Human Resources



HR’s role in rebranding an established brand: MIMS’ story

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From change management training to recruiting, Caroline Walters, the firm’s regional people and culture director, reveals the journey HR undertook to make the once print-heavy firm become more digital.

We all hear over and over that the world of print is dead in this digital age and the world is moving at an unprecedented pace in all that is digital and social media.

This has serious implications for a predominantly print company like ours, making it imperative for HR to play a key role in helping the company adapt to a changing world.

Our journey in doing so started at the beginning of 2014 and the conclusion was rolled out across the region 14 months later.

We started discussing about how the future was presenting different business challenges to our traditional model and questioned each other on the easiest way to make this transition and position ourselves correctly.

We have 12 offices across the Asia Pacific region and we wanted to ensure our employee base was onboard with this process of change from the start.

Thus, we began with a regional “vision and values project”.

This involved hosting fun workshops in each country to look at our current vision and value statements and reflect on how these had served a historical purpose.

We then asked our employees to think about the company’s future. What did this look like (the vision)?

Then second, what behaviour (values) do we need to embody as part of our culture to ensure our vision of the company’s future becomes a reality?

To ensure our employees were 100% involved and accountable for our vision and values, we provided them the opportunity to be fully involved in the creation of the company’s infrastructure and identity.

To support this project, our company’s HR department also ensured its change management theory was included in two ways.

Change management training was conducted for our management teams across the region so that our managers felt empowered and could adequately support their teams as they acclimatised to the change ahead.

The second part of this journey involved hiring branding consultants, as we decided to expand the focus of the project.

Thus, we decided to address our branding collateral and corporate architecture within the remit of the project. It made business sense to review these concepts at the same time.

To help the branding consultants begin this colossal task, we gave them 10 pages of our collated vision and values statements collected from throughout our regional offices.

This helped our branding consultants get an instant insight into the minds of our employees and how they perceived MIMS both internally and externally. They then started working on defining our company’s brand identity, brand promise and brand collateral.

As a management team, we went through a very interesting journey with the branding consultants, assessing and identifying what kind of company we were and what we looked like in the market place.

Questions were asked to ascertain our company’s personality and words we would use to describe the culture associated with this personality profile.

As time progressed we moved on to qualifying this process of analysis and how these words and associations would influence our many iterations of our new brand logo and new brand architecture.

This was all being guided by our new vision and value statements, which would direct this change. Our new brand values were finally announced: “Engaging, insightful, progressive.”

We understood that HR needed to be part of the whole journey of change and brand positioning.

By doing so, it can own the company’s branding strategies both internally and externally on social media platforms, for example, when recruiting.

We identified and communicated “brand champions” for each country, who were assigned to work with the regional HR team to continue the branding change journey.

A programme of events was mapped out by the HR team for the year to ensure the message around the new company’s vision and value statements was continuously reiterated and reinforced.

Amid all these changes, however, our HR directors paid special attention to address concerns from employees, especially those who had been in the firm for long periods of time. Such concerns included the relevance of their skills in an increasingly digitally focused business.

As such, we ensured the HR team was clear on the skills the business required in order to fulfil its new brand promise.

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