After acquisition and during tough trading conditions we were asked to help Tata Steel Europe (TSE) build understanding and confidence in a new brand identity within the leadership population and with a traditional industrial workforce. The business had been British Steel, then Corus, and now, owned by Tata Group, was emerging as a new brand in the global marketplace. But how could TSE show its people what it stood for, that the value of the new identity went beyond new signage and that they played a key role in its success?
“I have never returned from one of these with so many people being energised and enthusiastic about the event itself and motivated to get to work subsequently. Some of this was because people wanted the messages they received, but we have to recognise it was also the splendid way in which the conference was packaged. A number of people have said this was the most professional event they had been to at Tata Steel.“
Head of Communication, TATA Steel
What we did
Another company was handling the physical re-branding process (logos, signage, web sites and addresses, livery, stationery etc) so it was critical that whatever we developed for the internal communication of the new brand dovetailed with their work. With company sites in multiple locations, and a mix of internal and external audiences, this was a complex task.
Talking to staff in Holland and the UK, we identified some important insights into the perception of Tata. This process also meant we could establish baselines against which we could measure the impact of communication. There was a hunger for more information on the Indian parent and a willingness to learn more amongst staff. But at the same time, as is so often the case, people wanted to hear from local and senior managers about future plans and to see them living up to the values that were being talked about.
“It now feels as if the Company is committed to change”
“The last session (planning next steps) on our table really had some energy” “We came as individuals and left as a team”
Members of the TATA leadership team
Working hand in hand with the Head Office communications team, we designed three interactive conferences for the international leadership. These aimed to align business and communication plans, improve ownership of corporate direction, increase knowledge and involvement in values communication and help build the top-level network. A team of our facilitators worked closely with the Tata team to deliver the conference.
We also helped develop a corporate narrative that looked both backwards at the history of the company and forwards at its future. Rather than take a top-down approach, we worked with groups of employees in UK and Dutch operations to develop this. As a result, the narrative drew on what made people proud to be part of the business and focused on the things that would genuinely mean something to staff.