Rewriting your brand from the inside out

If you just came from our last blog post, you know that Dave and Kenn had the opportunity to sit down with Bridget Hall, the Director of Brand Engagement from formerly Bell Helicopter, and now Bell. Bridget brought a treasure trove of insights to the table this episode, to be honest, we’re hardly scratching the surface here on the blog. For the full conversation, go listen to this episode of Brand Junkies (you won’t regret it). 

Read on to hear from Bridget in her own words about how Bell’s new core values are redefining the brand from the inside out.

Implementing a rebranding is a huge undertaking. We needed to start by redefining our culture internally so that the external experience for customers or fans of the brand would be an authentic expression of who Bell is. We started by defining our purpose as an organization. Asking ourselves, “Why do Bell employees come to work every day?” And for us, that’s to unlock the potential of flight to solve real-world challenges. 

One of the big things that we looked at with this transformation was how to create a value structure that was behavioral in nature. We wanted our values to speak about the way we want people to treat one another as co-workers and the way that we want them to treat our customers. We had to start at that very basic level of setting out the expectations of how we’re going to act and interact, and what values are going to guide our behaviors.

I sat down with my team to set the core values for our organization and the strategy for where we’re going to go in the future. We have great partners like our friends in Human Resources, in our commercial product marketing, and in our military marketing side of the house that we partner with to bring that vision to life. The values we set out are: thrill our customers, act swiftly and decisively, fail fast, lift each other up, and find a better way.

While my team isn’t necessarily doing employee onboarding, we are influencing and partnering with HR to develop what the experience feels like when people join the company for the very first time. We were asking, “How do we make sure that they start on the right foot?” Especially as we were in this evolution of culture change across the organization, we needed to clarify how to say, “This is who Bell is, this is what we stand for, and this is how we want people to experience our company, whether you’re an employee or a customer who’s using our product.” 

Some companies print their values out and post them up, but we actually take a bit of a different approach. We don’t want to see them on the walls because we want people to internalize them. We want people to really talk about what our values mean to them and their personal experience. We’ve started showing examples of how that plays out for different people. We have our people telling each other about what it means to lift each other up, what it looks like to find a better way, and how they’ve integrated those things into their work life. We use a variety of outlets to do this. We have town halls, we have summits, we have videos, we create all that to allow our employee voices to be heard. 

We also modified and aligned our recognition systems so that people are now recognized and rewarded based on the values we set out. They’re measured based on the values, so it is a part of our performance evaluation system. We don’t measure success for our employees just on what gets done, but on how things get done. People are living our values every day and they’re reminded every day of what our brand looks like by the culture we’ve created. 

One piece of our recognition system is the notecards we created for our leaders. We believe in the power of the personal note. The cards each have one of our core values on them, so if it says Thrill Our Customers, they may write inside, “Hey, I saw you worked late to get that part out to the customer yesterday. I really appreciate it. You’re making a difference in everything that we do.” or, for Lift Each Other Up, “I saw you helping the new employee yesterday. You were training them and bringing them up to speed and I really appreciate all that you do to make us the best department at Bell.” 

By integrating our values into all of our processes and all of our systems, it became livable. We make it easy for people to integrate our brand into their daily lives. 

You’ll have to catch the rest of the story in the podcast! Thanks again, Bridget, for being our guest on Brand Junkies. If you want to see more of Bell’s brand in action you can follow Bell on social media at @bellflight. If you have any strategy questions or if you’re considering your own rebranding, drop us a line. We’re happy to help.