Skip links

What’s the secret of successful team brands?

Some teams just stand out as well-known and respected in their field. This applies to sports teams, business unit teams, executive committees and all kinds of other teams. What makes these team brands different?

As I’ve been researching my new book, Branding & Marketing You through Teams, which is being launched in early October, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is not one big secret to building a successful team brand — there are many. As I interviewed some of South Africa’s top-performing teams from organisations like Microsoft, Sanlam and Protea Hotels, among others, I became convinced there are a number of qualities of great teams that allow them to stand out from the crowd.

For example, in all the six teams I profile in the book, which range from a sports team to a marketing unit to a management team, I found that well-branded teams constantly re-invent themselves. They’re always searching for ways to remain fresh and innovative and raise the bar with their creativity and service delivery.

They also thrive in a high performance culture. They’re highly competitive but in a collaborative way. They don’t suffer from “tall poppy syndrome” and cut others down to ensure their own success. They enjoy success as a team, and individuals will also sincerely praise and applaud achievement by their fellow team members.

Furthermore, failure is treated as a normal part of the learning curve in great teams and they know that provided they learn from the mistake, they’re still valued, supported and respected. Great team brands intentionally and benevolently grow and nurture each other. They’ll share expertise, insights and solutions in an open and generous way.

Through researching this book, I’ve come to realise there is a high level of alignment between personal, team and organisational values in strong team brands. Successful teams tend to comprise people with strong personal brands (although I’ve found that it’s important that these are subordinate to the team brand) and sit very well within the organisation’s brand. When these three brand aspects align, it’s a recipe for a success.