The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Chamber Blog: Brand. New.

By Chris Fletcher, Director of Policy and Communications at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

It would have been quite difficult not to have noticed that the Chamber has got a new look these days.

Last Friday saw the “On” switch being flicked with our website as one of the largest pieces of the jigsaw of what has been a substantial piece of work.

But is it actually more than the equivalent of a fresh lick of paint and why have we done it – surely there’s more important stuff to be doing?

Well, yes it is substantially more than a “lick of paint”. For the first time in a number of years the core services that we offer as a Chamber are now owned and delivered solely by the Chamber. The joint venture with Manchester Solutions ended last year and we’ve been working hard to put the groundwork in to strengthen the work that we do and focus fully on our members.

So, number one priority was to create our own distinct stand-alone brand as the Greater Manchester Chamber and reaffirm our position as the leading business representative organisation in Greater Manchester.

To support this we looked at how we could make more obvious the fact that we are an accredited member of British Chambers of Commerce. There is strength in this for our members as, in addition to being part of a UK wide network of 53 other accredited Chambers, there are also increasingly strong overseas links and networks too, all primed to help you create more business. 

There are some crucial messages behind this around better services and a strong network but how could we communicate this simply and easily?

In the same way that we hope our members use our services to help them, as members of BCC we can tap into their expertise and support. So, we decided to use the established BCC logo but give it our own distinct local feel. We are first and foremost here for business locally but to ignore the wider picture would be both foolish and wrong. As we roll this out and increase people’s informed awareness of what we do then the more it gets understood that we are a professional, accredited Chamber part of a UK and international network – and our members can access this.

Finally how do we connect all this to business? Up to now all this is just window dressing – very well designed but what does it mean in reality? We need to start to focus on making sure that the value of the investment of a membership fee is obvious. Joining the Chamber should be the easiest business decision that anyone ever makes. We haven’t been as clear with that message as we should have been.

All that changes – starting now.

Connect, Communicate, Create is the supporting message.  The final and crucial part of our rebrand.  It describes not just what we can do for our members but, internally, what we should have in our minds at all times about how we can make our brand real.

This isn’t the end though. There are lots of other pieces of work going on at the Chamber as part of what is a major overhaul above and beyond the rebrand.

We will make sure that we communicate these to you, to help you connect better and create new opportunities for business. Surely that’s what it’s all about?

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