Case StudyGreat Place to Work® Institute Branding
They were known as the global leader in evaluating the quality of workplaces. But the Institute’s identity ran deeper than that of a group of analysts. When Great Place to Work® wanted to tell their values-based story, we teamed up to help them change their global brand.
Robert Levering had been a labor reporter studying why so many workplaces were so bad — until he was struck by a bolt of lightning. At least, that’s how his sudden insight hit him. The way to improve how workplaces function, he realized, is not to focus on those who get it wrong but instead study those who get it right. And so he began to look at what made some workplaces great and it wasn’t long before he cracked the code.
Thirty years later, the methodology Robert helped create drives FORTUNE’s Best Companies to Work For list in the U.S., and products and services worldwide that identify, celebrate and create great workplaces. Although the Great Place to Work® Institute is now a major player in the corporate sphere, with affiliates in 40 countries, its purpose is still one of service to the world. The Institute knew they needed to tell the same values-based story, from Germany and Brazil to Australia, India and Ireland, to turn isolated outposts into a single voice driving a movement. As the company approached a rebrand, the global executive team wanted to build on the founding vision while setting out on a new, bolder path.
We loved where they were coming from. Inspired by their mission, we reoriented communications around a simple values-based mantra: We create a better world by helping companies create great workplaces.
Once clear on the organization’s values, we set to work creating a huge array of communications assets — a comprehensive brand manual, messaging guidelines, a new website, image library, templates and awards. We wrestled with language and culture gaps. We tested and retested. We trained dozens of affiliates who had never before coordinated their communications. And it worked. Nearly two years later, in deep collaboration with an innovative, nimble global team, Great Place to Work® has undergone a communications transformation. A shared passion to create a better world by helping create great workplaces has distilled into a single voice that's louder and stronger than Robert ever dreamed possible. And it's gaining momentum every day, expanding into Abu Dhabi, Nigeria and next China - one report, blog post and tweet at a time.
Nearly half of the 40 affiliates have launched updated websites based on the architecture and design we created, with the rest rolling out through the beginning of 2012. Since launching the U.S. site in August 2011, unique visitors were up 78%. Time on the site has seen dramatic increases as well.
Early style explorations highlighted key brand asset that predated our involvement: the red square, evoked by the logo. Workplace photography is almost universally boring and stiff. We used the square to define a custom style focusing viewer attention on elements that celebrate humanity — an exchange between staff, a dog, flowers on a desk. Physical frames, in brand colors and varying sizes, are used by staff as props in bio photos.
The Brand Guide
Our in-depth guide isn’t just a list of do's and don'ts. It offers deep insight into the brand’s strategic positioning so that affiliates worldwide can customize for their local context while maintaining global consistency. We have been adding to and refining this living set of guidelines as we’ve continued to reach out and talk with marketing staff about what’s working and what can improve.
Free Range created a family of workplace awards that function as much more than handsome prizes. Interactive, museum-quality awards highlight the Great Place to Work® Model dimensions, reminding executives and managers of the role that trust, pride and respect have in creating a great workplace.