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Brian Resnick, global brand and visual identity leader at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, is giving attendees at the 2013 Global BMA Conference insight into the heavyweight Deloitte brand. In fact, he is spilling secrets everywhere. He coauthored Designing B2B Brands: Lessons from Deloitte and 195,000 Brand Managers. The book, published in April, offers the Deloitte brand story as an instructional case study, a manual for businesses that are building their own global identities.
BMA Buzz: What are the challenges to crafting a global brand identity?
Brian Resnick: One of the biggest challenges of brand building in this rapidly changing day and age is this rapidly changing day and age. The shifting geo-political landscape, a heightened regulatory climate, increased competitive forces, round-the-clock access to information — B2Bs never have faced so many issues. Couple this with some of the challenges more inherent to B2Bs than B2Cs, such as the sheer volume of touchpoints and criteria driving selection, and you easily could be forgiven for seeking a different career. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Never before has there been such opportunity for B2B brands, opportunity to stand out, to be different and to make a difference.
BMA Buzz: What has been Deloitte's approach to creating a global brand identity?
Resnick: The Deloitte member firms formally came together 10 years ago, moving from a loose-knit association to a harmonized network. In 2003 the identity may have been marked by a shared logo and shared multi-disciplinary service model. It has since evolved to encompass far more than graphics and products. Everything stems from a strong foundation of shared values. It informs the Deloitte brand strategy and culture. It helps shift the focus from what we offer to how we provide it. And increasingly, to why we do what we do — added meaning, which is increasingly important to both Deloitte professionals and all those they interact with.
BMA Buzz: How has the company aligned marketing staff and resources to support a global brand identity?
Resnick: Deloitte member firms are shifting their focus toward the creation of enhanced and aligned brand experiences. This means less traditional advertising and a greater emphasis on personal, relevant touchpoints. Channels like social media are a great example. They enable the brand to gain presence in new and meaningful ways, through the timely promotion of points-of-view or through dialogue with audiences on the co-dependence of business and society. Deloitte brand, marketing and communications professionals are on the front lines of this effort. They also educate and support the practitioners who serve our clients and communities.
BMA Buzz: What have been the key successes of the strategy?
Resnick: Whether virtually or face-to-face, we see a broader and better understanding of the Deloitte difference. More clients, recruits and people in the public sector function as genuine brand advocates. They are part of this journey, contributing to it. Certainly there is still a perception in some circles that Deloitte is just an accounting firm. But that continues to change, due in large part to the growth of the network in the advisory space. The strong brand foundation also has facilitated strategic acquisitions to deepen the organization's service offer and talent pool, and helped expand its footprint in new markets.
BMA Buzz: Which lessons can B2B marketers most readily apply to their own brands?
Resnick: I believe in and at every turn promote the power and value of systemic branding. The Deloitte identity system — both visual identity and broader activation and engagement — is built upon a clear brand-positioning platform. It is a mix of the authentic and the aspirational. Importantly, it is actionable. A foundationally sound brand system can help all employees work toward a shared purpose and goal. It can help all materials communicate in an aligned fashion, help all audiences experience similarly meaningful interactions. Consistency is invaluable for brands and branding professionals. Only by coming together can a brand stand apart. It’s a bit of an oxymoron, but a high-degree of alignment is a powerful way to differentiate and achieve marketplace standout.
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