Brand webinars: coming to a team or country near you
After a series of two branding webinars for colleagues in Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova, the Brand Management team is looking to bring their benefits to more divisions and geographies across the Bayer world.
If you’re reading this, then you’re clearly familiar with the Identity Net. Perhaps you consult it regularly and use it as a resource for your activities related to the Bayer corporate brand. But that’s not a universal experience. Given the size of the Bayer organization, it’s sadly inevitable that some colleagues won’t feel as connected to branding principles, or aren’t sure who to turn to if they have questions. As Bernhard Grupp, Brand Education and Enablement at Bayer in Leverkusen, puts it: “It can often feel like there is a long distance between headquarters and the sales and marketing organizations in each country.
As it happens, the communications teams in Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria had ideas of their own about how to disseminate brand knowledge more effectively. They were devising an initiative to present commonly requested information to colleagues in webinar form, and they had noticed a high number of questions about the Bayer brand: people asking for specific knowledge, best practices, or input on whether a certain brand activation fit with global guidelines. This came not only from marketing teams, but many different functions across the organization. So they reached out to Bernhard’s team about branding webinars, and an idea was born!
Inclusion and interactivity breed results
Jointly, the local and global teams devised a series of two webinars, led by the internal corporate brand management experts. The first introduced the corporate brand, explained its value, and went through key guidance, resources and brand assets in the Identity Net brand portal and the associated Media Pool. The second webinar focused on co-branding, such as with products or third-party sponsors, and also added the legal perspective on the topic, covered by Larissa Ruttig, Corporate Legal Counsel on Trademarks.
The webinars were designed to cover every instance of brand use – from large-scale events, to products, down to individual conversations. As such, they were relevant to every colleague within the three countries. “Everybody from the country group was involved,” says Ioana Broc, Communications Manager at Bayer in Romania. “To maintain a strong and unified brand identity, we need everybody on board, not just the marketing team. Every employee can act as a brand ambassador.”
Mariya Popova, Head of Communications, Public Affairs, Science and Sustainability at Bayer in Bulgaria, adds:
The webinar content was tailored to Ioana and Mariya’s stated needs, and supplemented by interactive content, to ensure that the most common colleague questions would be properly answered. In addition, there was time for Q&As with the experts in each webinar. “The tailored aspect was extremely important,” says Ioana. “We are a small community, and we don’t have a large dedicated branding team, so having global bring us a tailored solution was very helpful.”
Mariya adds: “In the webinar content, we really concentrated on delivering value in the areas colleagues asked about the most. And they got some bonus information on many different topics too!”
Making branding advice accessible
Attendee feedback was overwhelmingly positive – with the real-time interactive elements, and opportunities to ask the speakers questions, coming in for particular praise. “The webinar format makes things easier to understand than just reading a page,” says Ioana. “Yes, the information might already exist somewhere – but it makes a huge difference when someone comes and structures it, presents it engagingly, and gives people the chance to actively get involved in it.”
But perhaps the biggest benefit isn’t what happened in the webinars themselves, but what will happen after them. Many attendees said that our brand had been “demystified”, and now had a “recognizable face” within Bayer – meaning they felt far more supported and comfortable about future branding tasks and would not hesitate to reach out to the right person if they needed assistance.
Ioana adds: “Absolutely, the most important thing about the webinars was that they ‘closed the circle’ of having all the information and all the right people behind it. In a big organization, sometimes you don’t know who to contact or where to get the right resources or answers from. Now, the whole branding concept seems more accessible. Our colleagues will use the Identity Net more freely; we have webinar recordings and presentations to look back on; and we know the faces and names of the people who can help with any other questions going forward. We have all the tools we need!”
Bernhard explains how, from a global perspective, bringing brand advice closer to different teams was his goal all along:
That means they are better equipped to deal with future branding tasks on their own, too. Our intention is to increase enablement, so everybody feels safe, supported and comfortable dealing with the brand and anything connected to it.
“Ultimately, it’s about the ‘one company, one voice’ approach, which we want to achieve across the whole organization. Today, there are more media and communication channels than ever, not to mention potentially complex situations like co-branding. That means more colleagues are representing our brand in more ways than ever before – so of course there is more need to actively deliver the right understanding and insight to help them navigate those situations. Webinars could be an excellent tool for that.”