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Brand and human resources in one department? Are you nuts?


A few months back, Red Hat rearranged a few organizational boxes, as companies tend to do from time to time. One result of this was the creation of a new department called People & Brand, a combination of the existing Red Hat Human Capital team and our Brand Communications + Design team.

When some folks hear that, their faces crinkle all up in confusion and they say something akin to “That doesn’t make any sense… brand is a marketing function, not an HR function!”

It’s true that brand is traditionally thought of as a tool of marketing, but in the 21st century company, we are going to have to rethink some things. One thing the 21st century company is going to have to do is resist the urge to put things into silos so quickly. One former boss of mine who loved to do this called it “bucketizing”– a beautiful markepoetry term.

Look at the statement above again: “Brand is a marketing function, not an HR function.”

I disagree.

Brand is an HR function. And a marketing function. And a sales function. And a service and support function. And a finance function. Brand should be deeply embedded in everything a company does.

The organizational structures of the 20th century “bucketize” by default. One box at the top. A bunch of boxes connected to that one. And each of those boxes has a bunch of boxes connected to it. We tend to spend most of our time worrying about which box is connected above us rather than which boxes might be connected beside us.

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