worthwhile to them, as judged by their personal value systems (Boswijk, et. al., 2007). Lisa Cox (2008) explains that the push for business strategies to seek competitive advantage through more integrated offerings has resulted in closer examination of all customer touch points and how they can be optimised. That is how design is becoming a strategic tool, because as Cox (2008) claims it is no longer limited to influencing how something looks, but expanded to address the experience people have as they live their lives. As Press & Cooper (2003) suggest design is evolving, moving from the idea of design of tangible items towards intangible. Lisa Cox (2008) remarks that employees seek emotionally meaningful interactions with organisations. [...] They have an expectation to find meaningful and interesting work. [...] To create emotional connection with them, design thinking, service design, experience design and interaction design and empathic research methods should be used to gain insight and understanding of employee’s unmet latent needs. (Cox, 2008) Design Thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity. (Brown, 2008). In contrast to the traditional analytical approach which suggests that we should move towards the more reasonable direction to solve problems, the design thinking suggest that we should generate options that will make us find a solution instead of choosing a solution so that you can generate options. (Pinheiro and Alt, 2012). The design thinking is about designing new thoughts, new solutions. Service Design addresses the functionality and form of services from the perspective of clients. Service designers visualise, formulate, and choreograph solutions to problems that do not necessarily exist today, they observe and interpret requirements and Behavioural patterns and transform them into possible future services. (Mager, 2006)


Experience Design is an approach to creating successful experiences for people in any medium. (Shedroff, 2012) The fundamental objective of designing experiences is to create meaningful events that evoke emotional reactions in individuals. (Cox, 2008) Interaction Design it’s about facilitating relationships between people and how products and experiences mediate those relationships to reach specific goals and objectives. It doesn’t matter if it’s a document, an artefact, a computer or computer program, a service, a business activity, or an organisational environment. (Buchanan 2004) Empathic Research is about understanding individuals on a deeper level and learn what motivates them. This helps designers uncover latent needs and understand what makes them ‘tick’. (Voss & Zomerdijk, 2007) Assuming that creating value with employees is the first step to creating value with customers and combing it with its organisational offerings, organisations can recognise a competitive advantage that is valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable. (Cox, 2008) 4.1.6. The brazilian challenge The sixth-largest economy in the world, Brazil, is a extensive market with a growing economy. It’s population spending power substantially increased in the last few years and as a consequence, there are many potential consumers what makes the country very attractive. In addition, the brazilian currency, Real, is worth more than double what it was 10 years ago, what favours the price of international competitors inside the country. While United States and Europe live a strong social and economical crisis Brazil became a paradise for the international brands. Despite being one of the strongest economies, brazilian brands do not figure in the 2011 Interbrand’s ranking of the Best Global Brands. In the report ‘What about brazilian brands?’ Interbrand stresses that it’s only a matter of time before brazilian companies make the Best Global Brands ranking. Brazil is talking to the world, telling people that it is fun loving and highly adaptable, with a flair for improvisation - but always backed by numbers, strategy and lots of hard work. (Interbrand, 2011)





+2% 71,861 $m


+58% 33,492 $m

The Definitive Ranking of the World‘s Most Valuable Brands



+10% 24,554 $m


+4% 14,590 $m



0% 12,252 $m



-3% 9,091 $m



+14% 7,857 $m



-5% 6,424 $m


+6% 5,376 $m


+12% 4,483 $m



-2% 4,072 $m

92 UBS

0% 3,799 $m





-5% 12,115 $m


-5% 11,863 $m




+5% 8,763 $m



-14% 7,731 $m


+9% 8,699 $m


+1% 7,609 $m




+5% 6,414 $m


-5% 6,383 $m




+12% 5,356 $m


+9% 5,345 $m




+12% 4,478 $m


-11% 4,413 $m




+2% 4,040 $m


+10% 3,945 $m




+10% 3,794 $m

+8% 3,769 $m

02 IBM

+8% 69,905 $m



+1% 29,018 $m



+3% 23,997$m



+5% 14,572 $m



+2% 11,792 $m



0% 8,658 $m



+4% 7,483 $m


+13% 6,171 $m



+5% 5,088 $m



+9% 4,383 $m



+2% 3,924 $m



+20% 3,732 $m



-3% 59,087 $m



+6% 28,479 $m



+20% 23,430 $m

24 SAP

+14% 14,542 $m



+2% 11,715 $m


-3% 8,620 $m



+3% 7,127 $m



+12% 6,154$m



+16% 5,047 $m



+7% 4,319 $m


+4% 3,883 $m



+10% 3,663 $m


+27% 55,317 $m



+6% 27,764 $m



+6% 23,172 $m



+6% 14,528 $m



+3% 11,372 $m


-6% 8,347 $m



+9% 6,936 $m



+19% 6,005 $m



+18% 4,781 $m



+1% 4,259 $m



+8% 3,842 $m

05 GE

0% 42,808 $m



+9% 27,445 $m



+5% 19,431 $m



+32% 12,758 $m


-13% 9,880 $m


+8% 8,065 $m

53 AXA

0% 6,694 $m



+6% 35,593 $m


+9% 25,309 $m


+16% 17,262 $m

27 UPS

+6% 12,536 $m


+16% 9,805 $m



+7% 8,005 $m



-4% 6,634 $m






+1% 5,902 $m


+3% 4,672 $m


+15% 4,170 $m



+6% 3,841 $m




NEW 3,651 $m

NEW 3,605 $m



-3% 5,604 $m


+4% 4,580 $m



+3% 4,092 $m


NEW 3,819 $m



+1% 3,591 $m


+10% 35,217 $m


-15% 25,071 $m

21 H&M

+2% 16,459 $m



+1% 12,437 $m



+6% 9,515 $m



+8% 7,900 $m



+1% 6,613 $m



+19% 5,598 $m



+9% 4,498 $m



+2% 4,090 $m



+8% 3,809 $m



+7% 3,512 $m

Figure 5: 2011 Interbrand’s Ranking of Best Global Brands

4.2. Experts Interview

Henrique Gomes, a brand thinking specialist thinks that the competition with international brands within the country is one of the biggest challenges for brazilian brands. Gomes states “ Those brands that are coming are consolidated and better aligned. The brazilian brands lose their space and have to compete by price. Most brazilian companies do not know their purpose yet”. According to Gomes, Brazil is a country with a strong heritage in advertising.

The major investments are usually placed in media, in channels like Veja

magazine and Globo TV, the brazilians main television network. Lorena Castellan, a brand consultant at Tátil Design, explains that Globo represents the truth for the majority of brazilian people.


Branding is a very new discipline for Brazil. Raquel Goulart, a branding consultant and anthropology researcher, explains that the culture of brand thinking on a ongoing basis is not so strong in Brazil as it is in another countries. Goulart states, “Talk about branding is assuming that there are intangible gains for the brand and this concept confuses the decision makers. The macro thinking of brand management as a tool

to leverage the

business strategy and consequently enhance the communication strategy need to be built.” There are cases in which neither the business strategy or communication is clear yet. Castellan thinks that Brazil have a big challenge and also a big opportunity that is rethink the brands as vectors of growing and catalysts between business and people. Antonio Roberto de Oliveira, MBA Branding coordinator at Rio Branco University, assets that many rebranding projects came from a competition analysis. Castellan agrees, “Companies invest when the leaderships realise that other companies already invested in branding and were successful or when they can understand the truly value of this type of project. However, my view is that everything is a big lottery, a big betting.” Oliveira believes that many times the design is only applied in the aesthetics approach to the brand. What many brazilian companies want is someone to make the graphic project. It is unusual to find clients aiming to apply the branding as a tool to transform and define the business. For Goulart in some cases the brand manager is missing within the companies. She states, “sometimes this lack made the guidelines partially implemented or implemented without continuity or even incorrectly. Transforming business in brand-driven business is vital.” All the interviewees agree that the organisational culture is an essential concept for branding. However, as Goulart states “for the time of duration of each project the culture is usually studied with a minimum deepening, that is through in-deep interviews with the top executives and ludic exercises.” Other interviewees mentioned other ways of understanding the culture such as

group dynamics, analysis of indicators, some

techniques of ethnography and even Eye Tracking. However, as Eduardo Tomiya, managing director and owner of BrandAnalytics suggests there is a lot of theory and not enough practice.

He believes the internal culture should play a bigger role and this

process must be monitored with consistent metrics. To transform the organisational culture in a brand culture aligned with the business and brand strategy Raquel Goulart believes it is essential give to the people tools to understand the role the brand plays in business and, more important, their own role in the business success.


4.3. Case Studies 4.3.1. HSBC HSBC is one of the most valuable brands in the world. Keith Brown, HSBC’s Head of HR Strategy explains that the strengthening of it’s brand image has come about because they have put the emphasis on the multitude transactions between HSBC people and their customers. Clearwater is the name given to the bank’s philosophy of making sure that every practice and process, inside the bank, works to support this desired customer experience. This covers measurement, appraisal, training and communication. Brown states, “the philosophy is that if we can’t show how it is ultimately going to help us deliver the desired customer experience then we shouldn’t be doing it”. HSBC markedly also does not refer to Clearwater as a 'programme’, as this suggests something finite. Keith Brown of HSBC says: “We did not want to give people the impression that this year we are going to fix the brand and then move on to something else”. Clearwater was seen to be a success because of its singularity. It is one singular initiative that covers all of the strategic thrusts of the company and makes sure that all processes and practices worked to support the brand. 4.3.2. Barclays Barclays set about the first major repositioning of its brand for the first time in three decades. It was meticulous about running at the same pace, internally as well as externally. The Barclays’ brand team, together with HR were faced with the challenge of embedding the behaviours required to deliver the brand promise – and at the same time re-energising the organisation. A set of organisational values were developed, which, it was felt, would help to drive the sort of behaviours that were going to make the brand promise a reality for customers. Barclays made a major investment in communicating with its own staff, recognising that success was ultimately all down to their ability to deliver the desired customer experience.


The success of the brand repositioning was attributed to the fact that staff and customers were given equal emphasis. Malcolm Hewitt, UK Director of Sales and Service would even recommend taking this a step further. He maintains that, from experience, if there were one thing the bank would have done differently, it would be to put their own staff first in the communication plan, before any communication went out to customers. 4.3.3. Asda The case study of Asda was one of the most commonly cited examples of a company aligning its internal culture successfully to its brand. A key characteristic was that changes were seen to be driven with charisma from the leadership of the company. Equally crucially was that Asda did not deploy standard recognised best practice when it came to people management, it developed its own best practice. Asda recognised that they would require loyal motivated employees and introduced innovative changes, such as giving colleagues a day off to mark their child’s first day at school. But the most crucial vehicle for culture change was the ‘Asda huddle’. It was a regular fast and focused team meeting with a fixed agenda, which centres on a limited number of measures that relate to Asda’s brand values and the customer’s in- store experience. Teams have the power to self-manage. In other words, they agree on actions which would previously have been outside of their sphere of influence. This was a new way of running meetings which was practical and effective.


5. Discussion 5.1. Brazilian challenge One of the objectives of this research is to investigate the challenges facing brazilian brands and the relationship of design and branding consultancies to brand management. The research methods used to investigate this scenario were literature review - previous research, articles and news - and expert interviews. Brazil is an attractive market and it is clear that many global top brands intent to start or increase their operations in the country. Those changes will bring to brazilian companies opportunities, but also big challenges. Despite being one of the strongest economies in the world Brazil do not have yet strong global brands. This is a consequence of the lack of investments in brand management and strategic design. Branding is still seen as image, most of the companies are only looking for logo redesign and visual identity and as a consequence there is an imbalance between the brand promise and its delivering. Brazilian companies usually invest in branding projects after a competition analysis. If their main competitors already invested and had substantial results they are inclined to make the same. However, as usually the brand or design manager is missing inside the companies those projects became restricted to the brand strategy. When the consultancies finish the project and left the company the brand guidelines are not strictly followed being sometimes not implemented or implemented incorrectly. The culture eats the brand strategy for lunch. Whether the global brands competition is increasing within Brazil, companies need to rethink their strategies and it’s implementation. Those global brands are usually better aligned and consolidated. If the brazilian brands do not align their promise with the delivering they will be threatened to lose market and brand value. Hence, brazilian companies should invest in brand management and strategic design to increase their competitive power. It is essential to transform business into brand-led business.


5.2. Brand Management The second objective of this research is to identify the value and relevance of a strong internal brand culture to business success. The research methods used to investigate this relationship were literature review - books, previous research and articles - and expert interviews. Figures 3 shows my framework for understanding the inter-relationships of the disciplines that compose the Corporate Brand Management.

Figure 6: Corporate Brand Management Framework

The corporate brand is based in a tripod, the brand’s promise, it’s image and culture. To manage it effectively companies should invest in three disciplines, the Brand Strategy, the Internal Brand and the Brand Communications. If one of those areas do not receive the required attention the brand will not live its full potential and might be compromised as described in the table bellow:


Lack of Brand Strategy If a company invest in Internal Branding and Brand Communications without a strategy the results could be a real disaster. All the effort will probably be fragmented with different messages being sent to the internal and external stakeholders. The results in a short-term may vary, but it is almost certain that in a long-term this situation is unsustainable.

Lack of Internal Brand When a company invest in Brand Strategy and Brand Communications it is developing and communicating the brand’s promise. The promise can enhance the consumer expectation and might have short-term results such as an increase in the sales. However, if the same effort is not placed in the Internal Brand the customer experience might be compromised which will reflect in the brand image in medium to long-term.

Lack of Brand Communications When a company invest in Brand Strategy and Internal Brand it is making a real effort to deliver a great customer experience. If it is done correctly, the results should be loyal stakeholders that will love and recommend your brand. However, if it don’t place enough attention in communicating the brand’s promise probably few customers will know the brand’s benefit and the sales result could not be the expected one.

The imbalance identified between some brazilian brand’s promise and its delivering is a consequence of the imbalance of investments. There is too much emphasis in the Brand Communications - especially advertising - just few investments that aim to define the Brand Strategy and even fewer focused in the Internal Brand.


5.3. Design The third objective of this research is to find out the role of design within brand culture building, including reference to Brazilian Companies. The research methods used to investigate this relationship were literature review, case studies and expert interviews. All the companies need design at some point of their development. Logo, visual identity, web, package and product design are some of the many well- known tangible outputs that it can generate to help companies differentiate and create a competitive edge. Although the design have been associated for many years only with aesthetics, it is evolving towards intangibles such as services, experiences and interactions. The role of design varies from one company to another and, in some cases, it can play a strategic role. The first step to build a corporate culture aligned with the brand values is to replace the thinking concerned with “what is”, the analysis approach, for the thinking concerned with “what can be”, the design thinking. Culture is something very singular, impossible to be copied. That is why benchmarking and general “best practices” will not work for two different companies. Design thinking should be used to rethink the management model and all the business process. It is essential to understand how they impact people, what are their experiences and emotions to design new models and process that are desirable for people, cost effective and technologically feasible. In this process, the ideal method to uncover employees latent needs is the empathic research. Then, interaction design should be applied to facilitate the relationship between employees and the process, systems, artefacts etc to deliver the desired customer experience, the one that represents the brand’s promise. When the company turn their view to the employee as a asset rather than a cost it should holistically approach the employee experience by analysing and redesigning all the touch points with a service design perspective. In other words, the experience design need to be considered in a ongoing basis because this relationship just will finish if the employee leave the company. Beyond the day-to-day experiences, it is also important to consider designing memorable experiences such as annual celebrations that emotionally connect the employees with the brand values and make them feel really valued.


The main learnings from the three presented case studies is that all those companies recognise the importance of loyal and motivated employees. Hence, they focus on the relationship between theirs own people and customers and empower employees with process and customised “best practices� exclusively designed to support the brand values and deliver the desired customer experience. Those companies are not copy cats, they design and innovate to enhance the brand culture and conquest loyal customers. The research shows that the culture of design as a business strategic tool in Brazil is unimaginable yet. This is a consequence of the lack of knowledge of the value that design and branding could generate to the organisation; the lack of interest to invest on a ongoing basis; and hurry, companies want to fix complicated issues in a short time. The ambitious companies that realise the value strategic design and branding brings will come out ahead.


6. Recommendations The aim of this research is to develop a set of strategic recommendations to enhance the Brand Culture by holistically approaching the employee experience through design. Developed for brazilian companies playing in the products and services industry, it aims leaderships that desire to strengthen their brands to maintain a long-term sustainable grow and success. It also can be used by consultancies that need to help their clients to develop a strong internal brand culture. Strategic Design usually do not receive enough attention in the company’s overall strategy and tends to be neglected compared to other more traditional aspects such as IT. Those recommendations offers company management and strategy leaders a chance to integrate design into the overall strategy. It also provides a means for company leaders to align the brand strategy to the brand culture and it’s promise and deliver the desired customer experience. They were designed to help these professionals establish a clear set of priorities for their strategies to generate greater employee experience and develop loyal and motivated employees engaged with the brand.

Figure 6: Corporate Brand Cycle


The very first step to build a strong and powerful corporate brand is to understand that it is based in a tripod (the brand promise, brand image and brand culture); all the components require attention and investments; brands are build over the time, so it is a long-term investment; and it is a cycle, brand management it is not a project, it is a ongoing process that need to be embedded in the company’s overall strategy. Then, the best way to undertake this process is to develop: "

1- Brand Strategy, including brand’s essence, positioning, personality and


expressions/equities that will guide all the Internal Brand and Brand


Communications actions.


2- Internal Brand, including the employee engagement strategies and


implementation that will, together with the Brand Strategy, shape the Brand Culture.


3- Brand Communications that will shape the Brand Promise and the Brand Image


through the stakeholders expectations that will be supplied by the excellent service


provided by loyal and motivated employees.

Internal Brand Culture Recommendations 1- Communicate in first-hand with your employees To develop a strong internal brand culture employees need to feel valued and recognized. This includes knowing the news in first-hand, because it is extremely uncomfortable to know what is going on with your own company by outsiders.

2- Design brand tools If you want your employees to act and make decisions that support the desired customer experience, it is essential to build a deep intuitive understanding of the brand and how to delivers the brand promise for customers. Employees need to understand the role of brand in business and their own role in brand building. Design tool such as the online and offline brand platform, brandbook, engagement workshops etc should be implemented.

3- Redesign and innovate your business process and practices It is extremely important that all the internal practices and process are built to deliver the brand promise. For example, for a company that has agility as one of the brand’s value, slow systems and bureaucratic process could not be accepted. In addition, if you want to build a strong and differentiated brand, benchmarks and generic ‘best practices’ should be avoided. Each culture is different from another, only a deep understanding of your own culture and brand will help the design of efficient process and practices.


Internal Brand Culture Recommendations 4- Hire and fire for your brand Getting the right people is one of the most important steps. If you want to achieve a internal culture aligned with the brand’s value, you should hire people using the values as a filter. Not only hire, but train, measure, reward and fire when necessary. A purpose-driven culture can be compromised by the wrong people.

5- Make sure your brand operate cross-function Some companies develop over the time strong department and geographical silos. The brand need to break the silos and operate networked and cross-function. It can not be owned by a person or department, but need to serve as inspiration for the whole company. This will enable the company to holistically understand how the brand promise is delivered to the customer. One suggestion to get this functioning right is the use of plain language, like avoiding marketing jargon. Some companies even prefer to do not use the word “brand” or “brand-led programs”, instead they use purpose, values, promise or desired customer experience to avoid long discussions about the definition of “brand”.

6- Empower your employees Instead of the command and control management model, a model designed to emphasize freedom, responsibility and accountability will work better to build a strong brand culture. Most of the employees are hard working and professional, and going against what many people think, they are not there just to earn money, they work for recognition too. Hence, recognize their talents, give then clear responsibilities and let then manage their own time is essential to engage them.

7- Measure the outcomes regularly If you are planning to empower your employees it is essential that you design indicators and models of measurement that support the brand’s value. But after designing and implementing the measurement model, do not forget to give feedback to your employees, reward and punish based on them.

8- Do not forget to celebrate Culture is made of beliefs, real experiences. Rules will not have a major impact in changing a culture, but if people believe in their work and feel valued for it, they will do their most to get the things right. That is why is so important to celebrate victories and analyze and learn from the failures.

9- Talk about the future People are worried with their future and career. Having a career plan is one of the most valued things by employees. They are ready to do hard working, but they would like to know how they can improve and grow up. So, do not avoid talking about the future. Share the company’s plan and the employees opportunities to development.


7. Conclusion

While United States and Europe live a strong social and economical crisis Brazil became a paradise for the international brands. The competition within the country became one of the biggest challenges for brazilian brands and to face it, companies need to understand the power of corporate brand management to business success. Nurture a culture that support the Brand’s value is essential to deliver the Brand Promise and ensure satisfied and loyal customers. That’s why invest in internal branding is increasing it’s importance. This research offers a set of design-led recommendation for leaderships that desire to strengthen their brands to maintain a long-term sustainable grow and success by holistically approaching the employee experience. Few brazilian companies recognised the value of infusing design in the business strategy, a powerful tool to build radical differentiation and great customer experience. But Brazil is very quick to embrace change and the ambitious companies that realise the value strategic design and branding brings will come out ahead.


8. References 8.1. Books, Journals and Papers

Neumeier, M., 2009. The Designful Company: how to build a culture of nonstop innovation. California: New Riders Olins, W., 2003. On Brand. London: Thames & Hudson Ind, N., 2004. Living the Brand: How to transform every member of your organization into a brand champion. 2nd ed. London: Kogan Page Schein, E.H., 2009. The Corporate Culture Survival Guide. California: Wiley Stanford, N., 2010. Organisation Culture: getting it right. London: Profile Books Pinheiro, T. and Alt, L., 2011. Design Thinking Brasil: empatia, colaboraçāo e experimentaçāo para pessoas, negócios e sociedade. Translated from Portuguese by C.N.Montenegro. Sāo Paulo: Elsevier Guimarāes, R., 2010. Lider, Cultura de Marca e Valor de Mercado. In: C. Migueles and M. T. Zanini, ed. 2010. Liderança Baseada em Valores.Translated from Portuguese by C.N.Montenegro. Sāo Paulo: Elsevier, pp.91-106. Cox, L. , 2008. Designing Employee Experience, [online] Available at:< dmi/html/conference/academic08/papers/Cox%20and%20Boult/Lisa%20Cox_Paper_DMI %20Conference.pdf > [Accessed 28 May 2012]. Brooke, J. , 2002. The Brand Inside, [online] Available at:< resources/canons/brandinside.pdf > [Accessed 28 May 2012]. MacLaverty, N., McQuillan, P. and Oddie, H. , 2007. Internal Branding Best Practices Study, [online] Available at < > [Accessed 28 May 2012]. Interbrand, 2011. What about Brazilians Brands? Interbrand evalueates Brazilian brand’s opportunities and challenges in a global market. [online] Available at < http:// 10_What_about_Brazilian_Brands_english_final2_pdf.sflb.ashx> [Accessed 28 May 2012]. Interbrand, 2011. Best Global Brands 2011. [online] Available at < http:// > [Accessed 28 May 2012].


Design Council, 2011. The Power of Branding. [online] Available at < http:// > [Accessed 28 May 2012]. Mayo, Elton (1945) The social problems of an industrial civilization, Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd, London Press, M., Cooper, R. (2003) The design experience: the role of design and designers in the twenty-first century, Ashgate Publishing Ltd Bowsijk , A., Thijssen , T., Peelen, E. (2007) The Experience Economy: A new perspective, Pearson Education Benelux, Amsterdam, The Neatherlands Buchanan, R., (2004) Managing as Designing: Interaction Pathways in Organizational Life, edited by Boland, R. J., Collopy, F., Stanfoard University Press, Stanford, CA Voss, C., Zomerdijk (2007) Innovation in Experiential Services – An Empirical View, London Business School, London Mager, B., 2007. Design Dictionary: Perspectives on Design Terminology. Basel: Birkhäuser

8.2. Webography Parr, S., 2012. Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch. [online] Available at < http://> [Accessed 28 May 2012]. Chowdhury, A., 2011. Culture Isn't Costly. [online] Available at < http://> [Accessed 28 May 2012]. Alofs, P., 2012. 8 Rules For Creating A Passionate Work Culture. [online] Available at <> [Accessed 28 May 2012]. Sá, S., 2011. Branding ainda não é feito da maneira correta no Brasil. [online] Available at <> [Accessed 28 May 2012]. Rodrigues, D., 2006. A brief overview on Branding. [online] Available at < http:// > [Accessed 28 May 2012]. Ballariny, M., 2011. Sua marca está no cheque especial? [online] Available at <http:// a=19841444&b=57712005&c=21/9/2011 > [Accessed 28 May 2012].


Brown, T., 2008. Design Thinking. [online] Available at <> [Accessed 28 May 2012].

8.3. Interviews Castellan, L. 2011. Research realized to understand the challenges facing brazilian brands, the relevance of internal brand culture and the role of strategic design. Interview conducted by Email by Carolina Montenegro. Goulart, R. 2012. Research realized to understand the challenges facing brazilian brands, the relevance of internal brand culture and the role of strategic design. Interview conducted by Email by Carolina Montenegro. Gomes, H. 2012. Research realized to understand the challenges facing brazilian brands, the relevance of internal brand culture and the role of strategic design. Interview conducted by Skype by Carolina Montenegro. Tomyia, E. 2012. Research realized to understand the challenges facing brazilian brands, the relevance of internal brand culture and the role of strategic design. Interview conducted by Email by Carolina Montenegro. Oliveira, A. R. 2012. Research realized to understand the challenges facing brazilian brands, the relevance of internal brand culture and the role of strategic design. Interview conducted by Email by Carolina Montenegro.


Design as a Strategic Tool to Enhance Brand Culture  

This research offers a set of design-led recommendation for leaderships that desire to strengthen their brands to maintain a long-term susta...

Design as a Strategic Tool to Enhance Brand Culture  

This research offers a set of design-led recommendation for leaderships that desire to strengthen their brands to maintain a long-term susta...