Branding IT: Logos, slogans sell the IT message

Creating a slogan or even a logo might be the best way to promote your team internally

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Berry plans to involve users with the final decision on the Oregon transportation department's IT logo. His staff developed the two prototypes, but he plans to get user feedback on the interactive Web portal before making a final choice. Berry does have his own preference, but he says, "I don't want to force that on folks. They have to internalize what we are doing and what we should be doing."

That's a good approach, says Azzarello. "Develop a few samples and ask people, 'If you saw this, what impression would you have?' If you want to be known for responsiveness or always meeting service levels, ask if the logo supports that," she says.

Likewise, if your IT operation is decentralized, it's important to check with the other groups before developing a logo. Bender Consulting's Archibald says that he once worked at a Fortune 20 company where the decentralized IT units each came up with the idea to brand themselves on their own. "It became clear we were not one organization but many," he says. "It showed how fractured we were, and it was confusing to employees throughout the company."

Similarly, developing a logo for a small technology group might alienate it from the larger IT organization. Druby recalls a Web group at his former employer that proposed a logo and a separate name to create its own identity for showcasing its work. "It was a good idea, but I put a stop to the effort because it needed to be done for all of IT, not just a certain group," he says.

On the flip side, Archibald has seen a decentralized IT operation pull together on a branding effort that represented IT as a united front. The logo was in the shape of a triangle bounded by arrows representing the three regions of the company. The arrows suggested that while each IT group reported to an individual region, it was a continuous organization.

After all that work, use it

Prevailing wisdom says people must see or hear something seven times before they're fully aware of it, Benson says, so be sure to use your branding on any communication that comes out of IT.

You might even consider creating extra communication channels for this purpose. Examples are promotional items such as "leave-behinds" (business cards, flyers or tent cards that IT staffers could leave with users every time they fix a PC) or "give-aways" (USB sticks, mouse pads and the like). But make sure none of your swag appears too costly, she warns, because that could give users the impression that you're overspending.

An obvious place for a logo, Azzarello says, is the help desk Web site, which could also be a good place to display your performance metrics for the three most important business services, updated in real time. "If people consistently see a strong logo and positive performance on things they care about, that's a good brand message," she says.

And if you happen to host a webinar or podcast, make sure your logo is on the screen, Benson adds, and even repeat your slogan in an audio reminder of who is driving the event.

While only a minority of organizations are doing internal IT branding today, Archibald expects the practice to pick up over the next two to three years. "It's a way to direct users back to the positive experience of using your service," he says.

Brandel is a Computerworld contributing writer. Contact her at marybrandel@verizon.net.

Related: Marketing IT: Sell your services internally, win more respect

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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