How Are You Developing Your Life Science Team Brand?
June 08, 2016
All healthcare and life science professionals are familiar with the idea of company branding, but how many of you have given real thought to your team branding within the company?
As a manager, it’s important to recognise that your team not only has a brand, but that as a manager it is important to be in control of that brand. Just as the mention of a particular pharmaceutical brand or research institution might conjure up an immediate association in your mind, so too does your team carry an image within the company.
What is your team brand?
When reviewing what your brand might be at this moment, it’s useful to consider a few different perspectives.
- How do senior management perceive your team? How might they describe your team brand? What about the other employees outside your team? What are you and your team known for (good or bad)?
- How do your team think they are perceived by others, what do they see as their team brand? If you hesitate to answer, ask them!
- Finally, what do you think the brand is, and how do you want yourself and your team to be perceived?
Your team brand is incredibly important. It directly affects the decision-making of senior management when it comes to delegating projects, promotions, and funding. In life sciences where funding and key projects are fiercely competed over, it is vital to create and nourish a team brand that will have others noticing your good work.
Steps to establishing a great team brand
Make your team brand precise. Don’t overcomplicate it- it should be a simple idea. For instance, your team might be considered the ‘A-team’ when it comes to sales results, or be instantly thought of when someone needs assistance with technology, research, regulatory information, or support. You need to consider what the best selling point of your team is (or could be) and set everyone towards that goal with that attribute in mind.
Remember that if you don’t set your team brand, someone else will– and there’s a chance you might not like what it is! Team brands can just as easily have a negative connotation, such as ‘the B-team’, ‘slow’, ‘arrogant’, or ‘unhelpful’. There’s also a middle ground, such as being thought of as the ‘fun’ or ‘friendly’ team- which is ok, but wouldn’t it be better if you could use this great starting point to turn an attribute such as ‘friendly’ into something professionally tangible, like ‘support-team’? Think professionally about what makes your team necessary to the smooth functioning of the company and go from there.
Consult with the team when deciding on the brand. You’ll find that you get a lot more uptake and genuine enthusiasm if you decide on a brand identity together- one that makes good use of your team member’s attributes and unique skills. Don’t fall into the trap of deciding on a team brand that YOU like and that suits your skill set, but doesn’t appeal to others. If you want your team brand to be powerful and believable, you must choose realistically and with genuine consultation with your team.
Choose a brand that benefits the company and aligns with its goals. You need to make sure that the ‘brand’ that you choose is something the company really needs, and preferably doesn’t already have. It must be in alignment with the company culture- for example, if your company is highly conservative, it’s probably not a good idea to aim for an easygoing, progressive culture as your team brand.
Make sure the brand sticks. Once you’ve decided on your new team brand in consultation with your team, you need to then go about implementing strategies to ensure that the branding effort is a success. Discuss with your team what development they need to become adept at the specialist brand you’ve all chosen together.
For example, if you’re hoping to be known as the most tech-savvy team because you have a good number of IT specialists already, it will be important to train the less experienced up so that they aren’t left out of the brand. If you’ve decided you want your team to be known for their excellent compliance knowledge, then schedule the ongoing training to ensure they are always up to date. Don’t be shy on telling your team how such a positive team brand association like this can positively influence their career.
Keep the ball rolling. Ensure that your team branding exercise isn’t just a fad to be forgotten. Discuss progress in monthly meetings, and get feedback from others in the company as to what their perceptions are. Is it working, or do you need to tweak your approach? It can be very helpful to assign one or two team members to be responsible for the team brand project (two is preferable as it is much easier to ignore one person than two enthusiastic people working in tandem!)
Team branding is an important yet often overlooked aspect of team success. By considering your team strengths and honing in on what makes you special, you can make a dramatic difference to the performance, attitude, and reputation of your team.